We know our way around the shelves of a drugstore. Within seconds of entering any CVS, we can easily have our basket filled with the best in hair care, skincare, and miscellaneous products with obscure beauty uses. During our many strolls down the cosmetics aisle, we’ve often wondered things like where did Maybelline Great Lash get its name and when did L’Oréal’s Elnett Satin Hairspray first don its iconic gold packaging. If you too have an inquisitive mind and have pondered the origin of Pond’s Cold Cream, keep reading for nine surprising facts about the drugstore beauty products you know and love!
Roxanne Quimby, one half of the duo behind Burt’s Bees, found the recipe for the Beeswax Lip Balm ($4) in a 19th century farmer’s journal. She perfected the formula, and after several years of only selling candles, the company added lip balm to their lineup and it’s been a best-seller ever since. And that illustration of a bee on the packaging was created by Quimby (who was an artist before she got into beeswax).
Before Robert Chesebrough, the chemist who invented Vaseline Petroleum Jelly ($5), was able to sell his product in drugstores he had to travel around New York demonstrating Vaseline. How? He would burn himself on an open flame, then spread his miracle product over the injury while showing off previous injuries he had healed with the jelly. Chesebrough was such a believer in his product he claimed to have eaten a spoonful of it every day until the day he died at the age 96.
Celebrity endorsements played a big role in the Pond’s Company’s marketing strategy in the 1920s. During a visit to the United States, Queen Marie of Romania tried and fell in love with Pond's Cold Cream ($5)—so much so that she later wrote a letter to company requesting more. That letter was later used in advertising and her majesty joined the ranks of politicians, royalty, and other celebrities who had endorsed the product.
Before L'Oréal Elnett Satin Hairspray ($15), hairspray was a gooey lacquer that dried to stiff coating that could only be dissolved with water. L’Oréal revolutionized the hairspray world in 1960 when they launched the first hairspray that could be brushed out. The secret was the super fine polymers. The product didn’t get its iconic gold packaging until three years later.
In 1915, 19-year-old Tom Lyle Williams created the first modern mascara for his sister Mabel out of coal and petroleum jelly. Shortly thereafter his company Maybelline (yes, named after Mabel) and Cake Mascara were born. Several decades later, Maybelline’s Cake Mascara, which came in a small tin, morphed into Great Lash Mascara ($6) with the pink tube and green cap we all know and love.
While most people probably consider Neutrogena's Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($8) a makeup remover, they’re actually the number one cleanser on the market.
With 29 million units sold each year (that averages out to about 110 bottles per minute), Head & Shoulders is the most sold shampoo brand in the world. Today the line has several varieties of shampoo, but they all contain pyrithione zinc, the dandruff-solving ingredient scientists researched for 10 years before launching the Classic Clean Dandruff Shampoo ($9) with it in 1961.
Which of these facts surprised you the most? Tell us below!