Softer, smoother, lovelier skin – that Schoolgirl Complexion Look –was protected by simply using Palmolive Soap

That Schoolgirl complexion advertisement for Palmolive soap

The oft-quoted slogan is featured prominently in this full page advertisement in Good Housekeeping, February 1953. At that time the claim had survived for several decades but it appears to have fallen out of use within the next ten years.

It was in 1898 that the B.J. Johnson Company of Milwaukee combined palm oil, olive oil and cocoa butter to produce the first shipment of the distinctive green bar of soap that was Palmolive. The product was popular almost immediately, perhaps because the first advertising campaign promoted Palmolive as an exotic cleanser that would have been favoured in the age of the Pharoahs.

By the early 1900s, Palmolive was the world’s best-selling soap and a full line of Palmolive cosmetics soon followed. In the Roaring Twenties, Palmolive introduced the new tagline, “Keep that Schoolgirl Complexion” and added the Palmolive Beauty Plan “is Far Better For Your Skin Than ‘Just Average Care’ With Any Leading Toilet Soap! ”


The green colour had nothing to do with the Schoolgirl Complexion. It was explained in this advertisement

Palmolive advertisement explaining the color of the soap

Odd that the advertisement is an announcement that “Nature’s Chlorophyll is in every cake of Palmolive Soap” and that “Nature’s Chlorophyll is what makes Palmolive Green”

Wasn’t Palmolive soap always green?


There is a disclaimer in small print that “no therapeutic claim is made for the chlorophyll but, at the bottom of the page there’s the ubiquitous, unproven endorsement from unnamed doctors to “prove Palmolive’s Beauty Plan brings most women lovelier complexions in 14 days or less.”

This time readers are told that 36 leading skin specialists in 1285 tests proved beyond a doubt that the Palmolive Beauty Plan can bring a softer, smoother younger looking skin! To most women in 14 days! Or less! Why 36 skin specialists—why not dermatologists? And 1285 tests? What kind of tests? Where and when were the tests conducted?

There’s no disclaimer!

According to the advertisement “The very first time you try the Palmolive Beauty Plan you’ll actually see Palmolive begin to bring out beauty while it cleans your skin. Palmolive is so mild…so pure…its rich, fragrant lather gives you everything you need for gentle beauty care.”

 What was the 14 day Beauty Plan?

Massage Palmolive Soap’s extra-mild, pure lather onto your skin for 60 seconds.
Rinse with warm water, splash with cold, and pat dry. Do this three times a day.

That was it. You need no other beauty aid. Just massage your face as you wash; rinse, pat dry. And the result: “It feels just right…is just right for your skin.” And you will keep that Schoolgirl complexion!

Palmolive…The “Chloropyll Green ” Soap
With The Pure White Lather.”

In the 1953 full-colour advertisement at the top of the post, the man behind the pretty woman with the “Schoolgirl Complexion Look!” has been identified as the 7 ft 2 inch tall American actor Richard Kiel, best known for his role as Jaws in the James Bond movies.

The advertising/announcement was issued in name The Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company.

Colgate’s founder was soap and candle maker William Colgate who established a starch, soap, and candle factory in New York City in 1806.

Palmolive was founded by B.J. Johnson of Milwaukee in 1898.

Peet Brothers Peet Brothers was a Kansas based soap manufacturer that was founded in 1872. Their products included Crystal White Laundry Soap, Crystal White Soap Flakes, Creme Oil Toilet Soap, Imperial Peroxide Toilet Soap, Sea Foam Naphtha Washing Powder, Borax Washing Compound, and many others. The company’s main plant was located in Kansas City.

The Peet company merged with Palmolive in 1927 to become Palmolive-Peet which acquired the Colgate Company in 1928, creating the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company.

In 1953, Peet was dropped from the name. (Note: A company named Peet Bros of Wisconsin sell soaps today proudly made with “ABSOLUTELY No Palm”)