Modern Cosmetics Industry

The beginning of the 20th century saw the birth of the modern cosmetics industry. At this time there were rapid advances in chemistry, industrial production methods, and all kids of communication technology. This brought on a surge of interest and influence from ballets, television and photography. During the 19th century the use of cosmetics was frowned upon according to religious practices. As fashion started to change and French influence started to permeate American culture, so too did the desire to incorporate cosmetics. Modern cosmetics were adapted from stage and early film make-up. Major changes in the availability of everyday cosmetics came from Maurice Levy’s portable packaging introduced in 1915. By the 1920’s Flapper women incorporated cosmetics into their everyday life.


The introduction of color television and film of the 1950’s had a dramatic impact on cosmetics marketing. The glamorous and unblemished appearance of movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor heightened the demand for cosmetics. Max Factor unveiled a line of everyday cosmetics including “Pan Cake” (concealer), eye shadows, lipsticks, rouge, and nail polish. Max factor introduced a whole new variety of colors and introduced different mineral elements for different levels of shimmer.

The American cosmetics industry is responsible for an annual revenue of 50 billion dollars. It is broken into six market segments, skincare, hair care, make-up (color), fragrance, toiletries, and oral care.