83. szám // 2021. Tisztaság fél egészség?
Kovácsné Magyari Hajnalka
Szépségápolás és professzionális kozmetikai szolgáltatások az 1950-es és 1960-as években
From Laundry Soap to the “Electric Orange”: Cosmetology and the Services of Professional Cosmetics in the 1950s and 1960s
Following the shortages and forced puritanism of the 1950s in Hungary when cosmetology was branded as “bourgeois passtime” and treated as a political question, visiting beauty parlours and using professional beauty services was becoming increasingly acceptable in the 1960s. State-ran and cooperative beauty outlets were mushrooming and their services were accessible for everyone. Highquality pre-war cosmetic services were simplified and standardised, the treatments and products used were showing the signs of socialist shortage economy, for which beauticians compensated either with their own creative solutions or resorting to the black market. After 1956, cosmetic care was no longer a political issue: it came to be opposed by the more conservative layers of society, whose general hygiene was often as much behind the times as their mentality. In the early 1960s, presentation series organised on a national level enlisted trained beauticians to advise about cosmetics at home, but instead of dispensing beauty tips they concentrated more on reforming basic personal hygiene. Based on archival sources, council resolutions, contemporary press and photography, reference books and cosmetics publications, as well as interviews with women working in or using the services of the beauty industry at the time, the present study examines the journey from carbolic soap to trendy cosmetic treatments such as the popular ”electric orange” of the socialist era. How did a luxury sector such as the beauty industry operate in shortage economy? What opportunities and limitations did
beauty services have to deal with in this period?