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Lydia O’Leary, Covermarks® Cosmetics Inventor
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1960s advertisement for Covermark® cosmetics


1960s advertisement for Covermark® cosmetics



More Photography:


A young girl with a birthmark covering half her face
A young girl with a birthmark covering half her face


After applying Covermark® cosmetics, and the girl's birthmark is invisible
After applying Covermark® cosmetics, the girl’s birthmark is invisible


Advertisement fo Covermark® Leg Magic costmetics to hide varicose veins
Advertisement fo Covermark® Leg Magic costmetics to hide varicose veins


Store display of Covermark® cosmetics
Store display of Covermark® cosmetics


Covermark® cosmetics samples
Covermark® cosmetics samples







The Work of Lydia O’Leary

After graduating from college in 1921, O’Leary wanted to work for a New York City department store. But despite her qualifications, stores rejected her from front-counter jobs because of her blemish. She settled for a job painting small cards in a back room.

While painting an iris on a bridge scorecard one day, she painted one petal too dark. So she touched it up with a lighter shade that concealed the dark purple perfectly.

She wondered if she could camouflage her birthmark as easily. She grabbed the oil paint, covered her birthmark, and looked in the mirror. No more blemish!

O’Leary bought some ingredients at a drug store and began experimenting with water, zinc powder and glycerine. She eventually teamed up with a chemist to explore other possible mixtures.

After a few weeks, they tested their new formula. But every time O’Leary smiled, the lotion cracked. So they made the lotion more pliable, but it rubbed off easily. Months later, they finally found the right paste that stayed on and blended in well.

O’Leary applied for a patent for her new makeup, but was denied because it wasn’t clear how her invention was different from other makeup foundations already patented. O’Leary appealed the decision, arguing her foundation was more concealing than other cosmetics. After she used Covermark© on her birthmark in front of astonished federal judges, the court agreed and granted O’Leary’s invention a patent in 1932.

Lydia O'Leary's invention is still in production today by Covermark (www.covermark.com).

Next: Continue to next section,“Many Heads Are Better Than One”›





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