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Radioactive Cosmetics: Make-up of the Atomic Era

radioactive cosmetics_ make-up of the atomic era
Priscilla Walton

Priscilla Walton

Priscilla Walton is the Head of Department for TrainSmart Australia's make-up faculty, and finds it extremely rewarding to see students develop their artistic skills. One of her main areas of interest is special effects make-up and airbrushing. Priscilla currently teaches TrainSmart Australia's CUA51015 Diploma of Screen and Media make-up course on Level 9, 251 Adelaide Terrace, in the heart of Perth city.

A little known fact about the cosmetics industry:

From the 1920’s to the 1950’s the radioactive cosmetics era was huge. Radioactive make-up was seen as a product of energy and was found in almost all make-up and household cleaning products.

Much like the superfoods of today, women would feverishly use these radioactive cosmetics products with the belief they were going to achieve beauty inside and out. Women were led to believe that the special radioactive ingredients in their make-up would help them achieve a youthful appearance. However, a radioactive glow just isn’t the same as a youthful glow!


    Did you know radium bromide was once used in make-up and added as a health supplement to coffee beans?! #Radioactive #Makeup #FunFact @TrainSmart_Australia

    Tho-Radia Cosmetics

    The crazy cycle of this atomic world continued through to the late 1950’s. Even with the eventual law-suit by what is now referred to as the “Radium Girls” each of these women had radiation poisoning which was caused by them painting glow-in-the-dark watch dials. The Radium Girls were told the paint was safe to use, so they would lick their paint brushes to achieve a fine point, not only did they use it to paint the watch dials, for fun they would also paint their nails and lips.

    Today I can press a button and change the hue on a photo to achieve the same glow in the dark effect. Hence the picture below depicting just that.  I to can achieve a radioactive look.  Does make you think though. What have I done in the name of beauty?

    Image sources and copyright: 1, 9, 10Some rights reserved by Marshall Astor – Food Fetishist, 5:This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license.

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