Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tanning Lotion -- circa 1950

The Shafer Museum.
That's what my sister-in-law calls it.
My family saves stuff.  Need a vintage polyester body suit with hotpant legs and a wrap-around paisley skirt?  Got one.  Need a plastic bobby hat from England?  There's one in the costume closet, on the shelf right above the 1980s square dance dresses and next to the paintball mask.

So, want to see suntan lotion from about 1950?  Here you go:

(Remember to click on the pics to enlarge them.)

Yes, this was a best-selling brand.

(This ad was pulled off the internet; it's not mine.)

Notice how it's 47% alcohol?  Yeah, that'd be great for your skin.  Not.  But at least the "antiseptic" advertising was genuine!
Also, why would anyone in their right minds try to associate a good tan with Scotland?  No one tans naturally in Scotland.  They either go to Spain or to a tanning booth.
And a plaid label and sunburn-pink fluid?  Uh, those are sort of painful images to use with tanning lotion.
And with our modern knowledge, this stuff looks like melanoma waiting to happen.  Skin cancer in a bottle!  Get some now!
No wonder Hartley once wrote, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."


  1. Love that ad, but isn't her suit too revealing?
    47% alcohol? I wonder if doubled as a mixer for your cold drinks?

    1. Considering the long list of chemicals following the 47% alcohol bit, I'd say it'd be a pretty deadly cocktail. In fact, the alcohol would seem like a health drink compared to the rest.