Beauty and history buffs are about to have a lot more in common thanks to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. It recently amassed a collection of over 2200 cosmetic and personal care items that date back to 1860 according to Racked.
The extensive trove is part of the Cosmetics and Personal Care Products in the Medicine and Science Collection, but many museum goers have yet to see everything from mascara to sun tan lotion from back in the day—until now. As Racked points out, beauty products are meant to be used and disposed of so these precious artifacts are stored away from the public to keep the delicate packaging intact. But now, with the support of Kiehl's, the museum will be digitizing its collection, which includes a Kiehl's modern-day favorite, Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado ($29).
According to Associate Curator Diane Wendt and Research and Project Assistant Rachel Anderson, not only is it cool for beauty fans to see what women used over 100 years ago, but also, the archiving of the products tell us things about the economy, trends, and even how celeb endorsements were always a thing in pre-Kardashian times.
"It certainly tells you quite a lot about what people were willing to spend their money on, and it tells you what they were trying to obtain personally, how they wanted to present themselves to the world, or maybe how they felt like they had to present themselves to the world," Anderson told Racked. "Even these early stars of the theater had products associated with their names. Now, we think every celebrity has to have products, but it's actually an older idea," Wendt adds. Check out more of the interesting research the folks at Racked dug up and be sure to visit the growing digital library for a little beauty history 101.
What vintage beauty product do you want to learn more about? Tell us in the comments.