Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tho-Radia Beauty Products

In 1933, a pharmacist, Alexis Moussali and a Parisian doctor, Alfred Curie, launched a French range of radioactive beauty products, first from the Rue des Capucines and then from 146 Avenue Victor Hugo. Alexis Moussali was probably the brains behind the commercial operation, with Alfred Curie possibly brought along either because of his surname – (he was not in fact related to Marie or Pierre Curie) and/or the fact that he was a doctor.

The product range, which included cleansing milk, skin cream, powder, rouge, lipstick and toothpaste, was called Tho-Radia as it contained thorium chloride and radium bromide, both of which are radioactive. The products were relatively expensive for the time, partly due to the cost of the radioactive materials. As with Radior, one hopes that the expense of the 'active ingredients' may have resulted in reduced amounts of thorium and radium being used.

The Tho-Radia cream was sold for 15 francs per 155 gram pot; soap, 3 francs per 100 gram bar; powder, 12 francs per 50 gram box; toothpaste, 6 francs per tube. Despite the relatively high price, it sold throughout France from 1933 through to the early 1960s. When tested in the 1960s the products were still found to be radioactive. Fortunately, I can find no indication that Tho-Radia products found a distributor in the English-speaking world.

Like other products of the time, Tho-Radia was advertised as being a scientific method of beauty (Méthod Scientific de Beauté). The 'benefits' of radium were highly publicised in the press and therefore well known by the general public in the 1930s. Product advertising shows the face lit from below which makes it look like it is 'glowing'. What could be more healthy than a glowing complexion?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a new french book ; "Les metamorphoses de Tho-Radia : Paris-Vichy" (2013).