A History Surrounding Vanishing Cream

In the modern day, makeup is used and seen all the time. However, makeup was frequently looked down upon throughout the Victorian era. Only when you were on stage was it deemed appropriate to wear it.

Additionally, prostitutes were known to wear it as well. Then, beginning in the Edwardian era, ladies were permitted to apply makeup. 

A History Surrounding Vanishing Cream

At this time, skincare businesses promoted vanishing creams as a component of a woman’s daily makeup regimen. This is because they appear to vanish when applied to the skin. Stearate skin lotions are more frequently referred to as “vanishing creams.”

In this article, we will discuss the brief history surrounding vanishing cream. 

Vanishing Cream: What Is It?

Pond’s Extract Company most likely came up with the phrase “vanishing cream” during the Victorian era. A woman’s disappearing cream mainly served as a moisturizer. Vanishing simply meant that it evaporated after being absorbed by your skin.

The creams’ promotional material bragged about how it prevents chapping in cold weather and wind. While also maintaining your skin’s youthful appearance.

Advertising copy also asserted that it would shield wearers from the sun and dirt. This was in response to the rising popularity of open-top cars and outdoor activities.

Who Created The First Vanishing Cream?

The Pond’s Extract Company, which started producing a stearate cream known as Pond’s Vanishing Cream in 1904, may have invented the name.

However, Burroughs Wellcome, started marketing a stearate cream named Hazeline Snow in 1892. As a result, technically, Burroughs Wellcome first introduced this type of skin cream to the market before Pond’s. 

With that being said, Pond’s wasn’t even the first business to produce stearate cream in America. Crême Elcaya made its debut earlier, in 1901, in New York. However, the term Vanishing Cream has mainly been associated with Pond’s Extract Company.

Vanishing Cream Was Used Instead Of Foundation 

Vanishing creams served as a foundation for a woman’s cosmetic powders to adhere to. The widespread marketing of liquid foundation as we are aware of today wasn’t a thing back then.

Although, makeup powders were available for everyone. However, they did not always stick to the skin very effectively.

The term “foundation” originates from the early 20th century, when liquid base cosmetics were first used. They weren’t always translucent, and occasionally had a pink or nude hue. Although, they weren’t frequently used to color the skin like they are today.

The skin was instead first treated with these vanishing creams and lotions. They served the same function as today’s face primer. Thus, they served as the foundation or base for a powder to adhere to.

To attain the appropriate skin tone, powder gave the color and coverage you needed.

Although there were some heavier foundations used in the film industry in the 1920s. The public didn’t have access to the foundation to it. 

A History Surrounding Vanishing Cream

How Were Vanishing Creams Created?

Vanishing creams were renowned for their pearly sheen and silky, dry feel on the skin. Chemically speaking, they were a type of oil in water emulsion. This consisted of a polyol, an alkali, water and stearic acid. 

The best stearic acid was triple pressed (t.p.), which combines with some of the alkali to generate a soap that serves as the emulsifier. While the polyol was used to help to keep the skin smooth and soft. 

Additionally, glycerine served as a thickener, preventing the vanishing cream from drying up while it was stored on the shelf. To keep the moisture in, it was also crucial to package the cream in a tube or jar with a screw-top lid.

Aluminum was used for the lids of early vanishing creams because it would not rust. Yet, plastic lids eventually took their place.

Triethanolamine generally replaced the earlier potassium soaps in the 1930s in the formula. It helped guarantee that the cream would also maintain its pearly sheen. In addition to this, it was less harsh on the skin.

Where Did Vanishing Cream Go?

Vanishing Cream was the most widely used skincare product during the 1900s and 1920s. After World War I, improvements in manufacturing made it simpler to create creams, so businesses released more specialized goods with added skincare advantages.

Additionally, the popularity of liquid, cream, and face powder foundations then reduced the demand for vanishing cream, which was used as a primer. In the 1930s, Vanishing Cream began to seem dated and started to lose popularity.

With that being said, vanishing creams never completely vanished because stearate creams are still produced today. With products like hand or body creams, lotions, shaving creams, and other skincare products.

Can You Still Purchase Vanishing Cream Today?

There are some exquisite Vanishing Creams that only a small amount of vintage cosmetics companies are still producing right now. That is, if you want to carry on this old practice at home today.

Look on Etsy or online, and you can still find companies that make this cream.


Vanishing Cream used to be widely used by women as a base for their makeup. Today, they are very rarely seen as other skin care has become more widely accessible. Yet, you can still purchase it from some more vintage stores. 

We hope this article has been informative. Now you should have a better understanding of the history surrounding Vanishing Cream.

Willa Price

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