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February 15, 1958


Author Affiliations

Stamford, Conn.

Director of Research, Northam Warren Corporation.

JAMA. 1958;166(7):771-774. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.62990070013013

The origins of cosmetic formulation are lost in antiquity, but it is apparent that from earliest historical times the unguents and lotions used for personal adornment and beautification were a part of the stock in trade of the pharmacist or his predecessors. This report will discuss how that newcomer science was applied to the ancient cosmetic art and how science is now being applied to some cosmetic problems.

Until recent years, cosmetic products were made according to formulas of unknown origin, which were handed down from generation to generation. Since medieval times, cosmetic formularies have printed and reprinted essentially the same assortment of recipes for beauty preparations. A classic example is the formula for cold cream, which was either devised by the second-century physician Galen or handed down by him from an earlier source. Many pharmacopeias still use Galen's formula, improved in stability by the use of borax to form