Technically Speaking: Aging

As readers will know, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine is celebrating its 100th year in business, and I thought it might be interesting to see how the publication and the industry have changed and grown in those 100 years. The publication originated in March 1906 as The American Perfumer, published monthly by Ungerer & Company, and proclaiming itself “an authoritative organ devoted to the odoriferous arts” (see The Raison D’Etre). It sold for the fabulous price of $3 per year. In September 1906 the name changed to The American Perfumer and Essential Oil Review; it was published by The Perfumer Publishing Company at a price of $2 per year in the United States and Canada. It is obvious that the perfume business (at least in America) was more important or maybe more profitable than cosmetics, even though the use of cosmetics use goes back to Biblical times and to Cleopatra and her milk baths.

By 1956, Moore Publishing Company had owned the magazine for 21 years, Maison G. deNavarre had been a writer and editor at the magazine for 24 years, and in January of that year the owners again changed the magazine’s name to American Perfumer and Aromatics. The publication mainly was geared to perfumery, aromatics and flavors, but thanks to deNavarre there was a steady trickle on cosmetics with, for example, articles on hand creams and royal jelly. Younger readers will need to be reminded that in those days royal jelly was considered to be the cure-all for cosmetic skin care. Articles on soap did appear in earlier issues and it could very well be that companies prohibited their scientists from publishing on cosmetic products for fear of giving away secrets. Remember that in those years there was no mandatory labeling of product ingredients, and cosmetic companies were afraid to have their scientists publish lest they give away their secrets. After being discharged from the United States Navy in 1947, I got my first job in cosmetics with Lever Brothers in Chicago in 1948 and joined the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC), an organization formed a year earlier mainly, I believe, through the vigorous efforts of deNavarre. Even at that time, many companies still prohibited their scientists from joining the SCC for fear they would talk too much and disclose secrets.

In March 1960, ownership of the publication changed again when the Allured family purchased it from Moore Publishing. The Allureds changed the magazine’s title 27 months later to American Perfumer and Cosmetics. They explained the change this way in the June 1962 issue: “The change in name that you see on the cover, and on top of this page, is in belated recognition of an editorial fact of over 30 years duration. During this period this magazine has gradually meant more and more to the cosmetic chemist and pharmacist, as these specialties became the major customer for fragrances. In turn, the perfumer has been more and more involved in the technical problems that new cosmetic materials have forced upon him.” For the very first time, at least in the United States, cosmetics was considered a science and an art on the same level as perfumery. Cosmetics was no longer black magic. 

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