Do you think that celebrity endorsements is a modern phenomenon? Well, think again. Manufacturers already used that trick to entice people to buy their products 200 years ago. And of course, they were also making outrageous and exaggerated claims about their effectiveness.. I wonder how they really performed since back then beauty products usually contained gross, if not dangerous, ingredients..
I thought I’d share a couple of these ads, which I found in the 1814 edition of The Repository Of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufacturers, Fashion and Politics, with you. It’s interesting to see how the tricks advertisers use are pretty much the same, only back then ads were quite long. I guess most of us would skip such long, written ads if we found them in a mag nowadays, wouldn’t we?
Without further ado, here are the ads:
PRINCE’S RUSSIA OIL
The Royal Family, and Ladies and Gentlemen of Distinction and Fashion, use Prince’s celebrated Russia Oil for the Hair.
Baldness or Grey Hairs will not be seen in future, if PRINCE’S RUSSIA OIL is used constantly, to moisten the Hair when dressing. Is proved the best preparation in the Universe for the Hair, and is so great a nourisher if used constant, never a hair will fall off or turn grey; in short, where there is hair by nature, and it has got thin or bald, and the least roots remain, by using the Russia Oil regularly, you may rely on its being restored.
Thousands of Gentlemen that were bald, have declared, after using Prince’s Russia Oil regularly for six mouths, the bald places became covered with hair; promotes eye-brows, whiskers, and Will prevent whiskers turning reddish or grey.
Ladies will find it preferable to any article when dressing real or false hair, that no damp or exercise will bring it out of curl the whole day.
Gentlemen wearing Powder, ought to use Prince’s Russia Oil to moisten their hair when dressing, instead of pomatum, or mixed with pomatum, as it is well known that powder makes the hair dry, fall off or turn grey; but Prince’s Russia Oil is such a nourisher to the hair, if used constant when dressing, not a hair will fall off or turn grey. Is serviceable for children’s hair.
Be particular in asking for Prince’s Russia Oil, at only 2s 6d per bottle, without stamps; therefore Hair-dressers that have not a medicine licence, may now sell Prince’s Russia Oil.
But Prince’s Russia Oil, prepared with aromatic ingredients, which not only preserves, promotes, and prevents the hair turning grey, but is also wholesome when used for dressing the hair, as it will prevent catching infectious diseases at home or abroad, continues to be sold at the old price, 8s per bottle, or one large bottle, containing four small, at 1l 2s stamp included.
Sold by the Proprietor, Prince, Dentist, at his House, John- street, Oxford- street. Observe, it is exactly opposite No 8, next door to a coach-maker’s. Be particular, as the numbers are irregular in John-street. Also sold by most principal perfumers or medicine venders.
Mr Prince can boast that he is the only original Proprietor of the Russia Oil in the universe; even if they want the genuine Russia Oil at Petersburg, the capital of Russia, they must send to Mr. Price, Dentist, London, for it. Mr. Prince offers one thousand pounds to any one who can prove the contrary; therefore any villains selling Russia Oil, not prepared by Mr. Price, are impostors and sellers of counterfeit.
White hands ever been esteemed a personal beauty in both Sexes, and in some parts of Europe are essential to persons of rank. The Bandana Soap, or Indian Washing Cakes, possess the peculiar property of giving the most exquisite delicacy of texture, and inconceivable fairness to the hands which are constantly washed with this soap. Even in cases where the skin has been injured by labour or other violence, the hardness or coarseness are effectually, infallibly, and permanently removed, and succeeded by a smoothness, fairness and delicacy of appearance, which cannot be acquired by any other means whatever. It is by experience only that any one may form an adequate idea of the superior excellence of this Soap.
Sold by the Proprietors’ Agent, whose signature it bears, Weston & Co. No. 229, Strand, near Temple-bar, London; and the Proprietors, for farther security, beg them to be particular in noticing the name and address of the Printer, E. Spragg, No. 27, Bow-street, Covent-Garden is affixed to the label and wrapper. All others are counterfeits. Price 1s each Cake.
Also, sold as above, WITHER’S SICILIAN BLOOM OF YOUTH AND BEAUTY, or Impalpable Vegetable Powder; which is recommended to the Ladies as the most exquisite production in the Universe for Beautifyng the Skin, being a natural fair flesh colour – lovely in appearance, yet quite imperceptible – innocent as milk, and so durable, that nothing but washing can remove it. Observe the signature of the Proprietor, J Weston – Price 2s 6d. per packet.
After reading these, I can’t help but imagine a Regency lady who, after trying one of these products, sat down at her desk to write to a friend or relative how it performed. Would she have recommended them or told them not to bother?
And you, what do you think of these ads?
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