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Business of Beauty: A Resource Guide

The beauty industry covers a wide range of products from cosmetics to skin care and everything in between. This guide covers this large and global business.


Theodor Horydczak, photographer. Product photographs. Perfume bottle and powder puff canister I. [ca. 1920-ca. 1950.] Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

While most people think of the beauty business as cosmetics, it has grown in scope and now includes covers a wide range of products.  Beyond just cosmetics there is perfume, skin cleaners, a host of other skin care products, cosmeceuticals, etc.

Beyond the products themselves, the beauty business also includes the way in which the products are sold. In particular, price points and the places cosmetics are packaged and sold. Price points have always varied, but packaging has become ever more important. Where products sell has gone from physical stores that were very location driven, to being sold over the Internet to people all over the world.

This guide is not the science of beauty, it is a business guide that includes information on the history and the current market (as of the date of this guide). There is a U.S. and European focus generally, but the modern industry is very global. This guide is not comprehensive or exhaustive, but rather meant as a starting point for research in this area.

About the Business Section

Part of the Science & Business Reading Room at the Library of Congress, the Business Section is the starting point for conducting research at the Library of Congress in the subject areas of business and economics. Here, reference specialists in specific subject areas of business assist patrons in formulating search strategies and gaining access to the information and materials contained in the Library's rich collections of business and economics materials.