Treatments to improve one’s body for beauty or health flooded the 19th-century market, advertised with astonishing success to those concerned with their appearance and physical appeal; especially important at a time when bathing was a rare luxury. Cologne, toilet water and sweet-smelling scent bottles were a necessity for masking unwanted odors.
In the American cities, fashionable women adopted the new styles from Paris, which included the heavy use of make-up. By the Civil War, the earlier prohibitions against the use of cosmetics had ended, and style-conscious women applied a variety of make-up including the most popular facial creams and powders.
Included in the enormous cargo of beauty aids aboard the the SS Republic were Edward Phalon and Son’s popular fragrances along with a variety of hair dyes and tonics. Of the many Phalon bottles recovered from the wreck site, eight examples now empty, may have held one of the company's famous perfumes or perhaps a cosmetic product.