DuBarry Talcum Powder

Whilst carrying out an audit of the social history store at Burymead, in a box labelled ‘Cosmetics and Hygiene’, we came across this beautiful box in almost perfect condition containing a bottle, which on further inspection was still full of the original talcum powder. The talcum powder itself still had its original rose fragrance; the box also contained some advertisements from the cosmetic company DuBarry and claims to give ‘satin smoothness of the skin’.


DuBarry was  the first American made cosmetic line and was created by Richard Hudnut. By 1903 he had taken over his fathers drug store (in New York) and transformed it into a classy showroom for his cosmetics and fragrances, inspired by exotic fragrances from Europe. It was an instant hit and many other drug stores across New York started selling DuBarry cosmetics. At its peak DuBarry was more successful than Revlon today.

In 1940 Hudnut set up the ‘DuBarry Success Course’ which taught women how to be successful and beautiful no matter what their social status was, and was attended (either in lectures or by correspondence) by thousands of women.

DuBarry was named after the Comtesse Jeanne DuBarry, who was thought to portray ‘the essence of feminity’ and is pictured on the box of talcum powder.