The other important thing to know about the growth of the beauty business was location. While the rise of commercially produced cosmetics had previously been concentrated in Europe, by the end of the Second World War, the United States had undoubtedly become the main producer of makeup. By 1945, US beauty product sales had reached an astonishing $805 million.
This was partly due to the emergence and growth of Hollywood but mainly owing to the wars. European cosmetics companies were busy with the war effort, making foot talc and camouflage cream, and were generally low on resources, so the United Statesthough it produced some of those items, toowas able to steam ahead. Helena Rubinstein expanded her business to the United States in 1914, the same time as Elizabeth Arden was starting out and exporting European beauty back home. And both George Westmore and Max Factor positioned themselves perfectly in Los Angeles, just as Hollywood was about to get big.
Later on, Charles Revson and Est©e Lauder would sense the changes comingfor the former, the untapped market in nail polish, and the possibilities of TV advertising; for the latter, the importance of unconventional marketing, and the room for a scientific beauty brand (to be fair, Helena Rubinstein had also come to this realization). An uncanny knack to foresee the next big thing and to be in the right place at the right time is not the only similarity between the earliest pioneers. Self-made mavericks, who came from humble, often very poor, beginnings, and had to fight their way, tooth and claw, to success. They dreamed of changing their lives and preemptively did so by changing their names, or inventing fantastical stories about their backgroundswhich can make it difficult to separate fact from fiction in their biographies. They were amazing marketers who invented the fantasy of beauty and the concept of creating and selling a dream.
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