The Allure of Blackened Teeth: A Traditional Japanese Sign of Beauty

The Allure of Blackened Teeth: A Traditional Japanese Sign of Beauty

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Ohaguro (which may be translated as ‘blackened teeth’) is a practice in which people (usually women) dye their teeth black. While this custom is known to be practiced in different parts of the world, including Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and even South America, it is most commonly associated with Japan.

It is undeniable that traits deemed attractive and beautiful are often dictated by a society, and until the end of the 19th century black teeth was regarded as a sign of beauty in Japan. Nevertheless, blackened teeth were more than just a mark of beauty in Japanese society, the practice of blackening teeth served other purposes as well.

A woman with teeth stained black by the practice of Ohaguro. (

Black Teeth Dye Preparation

The traditional method for obtaining black teeth through the practice of Ohaguro involves the ingestion of a dye in a drink called Kanemizu. To create the dye, iron fillings are first soaked in tea or sake with vinegar. When the iron oxidizes, the liquid would turn black. The taste of the dye is said to be harsh, hence spices such as cinnamon, cloves and anise, would be added to it. This dye would be drunk, causing the drinker’s teeth to turn black.

In order to keep the teeth black, the process would be repeated once a day or once every few days. The results seem to have been permanent, as there are skeletons from the Edo period whose teeth are still black due to the practice of Ohaguro.

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Young Tonkin with teeth painted black, c. 1905.

Reasons for Ohaguro

It is unknown when and how the practice of Ohaguro began. Nevertheless, it became popular at some point of time during the Heian period (8th – 12th centuries AD). During this period, it was the aristocrats, especially its female members, who practiced dying their teeth black. This practice caught on because it complemented another symbol of beauty during that period…

Apart from black teeth, white faces were another desirable trait during the Heian period . Unfortunately, the white makeup, which was made of rice powder, could potentially cause a person’s teeth to look yellower than they actually were. In order to overcome this problem, women painted their teeth a contrasting, eye catching black. When a person’s teeth are shown, an illusion is created in which a wide smile is presented without showing one’s teeth.

A woman painting her face and neck white. ( Ukiyo-e)

Along with being a statement of beauty, the practice of Ohaguro is said to have strengthened the teeth and protected a person from dental problems such as cavities and gum disease. Furthermore, the samurai practiced Ohaguro to demonstrate their loyalty towards their masters.

Black Teeth in Fashion

Ohaguro continued to be practiced during subsequent periods of Japanese history. By the time of the Edo period (17th – 19th centuries AD), this practice had spread from the aristocratic class to other social classes as well.

During this period, Ohaguro was commonly practiced among married women, unmarried women over 18 years old, prostitutes, and geishas. Thus, black teeth signified a woman’s sexual maturity. This could have been a continuation of the former Muromachi period practice in which daughters of military commanders began painting their teeth black to show their coming of age – when they were 8-10 years old!

Blackened teeth, Nishiki-e of Utagawa Kunisad, from the series Mirrors of modern apartments, c. 1820.

During the Meiji period which succeeded the Edo period , the practice of Ohaguro fell out of fashion. As part of the new Japanese government’s attempts to modernize the country, Ohaguro was banned in 1870.

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The new trend in Japan, with regards to teeth, was to keep them white. This new fashion was ‘endorsed’ in 1873 when the Empress of Japan herself appeared in public with a dazzling set of white teeth.

Soon, white teeth were regarded as a mark of beauty , and Ohaguro slowly lost its appeal among the Japanese. Ohaguro eventually died out among the general public in Japan, however it can still sometimes be seen in the Geisha quarters in Kyoto. For the most part, Ohaguro is only used these days in movies, plays, and sometimes a traditional festival called matsuri.

Geisha blackening the teeth to 1 am, ukiyo-e of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, number 13 of the series 24 hours Shinbashi and Yanagibashi.

Nothing but Blackened Teeth

Interestingly, there is a yokai (a supernatural spirit / monster in Japanese folklore) called the Ohaguro Bettari (translated as ‘nothing but blackened teeth’). This yokai is believed to look like a beautiful woman (from the back at least) dressed in wedding clothes. She is said to enjoy calling single young men over to her.

While they come towards her, she keeps her face hidden from their view. But when the men come close enough, she reveals a white face that is featureless, except for a huge mouth with a set of black teeth. Apart from scaring the men out of their wits, this yokai seems to be pretty harmless, as no stories attribute her appearance with death or injuries to the frightened men.

Image of an Ohaguro Bettari. ( CC BY SA )

The Maya Concept of Beauty

Maya beauty was a critical idea in Mayan civilization, as it was in others. The Maya, just like people today, loved personal beauty, and they were willing to spend their wealth and endure much pain to achieve the perfect look. However, what they thought was beautiful differs in some respects from what people today find lovely. Here are some of the differences.

The Maya worshiped Yum Kaax, the Maize god, and to this god they looked for their idea of beauty. As an ear of corn narrows at the top, the Maya found an elongated head attractive. In a process called trepanning, Maya parents flattened a newborn baby’s soft skull so the forehead sloped up and backward. Two boards were attached to the days-old baby’s head at an angle to press against the forehead. Maya parents increased the pressure of the boards over several days until the baby’s forehead sloped and the head was elongated. Experts once thought this deformation was limited to the nobility, but later evidence revealed that 90 percent of the Maya skulls examined were elongated. A sloping forehead was a sign of being a Maya

The Maya found slightly crossed eyes beautiful. To ensure their babies had this desirable feature, Maya parents made a headband for their infants and hung a piece of stone from a string between the baby’s eyes, hoping that the child’s eyes would cross.

A perfectly shaped nose, to the Maya, was rather large with a pronounced beak. From their artwork, we can see many Maya did have the perfect Roman profile of a big, beaked proboscis. If nature did not provide the ideal nose, many Maya resorted to a removable artificial nose bridge to give their nose the right hook shape.

Pointed teeth were beautiful teeth to the Maya, and they filed theirs to sharp points, often to form a certain pattern. Perhaps they thought pointed teeth resembled kernels of corn on the cob. Wealthy Maya would have inlays of precious stone like jade or turquoise drilled into their front teeth.

Maya pierced their ears, lips and noses. Men and women both sported earrings and earbobs, and jewelry worn in the lips and nose. As gold was not often found in Maya territory, precious gems and stones were predominantly used in jewelry. Jade and other green stones were especially favored.

Maya men and women used body paint in patterns and solid colors. Unmarried men painted themselves black, priests used blue and men and women both favored red. Warriors wore bands of alternating red and black paint. Tattoos were popular, but the process of getting tattooed was painful and often caused infection. A tattoo artist would paint the design on a Maya man or woman, then cut into the body along the lines of the design. The resulting scar and paint formed a tattoo. Maya tattoos were thus signs of personal bravery.

What The ‘Ideal’ Woman’s Body Looks Like In 18 Countries

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UK online pharmacy Superdrug Online Doctors recently created a project called "Perceptions Of Perfection" that features 18 photoshopped images of the same woman. The company hired designers from countries around the world to photoshop a stock image via Shutterstock to reflect the beauty standards of their specific countries.

"Widely held perceptions of beauty and perfection can have a deep and lasting cultural impact on both women and men," a Superdrug press release reads. "The goal of this project is to better understand potentially unrealistic standards of beauty and to see how such pressures vary around the world."

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The designers photoshopped everything from the size of her waistline to shoe and hair color to mold the photo into the ideal body type of that culture.

Out of the 18 designers, 14 were women and four were men, according to Superdrug. In order to highlight a woman's perception of her culture's beauty standards, Superdrug asked the four male designers to photoshop the image based on messages women in their countries receive about what an ideal body should look like.

Some of the images appear only slightly altered, while in others, the original image is barely recognizable. Photos from China and Italy were dramatically photoshopped to have very thin legs and arms. Images from Colombia, Mexico and Peru reflect the traditional voluptuous beauty standards of those areas with tiny waists, large breasts and curvy hips.

The Surprising&mdashand Significant&mdashHistory of Red Lipstick

Give a girl the right lipstick and she can conquer the world.

"There is a shade of red for every woman."

These are the wise words of the great Audrey Hepburn in the 20th century. Sure, you could construe this in a literal context after all, red lipstick comes in a variety of hues𠅏rom the deepest crimsons to the brightest cherries—that are bound to be flattering on every woman’s skin tone. However, given the complicated history of red lipstick during that period, the quote takes on a different meaning entirely.

A red lipstick is one of the most integral items in a woman’s makeup bag. Today, a scarlet pout is one of the most powerful symbols of beauty in the world. But have you ever considered where the iconic beauty product came from? 

The history of red lipstick is a colorful, tumultuous one, charged with centuries of significance. Many historians consider ancient Sumerians in 3500 BC southern Mesopotamia to be the first inventors of lipstick. Red rocks were crushed into a powder to tint the lips red. Others like to credit the birth of lipstick to the ancient Egyptian elites, where Cleopatra was known to wear lip paint created using crushed insects mixed into a vibrant paste of red waxes.

Regardless of its true origin, the concept of wearing red lipstick has always been a major social signifier that carried with it a multitude of meanings. Depending on the location and century, the visual statement was a flirtatious signal of seduction, a declaration of social status, a show of wealth, or an indication of confidence. 

Perhaps most interestingly, the simple beauty product has even been used𠅊nd scorned𠅊s a feminist tactic for “terrorizing” men. Adolf Hitler was one of the men who famously hated red lipstick, and in Allied countries, wearing it became a sign of patriotism and a statement against fascism. For whatever reason, the undeniably feminine color bestowed women with a mysterious aura of power that came off as frightening, morally dubious, and highly intimidating to some people. 

In the U.S., this witnessed its peak in 1912, when women started to march in order to gain attention for equal rights (including the right to vote). In order to gain more notoriety and attention to their cause, some would wear red lipstick to public events.  

“This was seen as the mark of the independent emancipated woman, which at the time was thought to be quite scandalous,” says Gabriela Hernandez, who started her Bésame Cosmetics line with a lipstick from 1920. “This subversive action would have brought censure from men and some women who regarded these women as morally lacking.”

Suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, in particular, loved red lipstick for its ability to intimidate men, and protesters decided to adopt the bold color as a sign of defiance. Leading cosmetics brand founder Elizabeth Arden would pass out free tubes of bright red lipstick to the women along the Fifth Avenue suffragette march route in New York City. At that point, red lipstick became a symbol of not only women’s liberation, but rebellion. Women would publicly apply red lipstick with the intent to shock men and declare their independence from the social stratifications that limited them.  

As red lipstick became a symbol of the American suffrage movement, it began to gain popularity internationally. As women&aposs rights movements spread across the world, British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst also donned a red lip, which helped spread the symbolic action among her fellow activists.

Red lipstick as a political statement is even seen today. In 2018, Nicaraguan men and women sported red lipstick and uploaded photos of themselves to social media to show their support for the release of anti-government protesters. In Chile in 2019, almost 10,000 women took to the streets with black blindfolds and red lips to denounce sexual violence in the country.

“Women who wear this color say that it emboldens them,” says Hernandez. “The color red has carried this connotation for centuries, and it still does to this day. The &aposIron Lady&apos Margaret Thatcher, who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom, always sported a red lip, and now we see it in new State Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”

By wearing red lips, women are empowered to tap into the same movement. It’s chic, elegant, and flattering, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s bold, defiant, undeniably feminine, and visually powerful. 

“The women&aposs movement was about women having choices, which included the way they looked and wore cosmetics. I think the choices in makeup available today enable people to express their preferences. There is a sea of choices to aid in discovery and self expression.” says Hernandez. “Red is the color of passion and strength. I think makeup now is really a mirror of what you believe for others to see.” 

If you’re looking for your own tube of empowering red lipstick, here are some of our personal favorites.

A History of Cosmetics from Ancient Times

Civilizations have used cosmetics – though not always recognizable compared to today’s advanced products – for centuries in religious rituals, to enhance beauty, and to promote good health. Cosmetics usage throughout history can be indicative of a civilization’s practical concerns, such as protection from the sun, indication of class, or conventions of beauty. The timeline below represents a brief history of cosmetics, beginning with the Ancient Egyptians in 10,000 BCE through modern developments in the United States. You can use the following navigation to jump to specific points in time.

Cosmetics in the Ancient World

10,000 BCE:
Cosmetics are an integral part of Egyptian hygiene and health. Men and women in Egypt use scented oils and ointments to clean and soften their skin and mask body odor. Oils and creams are used for protection against the hot Egyptian sun and dry winds. Myrrh, thyme, marjoram, chamomile, lavender, lily, peppermint, rosemary, cedar, rose, aloe, olive oil, sesame oil, and almond oil provide the basic ingredients of most perfumes Egyptians use in religious rituals.

4000 BCE:
Egyptian women apply galena mesdemet (made of copper and lead ore) and malachite (bright green paste of copper minerals) to their faces for color and definition. They use kohl (a combination of burnt almonds, oxidized copper, different colored coppers ores, lead, ash, and ochre) to adorn the eyes in an almond shape. Women carry cosmetics to parties in makeup boxes and keep them under their chairs.

3000 BCE:
The Chinese stain their fingernails with gum arabic, gelatin, beeswax, and egg. The colors are used as a representation of social class: Chou dynasty royals wear gold and silver, with subsequent royals wearing black or red. Lower classes are forbidden to wear bright colors on their nails.

Grecian women paint their faces with white lead and apply crushed mulberries as rouge. The application of fake eyebrows, often made of oxen hair, is also fashionable.

1500 BCE:
Chinese and Japanese citizens commonly use rice powder to make their faces white. Eyebrows are shaved off, teeth are painted gold or black, and henna dyes are applied to stain hair and faces.

1000 BCE:
Grecians whiten their complexion with chalk or lead face powder and fashion crude lipstick out of ochre clays laced with red iron.

Cosmetics in the Early Common Era (CE)

In Rome, people put barley flour and butter on their pimples and sheep fat and blood on their fingernails for polish. In addition, mud baths come into vogue, and some Roman men dye their hair blonde.

Henna is used in India both as a hair dye and in mehndi, an art form in which complex designs are painted on the hands and feet using a paste made from the henna plant, especially before a Hindu wedding. Henna is also used in some North African cultures.

Cosmetics in the Middle Ages

Perfumes are first imported to Europe from the Middle East as a result of the Crusades.

In Elizabethan England, dyed red hair comes into fashion. Society women wear egg whites over their faces to create the appearance of a paler complexion. Some people believe, however, that cosmetics blocked proper circulation and therefore pose a health threat.

Renaissance Cosmetics

Italy and France emerge as the main centers of cosmetics manufacturing in Europe, and only the aristocracy has access. Arsenic is sometimes used in face powder instead of lead. The modern notion of complex scent-making evolves in France. Early fragrances are amalgams of naturally occurring ingredients. Later, chemical processes for combining and testing scents surpass their arduous and labor-intensive predecessors.

European women often attempt to lighten their skin using a variety of products, including white lead paint. Queen Elizabeth I of England is one well-known user of white lead, with which she creates a look known as “the Mask of Youth.” Blonde hair rises in popularity as it is considered angelic. Mixtures of black sulfur, alum, and honey are painted onto the hair and lighten with sun exposure.

19th and Early 20th Century Global Cosmetics Developments

Zinc oxide becomes widely used as a facial powder, replacing the previously used deadly mixtures of lead and copper. One such mixture, Ceruse, which is made from white lead, is later discovered to be toxic and blamed for health problems including facial tremors, muscle paralysis, and even death.

Queen Victoria publicly declares makeup improper. It is viewed as vulgar and acceptable only for use by actors.

In Edwardian Society, pressure increases on middle-aged women to appear youthful while acting as hostesses. As a result, cosmetics use increases, but is not yet completely popularized.

Beauty salons rise in popularity, though patronage of such salons is not widely accepted. Because many women do not wish to publicly admit they have assistance achieving their youthful appearances, they often enter salons through the back door.

From its earliest days, the United States has been at the forefront of cosmetics innovation, entrepreneurship, and regulation. The timeline below represents a brief history of the important developments and American usage trends, as well as a regulatory history of cosmetics in the U.S.

Growth of the Industry

David McConnell founds the California Perfume Company (CPC), then located in New York. Over time, the company continues to grow and experiences great success, selling five million units in North America during World War I alone. In 1928, CPC sells its first products – toothbrush, powdered cleanser, and a vanity set – under the name by which it is commonly known today: Avon. The Avon line of cosmetics was introduced the next year, in 1929.

The extremely competitive nature of the industry drives a group led by New York perfumer Henry Dalley to found the Manufacturing Perfumers’ Association. The group evolved over time and, after several name changes, is now known as the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC).

The number of U.S. firms manufacturing perfumery and toilet goods increases from 67 (in 1880) to 262. By 1900, cosmetics are in widespread use around the world, including the United States.

Eugene Schueller, a young French chemist, invents modern synthetic hair dye which he calls “Oréal.” In 1909, Schueller names his company Societe Francaise de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux (Safe Hair Dye Company of France), which today has become L’Oréal.

American women begin to fashion their own form of mascara by applying beads of wax to their eyelashes.

World War I & Aftermath

The onset of World War I leads to increased employment among American women. This gain in disposable income, with more discretion over its use, leads to a boom in domestic cosmetics sales.

Chemist T.L. Williams creates Maybelline Mascara for his sister, Mabel, the product’s inspiration.

Congress passes the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, commonly known as Prohibition. As originally drafted, the Amendment might have outlawed perfumes and toilet goods because of their alcohol content. The Manufacturing Perfumers’ Association (MPA), however, mobilized its forces and persuaded Congress to clarify the language to exempt products unfit for use as beverages.

The Roaring 20s

The flapper look comes into fashion for the first time and, with it, increased cosmetics use: dark eyes, red lipstick, red nail polish, and the suntan, which is first noted as a fashion statement by Coco Chanel.

Cosmetics and fragrances are manufactured and mass marketed in America for the first time.

Max Factor, a Polish-American cosmetician and former cosmetics expert for the Russian royal family, invents the word “makeup” and introduces Society Makeup to the general public, enabling women to emulate the looks of their favorite movie stars.

The first liquid nail polish, several forms of modern base, powdery blushes, and the powder compact are introduced.

The Manufacturing Perfumers’ Association (MPA) changes its name to the American Manufacturers of Toilet Articles (AMTA).

Max Factor, now living in Hollywood, unveils the very first lip-gloss.

A pound of face powder was sold annually for every woman in the U.S. and there were more than 1,500 face creams on the market. The concept of color harmony in makeup was introduced simultaneously, and major cosmetics companies began producing integrated lines of lipsticks, fingernail lacquers, and foundations.

The Great Depression

Due to the influence of movie stars, the Hollywood “tan” look emerges and adds to the desire for tanned skin, first made popular by fashion designer Coco Chanel, who accidentally got sunburnt visiting the French Riviera in 1923. When she arrived home, her fans apparently liked the look and started to adopt darker skin tones themselves.

In the midst of the Great Depression, brothers Charles and Joseph Revson, along with chemist Charles Lachman, found Revlon, after discovering a unique manufacturing process for nail enamel, using pigments instead of dyes. This innovation was ultimately responsible for Revlon’s success it became a multimillion dollar corporation within just six years. Revlon also borrowed the concept of “planned obsolescence” from General Motors Corp. to introduce seasonal color changes. Until World War II, women tended to use an entire lipstick or bottle of nail polish before purchasing a new one.

Drene, the first detergent-based shampoo, is introduced into the marketplace by Procter & Gamble.

Max Factor develops and introduces pancake makeup to meet the unique requirements of Technicolor film. When actresses started taking it home for personal use, he realized his new invention looked wonderful both on and off camera and decided to introduce pancake makeup to the general retail trade.

Eugene Schueller (founder of L’Oréal) invents the first sunscreen. Despite its relative ineffectiveness, this development leads to the invention of Glacier Cream by Austrian scientist, Franz Greiter. Introduced in 1938, this product is cited as the first commercially viable sun protection cream. In 1962, Greiter introduced the concept for the Sun Protection Factor rating system (SPF), which has since become the worldwide standard for measuring the effectiveness of sunscreen.

Cosmetics were excluded from the Pure Food & Drug Act of 1906 because they were not considered a serious public health concern. However, an incident linked to use of an eyeliner product forced Congress to pass the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, which greatly expanded FDA’s authority to regulate cosmetics.

World War II & Aftermath

Leg makeup is developed in response to a shortage of stockings during World War II.

The FDA is transferred from the Department of Agriculture to the Federal Security Agency and Walter G. Campbell is appointed the first Commissioner of Food and Drugs.

Companies such as Procter & Gamble (who made products such as soap and laundry detergents) begin to sponsor daytime television programs that will eventually be called “soap operas,” the first of which was called These Are My Children.

The Modern Era of Cosmetics

The Modern Era of the cosmetics business begins as television advertising is first implemented in earnest.

Mum, the first company to commercially market deodorant, launches the first roll-on deodorant (under the brand name of Ban Roll-On), which is inspired by the design of another recently invented product – the ballpoint pen.

Crest, the first toothpaste with fluoride clinically proven to fight cavities, is introduced by Procter & Gamble.

Congress passes the Color Additive Amendments, in response to an outbreak of illnesses in children caused by an orange Halloween candy, which requires manufacturers to establish the safety of color additives in foods, drugs, and cosmetics. The Amendments included a provision called the “Delaney Clause’" that prohibited the use of color additives shown to be a human or animal carcinogen.

“Natural” products based on botanical ingredients, such as carrot juice and watermelon extract, were first introduced. False eyelashes became popular.

The first aerosol deodorant is introduced – Gillette’s Right Guard.

Congress enacts the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), which requires all consumer products in interstate commerce to be honestly and informatively labeled, with FDA enforcing provisions on foods, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices.

The Toilet Goods Association (TGA) changes its name to the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA).

In response to a citizen petition filed by the CTFA, the FDA Office of Colors and Cosmetics established the Voluntary Cosmetic Reporting Program (VCRP) in 1971. The VCRP is an FDA post-market reporting system for use by manufacturers, packers, and distributors of cosmetic products that are in commercial distribution in the United States it demonstrated the industry’s commitment to cosmetic safety and furthered the safety evaluation of cosmetic ingredients.

CTFA establishes the International Cosmetic Ingredient Nomenclature Committee (INC) – comprised of dedicated scientists from industry, academia, regulatory authorities and sister trade associations – to develop and assign uniform names for cosmetic ingredients. “INCI” names are uniform, systematic names internationally recognized to identify cosmetics ingredients that are published biennially in the International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook.

The environmental movement brings challenges to the cosmetics and fragrance industry. The use of some popular ingredients, including musk and ambergris, is banned following the enactment of endangered species protection legislation.

CTFA, with the support of the FDA and the Consumer Federation of America, establishes the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The goal of the CIR is to bring together worldwide published and unpublished data on the safety of cosmetics ingredients, and for an independent expert panel to subsequently review that data. The seven-member panel consists of scientists and physicians from the fields of dermatology, pharmacology, chemistry, and toxicology selected by a steering committee and publicly nominated by government agencies, industry, and consumers. The panel thoroughly reviews and assesses the safety of ingredients and ultimately publishes the final results in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Toxicology. Today, CIR has reviewed thousands of the most commonly used cosmetics ingredients.

The 80’s saw a dramatic change from previous decades where women typically wore makeup that was natural and light. Instead, the new order of the day was to experiment with heavy layers of bold, bright colors. Gone was the golden glow of the 70’s, replaced by foundation that was one or two shades lighter than women’s natural skin tone. Smokey eyes in bright colors such as fuchsia, electric blue, orange, and green were hugely popular. The 80’s was all about taking your look to the extreme, championed by superstars such as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.

Concerns about contaminated makeup emerged late in the decade. An FDA report in 1989 found that more than five percent of cosmetics samples collected from department store counters were contaminated with mold, fungi, and pathogenic organisms.

PCPC donates $1 million to fund a national center for the development of alternatives to animal testing – the Johns Hopkins School Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT). Its mission is to promote and support research in animal testing alternatives. To date, CAAT has funded to approximately 300 grants totaling more than $6 million.

Look Good Feel Better is founded by the Look Good Feel Better Foundation (formerly the Personal Care Products Council Foundation) – a charitable organization established by CTFA to help hundreds of thousands of women with cancer by improving their self-esteem and confidence through lessons on skin and nail care, cosmetics, and accessories to address the appearance-related side effects of treatment.

Animal testing for cosmetics continues to be a hot topic in the beauty industry, driven by consumer preferences. In June 1989, Avon became the first major cosmetics company in the world to announce a permanent end to animal testing of its products, including testing done in outside laboratories. Other companies subsequently follow suit throughout the next decade and efforts intensify to develop and gain governmental approvals for alternative methods to substantiate product safety.

The first ever Cosmetics Harmonization and International Cooperation (CHIC) meeting is held in Brussels, Belgium. At the conference, representatives from the U.S. FDA the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) Health Canada and Directorate General III of the European Union discuss broad cosmetics topics, including: basic safety substantiation, exchange of data and information, development of an international alert system, and an international memorandum of cooperation.

Consumers in the early 2000s are pressed for time. As the pace of work and home life became more stressful and hectic, cosmetics and personal care products that emphasized relaxation, but which could still be used quickly, constituted a strong category within the industry. Among these products are aromatherapy scented body washes, as well as other liquid and gel soaps, which start to replace traditional bar soaps.

The industry experiences increased challenges including product safety concerns, calls for scientific data to document product claims, increasing environmental concerns, and pressure from the growing animal rights movement. Congress began investigating possible revisions to the traditional “drug” and “cosmetic” definitions established under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The European Union (EU) implements an animal testing ban on finished cosmetics products.

The CTFA develops the Consumer Commitment Code, which highlights the voluntary, proactive, and responsible approach to product safety supported by cosmetics companies. The Code is intended to enhance confidence and transparency for consumers and government regulators.

The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) changes its name to the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC). PCPC supports numerous legislative initiatives in the states of California, Massachusetts and New York, and launches to assist consumers in understanding the products they use as well as the industry’s record of safety in the formulation of those products.

The International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation (ICCR) is established, comprised of a voluntary, international group of cosmetics regulatory authorities from Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the United States. This group of regulatory authorities meets on an annual basis to discuss common issues on cosmetics safety and regulation.

The European Commission (EC) issues regulation governing product claims, protecting consumers from misleading claims concerning efficacy and other characteristics of cosmetic products.

PCPC commissions a study to help quantify the important contributions the cosmetics industry makes to the economy and society. The findings illustrate the deep commitment of personal care leaders to promote and advance environmental, social, and economic benefits to its consumers.

PCPC begins working with FDA and Congressional staff on a multi-year process to develop a framework for cosmetics reform legislation that would strengthen FDA oversight and provide for national uniformity and preemption of disparate state cosmetic regulations.

Due to rising concerns about the potential environmental impacts, the cosmetics industry supports the enactment of the Microbead-Free Waters Act, which prohibits the manufacture and sale of rinse-off cosmetics (including toothpaste) that contain intentionally-added plastic microbeads.

PCPC successfully petitions FDA to issue draft guidance for lead impurities in lip products and externally applied cosmetics, providing critical regulatory certainty consistent with international policies.

PCPC issues an updated Economic and Social Contributions Report, documenting the vital role the industry plays in every state.

CIR completes the scientific safety assessments of 5,278 ingredients since the program began. Findings continue to be published in International Journal of Toxicology.

Recognizing that sunscreens are considered “drugs” and therefore banned in schools, PCPC successfully spearheads a coalition of more than 30 stakeholders in support of state legislation that allows students to have and apply sunscreen at school.

Each Zodiac Sign's Unique Personality Traits, Explained by an Astrologer

Humans have pondered the mysteries of the universe for millennia, tracking the sun’s vibrant motion, the moon’s beguiling cycle, and the swirl of boundless stars overhead. Astrology and astronomy were inextricably linked for thousands of years, and although these two fields have been disentangled over time, the mystical teachings of the cosmos still guide us today.

The study of astrology is expansive, complex, and transformative. Despite the nuances, the most fundamental principle of astrology centers on the 12 familiar star signs of the zodiac. Over the centuries, each sign has developed its own associations — including myths, animals, and colors — and its own characteristics. Every sign boasts an individual approach to life, complete with dynamic strengths and frustrating weaknesses.

The sun sign is the cosmic launching pad for both amateur and professional astrologers. Your sun sign is determined by your date of birth and represents your core personality, sense of self, basic preferences, and ways in which you move through the world. This astrological placement sheds light on your intrinsic gifts, as well as your blind spots. Joys, wishes, flaws, and fears are what make a sun sign special and unique. When combined with the other planets in your chart, it creates the distinctive profile that serves as your astrological fingerprint.

No sign is perfect on its own. The diversity of the zodiac completes the astrological wheel.

Ready to take your astrological knowledge to the next level? There are four triplicities and quadruplicities that further categorize the 12 signs. If these words sound like gibberish, don’t fret: The concepts are easy. "Triplicities" is astrospeak for elements, which include fire (the fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius), earth (the earth signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn), air (the air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius), and water (the water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). Generally speaking, fire signs are passionate and exuberant, earth signs are practical and grounded, air signs are intellectual and curious, and water signs are intuitive and emotional.

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Quadruplicities are the signs’ qualities. Cardinal signs, which include Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn, kick off new seasons. They are excellent at taking action and starting initiatives. Fixed signs, which include Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius, occur in the middle of seasons. They are the steady, consistent forces that maintain movement. Each season concludes with a mutable sign — Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, or Pisces — that possesses effortless fluidity well-suited to change and transformation. As we continue layering astrological concepts, we uncover a rich and complex practice that delivers insight into our truest selves.

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Meet Takimika, Japan’s 90-Year-Old Fitness Instructor

Most 90-year-olds can barely walk, let alone exercise, but 90-year-old Takishima Mika not only conducts daily fitness regimens religiously, but she actually works as a fitness instructor at a gym.

For most of us, “age is just a number” is just a tired cliché, but people like Takishima Mika, aka “Takimika”, are proof that it doesn’t have to be. The sprightly pensioner, who turned 90 on on January 15, is more active than most 20-year-olds and probably fitter too. She is Japan’s oldest fitness instructor and has become somewhat of a minor celebrity in the Asian country, both because of her excellent physical shape, and her positive attitude and infectious smile. But Takimika wasn’t always like that. In fact, her transformation began late in life, when she was already in her 60s.

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Eleanor Roosevelt’s Marriage and Family Life

On March 17, 1905, 20-year-old Eleanor married Franklin Roosevelt, a 22-year-old Harvard University student and her fifth cousin once removed. The two had met as children and became reacquainted after Eleanor returned from school in England. Their wedding took place at the home of one of Eleanor’s relatives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and the bride was escorted down the aisle by then-President Theodore Roosevelt. Franklin and Eleanor had six children, five of whom survived to adulthood: Anna (1906-1975), James (1907-1991), Elliott (1910-1990), Franklin Jr. (1914-1988) and John (1916-1981).

In 1910, Franklin Roosevelt began his political career when he was elected to the New York State Senate. Three years later, he was appointed assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, a position he held until 1920, when he made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. vice presidency on a ticket headed by James Cox (1870-1957), an Ohio governor. In addition to raising her family during these years, Eleanor Roosevelt volunteered with the American Red Cross and in Navy hospitals during World War I (1914-1918). In the 1920s, she became active in Democratic Party politics and was also involved with such activist organizations as the Women’s Union Trade League and the League of Women Voters. Additionally, she cofounded Val-Kill Industries, a nonprofit furniture factory in Hyde Park, New York (where the Roosevelt family estate, Springwood, was located), and taught American history and literature at the Todhunter School, a private Manhattan girls’ school.

In 1921, Franklin Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Eleanor encouraged her husband’s return to politics, and in 1928 he was elected governor of New York. Six years later, Roosevelt was elected to the White House.

For further reading

Freycinet, Louis-Claude de. Voyage autour du Monde … Execute sur les Corvettes de S.M. l’Uranie et la Physicienne: Atlas Historique Paris: Chez Pillet Aine, 1825.

Omori, Emiko, Lisa Altieri. “Skin Stories: The Art and Culture of Polynesian Tattoo.” Documentary. Directed by Emiko Omori. [Honolulu?]: Pacific Islanders in Communications and KPBS San Diego, 2003.

Spennemann, Dirk H.R. Tattooing in the Marshall Islands. 2nd ed. Albury, New South Wales, Australia, 1998. Also available online at Digital Micronesia- Marshall Islands. (Accessed 18 June 2012)

Yatar, Maria Santos. “With the First Canoe: Traditional Tatu of Micronesia. Video. 1992.

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