1960s Beauty Ads Show That Our Attitudes Have Changed For The Better

It doesn't take watching "Mad Men" to know that the beauty industry impacted 1960s style in major ways. Women everywhere flaunted their babydoll lashes, blue eyeshadows, frosted lipsticks and bouffants with pride.

Cosmetic companies like Max Factor and Revlon influenced beauty standards with powerful advertisements that included vivid prints and bright colors. Girls were shown posing against intensely pigmented backgrounds with their perfect hairstyles, their perfect outfits and their perfect smiles.

While the ads showed one thing, reality painted an entirely different picture. Few print ads featured women of color, and when they were included, they often modeled for beauty brands specifically targeted to their racial demographics. Additionally, women were marginalized in sexist ads that portrayed them as men-chasing damsels who needed superhero products to make them look pretty and feel accepted.

But a new report published by The NPD Group found that "consumer attitudes have changed, and beauty is viewed differently than it was in years past." The report said that while spending grew among the U.S. prestige beauty market, the fewest amount of people purchased beauty products in 2014 than in the last six years. Karen Grant, global beauty industry analyst, added that women may be finding fulfillment once associated with beauty products from other experiences.

Perhaps sensing the shift in consumers' mindsets, beauty companies have branded their messages differently than ever before. For example, Make Up For Ever released unretouched ads in 2011, and Dove launched its "Love Your Curls" campaign just this year. Both examples challenge unrealistic beauty standards and promote self-acceptance.

To show just how far the industry has come, we compiled some of the most memorable 1960s beauty ads on Pinterest. Check them out below and tell us your thoughts.

The AT&T ad directly above is obviously not from a cosmetic brand, but its use of beauty products demonstrate how women had to keep up quite the appearance to be considered a good wife.


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