Fast-forward around seven centuries, and Wu Zetian, Empress of the Tang dynasty, became revered for her good looks even as she grew older. Her secret was said to be the plant Chinese motherwort, which she reportedly mixed with water and applied to her face every day. Indeed, it seems that the empress was so sure of her serum that it was known as her “fairy powder.”
But, moving closer to the present day, while people relied on homemade remedies in ages past, it wasn’t until the 1800s that anti-aging became big business. You see, it was around this time that Western scientists began to associate old age with the decaying of the body. And so, many concluded, aging should be avoided at all costs.
At the same time, the advertising campaigns for anti-aging products started using scare tactics to sell beauty potions. In 1948, for example, one hormone cream – seemingly designed to restore youthfulness – asked potential customers, “How long since he said ‘I love you’?” The ad continued by promising that the use of its product would ignite romance well into consumers’ “advancing years.”