Historical Ads

Madame Rowley’s Toilet Mask

I absolutely love this ad. Madame Rowley’s Toilet Mask dates back to approximately 1887. Helen Rowley from Van Wert, Ohio patented this bizarre piece of beauty history in 1875. She called it a “Mask for Medical Purposes” and claimed that it would “excite perspiration with a view to soften and clarify the skin.”

It is supposed to be worn during the hours of sleep and may be used to bleach the skin “for freckles or fugitive discolorations.” I find it particularly funny this ad mentions that the mask is “Recommended by Eminent Physicians and Scientific Men.”

We do still wear beauty masks today, but they’re not generally made out of “India rubber” and I don’t think the same method is used to bleach your skin, although maybe I’m wrong. Does anyone find this as bizarre as I do?



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