Chapter | Globalizing Beauty: Consumerism and Body Aesthetics in the Twentieth Century | 2013

The Global and the Local in the Beauty Industry: A Historical Perspective

by G. Jones

Abstract

This chapter explores the impact of the global beauty industry on beauty ideals. It shows that as the industry internationalized from the late nineteenth century, there was a homogenization of beauty ideals and practices around the world. Western and white beauty ideals emerged as the global standard. The momentum of this standard was reinforced by the impact of Hollywood and other drivers of an international consumer culture from the interwar years. However the study shows that the drive for homogenization, although powerful, was never complete. The local was never entirely subsumed by the global. Convergence and homogenization were stronger in aspirations than in preferences for particular products and scents, which remained more persistently local despite the spread of global brand names. The more recent era of globalization since the 1980s has coincided with a strong revival in interest in local traditions and practices, which is particularly noticeable in some of the fastest growing emerging markets such as China.

Keywords: Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; business history; Globalization; History; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Asia; Europe; Latin America; Middle East; North and Central America; South America;

Citation:

Jones, G. "The Global and the Local in the Beauty Industry: A Historical Perspective." Chap. 1 in Globalizing Beauty: Consumerism and Body Aesthetics in the Twentieth Century, edited by Hartmut Berghoff and Thomas Kuhne, 25–40. Worlds of Consumption. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.