Skincare Through the Decades

No matter what century we’re in, nor the decade, society’s women have had an ever-changing list of skincare recommendations and secrets that we swear by. At first, it was only homemade connections of oils and fruits but over time as companies started inventing products to improve the skin, skincare evolved through the decades. 

1920s

During this decade, women aimed to have pale, smooth skin. They used cold cream, a cream made up of oils, to soften and ‘dissolve’ oils on the skin as well as bleaching cream to maintain a pale complexion.

1930s 

The 1930s was when the first skincare product was developed. Sunscreen was invented to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays and promote youthful skin. This was also the decade when it became known that washing one’s face with water and soap was absolutely mandatory. Cold cream was still used, and tonics such as witch hazel or lemon juice were added to the mix.

1940s

This decade really empathized face washing (there were even classes dedicated to facial cleansing!). Double cleansing became big during this time, as well as massaging the face. Cold cream was still used and petroleum became incorporated into the skincare routine.

1950s

An explosion of skincare brands appeared during this decade such as Ponds, Clinique, Clearasil and Olay, and people switched from cold creams to a variety of different brands instead.

1960s 

Since skincare was so big, many companies had to compete for sales. This is when skincare brands began to release skincare researched and tested for individual needs such as dry, oily or combination. This was the decade that skincare became multi-step as well.

1970s

As skincare companies evolved and expanded, the interest in skincare products further extended to people of differing ethnicities, young teenagers and men. Additionally, the introduction of organic ingredients to skincare products drew a lot of attention to the expansion of skincare. 

1980s

Anti-aging products were introduced during this decade to focus on preventing aging and a rise in all-natural skincare became big during this time. Murad and Burt’s Bees were introduced in this decade. Murad was the first doctor-invented skincare, and this brand’s beginnings paved the way for other dermatologist-founded skincare brands.

1990s

The introduction of chemical exfoliants became big in the 1990s. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) were introduced into the beauty industry to smoothen wrinkles and minimize dark spots as a gentler chemical peel compared to previous ingredients used. This decade also marked the turn of skincare towards vitamins and enzymes to support the skin. 

2000s

Organic skincare became mass-market in this decade and moisturizers that used hyaluronic acid became huge as companies moved from animal-derived ingredients towards organic ingredients.

2010s

And finally onto the decade that is almost over! Skincare has become bigger than ever, with thoroughly researched skincare products that involve more than ever.

It seemed skincare has evolved over the decades along with the demands for it. The fluctuations of beauty standards have shaped the standards of skincare all the way to today.

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