Stearates have been used in skin preparations from at least 1873 (deNavarre, 1975, p. 283) but are best known for their use in vanishing creams. The first commercial version of these was Hazeline Snow, introduced by Burroughs Wellcome in 1892 (The Dublin Journal of Medical Science, 1892).

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Above: Hazeline Snow. An aluminium, screw-top lid was used lớn avoid corrosion from the oil-in-water emulsion (Smithsonian).

See also: Vanishing Creams

Burroughs Wellcome

Established in London in 1880 by two Americans, Silas Mainville Burroughs <1846-1895> & Henry Solomon Wellcome <1853-1936>, Burroughs Wellcome và Co. Ltd. Supplied the pharmaceutical & medical professions with a range of standardised preparations.

The main object of ‘Wellcome’ Brand Products is lớn establish uniformity of nội dung in drugs, & to eliminate variations & their first causes; in a word, STANDARDISATION. So we get back lớn sources, be they mineral, vegetable, animal, or their synthetic congeners; & to tests, whether chemical, optical or physiological. Moreover, the tests imposed by Burroughs Wellcome và Co. Are subject to continual revision as new and improved standards of stringency are devised. ‘Wellcome’ Brand Products are, therefore, unsurpassed, và pre-eminently trustworthy.

(Burroughs Wellcome publicity material, 1912)

Silas Burroughs died from influenza in 1895 and the business then went lớn Henry Wellcome. Henry was interested in primary research và established a Physiological Laboratory in 1894 to develop vaccines and sera, a Chemical Research Laboratory in 1896 lớn produce new drugs, and a Tropical Research Laboratory in 1902. The products developed & manufactured by the firm were distributed throughout the British Empire và beyond.

Along with pharmaceutical products, Burroughs Wellcome produced a range of toiletries including cold creams, soaps và pomades made with lanolin. The company also developed a number of formulations containing witch hazel, distilled from the green leaves and twigs of the plant Hamamelis virginiana. Witch hazel is a colourless liquid, with a characteristic odour, containing about 17% of alcohol added as a preservative (Poucher, 1930, p. 173). Known in America as Winterbloom, it was used in patent medicines as an astringent (constricts tissue), a haemostatic agent or styptic (helps stop bleeding), and/or as an anodyne (pain reliever). However, later writers expressed doubts about many of these perceived properties.

Distilled extract of witch hazel (from Hamamelis virginiana), Hamamelis water, has been a popular pseudo drug with many properties attributed to it by various beauty editors and beauty experts. It is claimed to lớn be a toning lotion in undiluted form; an astringent, coolant, anti-inflammatory, healing agent, antipruritic & endermic.Few if any of these properties have been substantiated.

(deNavarre, 1975, p 302)

See also: Skin Tonics, Astringents and Toners


Burroughs Wellcome marketed its witch hazel extract as Hazeline và recommended it for a wide range of ailments.

Prescribed in cases of haemorrhage from the nose, lungs, womb, rectum, &c. Is a valuable agent in the treatment of bruises, sprains, inflammation, peritonitis, piles, fistula, anal fissure, ulcers, varicose veins, eczematous surfaces, tonsillitis pharyngitis, nasal và post-nasal catarrh, stomatitis, leucorrhoea, nasal polypi, &c.

(Burroughs Wellcome advertisement, 1891)

Burroughs Wellcome also added Hazeline lớn a number of other products including skin creams, soap, a dentifrice & suppositories. The skin creams came in two forms, Hazeline Cream, a cold cream containing lanolin – first produced around 1890 – & Hazeline Snow, a non-greasy stearate cream. Both creams were viewed by Burroughs Wellcome as medicinal & were included in first-aid cabinets that the company produced for sale at trang chủ and abroad.


Above: 1925 Hazeline Cream (jars & tubes) and Hazeline Snow (jars).

Hazeline Cream: “An astringent và sedative emollient, presenting the valuable astringent properties of ‘Hazeline’ in combination with an emollient base of exceptional purity. This sản phẩm is of very marked superiority as a nhà vệ sinh preparation. It allays irritation, relieves chafing, removes roughness of the skin, and is a valuable application in eczema, acne rosacea, & other skin affections. It is employed largely in the treatment of haemorrhoids; for this purpose special vulcanite nozzle is obtainable, which can be screwed on the collapsible tube in which this sản phẩm is supplied.”Hazeline Snow: “A preparation containing a high percentage of ‘Hazeline,’ adapted for application to lớn the skin, by which it rapidly absorbed, leaving no trace of greasiness. It renders the skin soft và smooth, and removes redness và roughness.”


Hazeline snow was a soft, stearate cream with 50% of the formulation being Hazeline. It was probably made using sodium and/or ammonium bicarbonate as the alkali as these release carbon dioxide during the manufacturing process resulting in a cream with a foamy/snowy consistency. Other companies also used this method of manufacture và also sold their creams as ‘snows’ or ‘foams’.

The alcohol content of the witch hazel và the carbon dioxide bubbles produced by the carbonates were both liable khổng lồ evaporate, resulting in a loss of volume, so a good screw-top jar was essential. This was made from aluminium as it did not rust. Another way to reduce evaporation was khổng lồ put the cream in a tube.

a soft vanishing cream formula is used but replacing half or more of the water with witch hazel. This is added at room temperature after saponification has taken place; no further perfume is necessary, but often a compatible simple floral fragrance such as rose is also used. If any significant amount of witch hazel is used, it must be remembered that the alcohol content will slowly evaporate resulting in a contraction in volume. As a result witch hazen creams are usually put up in collapsible tubes. Although these creams are not popular in North America, they vày enjoy considerable favor elsewhere.

(deNavarre, 1975, pp. 302-303)

Rust does not appear lớn have been the primary motivation for Burroughs Wellcome adding Hazeline Snow in tubes in 1930. It seems likely that Hazeline Cream was packaged a tube so that it could be connected to lớn a device used to treat haemorrhoids. When the company introduced Hazeline Snow in tubes this was probably khổng lồ enable women khổng lồ carry it in their handbag or purse.

Although it was advertised as protecting the skin against winter winds, the hàng hóa was more popular in warmer climates where it was described as being “deliciously cooling và refreshing khổng lồ hot & inflamed skins as a gentle shower or rain is khổng lồ sun scorched flowers”. It was also recommended for ‘prickly heat’, sunburn & inflammation caused by wind, dust và perspiration.


Above: 1920s South American window display for Hazeline Snow. Chú ý the active sporting images.

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On the links, in the car, at the tennis court, “Hazeline Snow” protects from the winter’s wind and the summer’s sun. At home, during an afternoon at bridge “Hazeline Snow” saves the skin from overheating và subsequent discomfort.

(Hazeline Snow brochure, 1920s)

By the 1920s, Hazeline Snow và Hazeline Cream were both being sale as cosmetics rather than medicinals, và the phrase ‘Vanishing Cream’ was included on the label for Hazeline Snow – a term they probably appropriated from the Pond’s Extract Company.

The Pond’s Extract Company

The Pond’s Extract Company had been making Pond’s Extract, containing witch hazel, since 1846. In the twentieth century, Pond’s geared itself towards cosmetics và toiletries, introducing a stearate cream và a cold cream in 1904. Unlike Burroughs Wellcome, they sold their stearate cream as a cosmetic from day one, calling it a vanishing cream that “keeps your skin soft & moist, pliable and elastic”.

See also: Pond’s Extract Company

Burroughs Wellcome resisted calling Hazeline Snow a vanishing cream describing it as ‘better than ordinary, so-called “vanishing creams”.’ However, in the 1920s, it was adding phrases such as ‘admirable vanishing properties’ and ‘vanishes without a trace’ into its advertising copy. The company also combined Hazeline Snow và Hazeline Cream together as a day & night treatment regime in the same way that Pond’s marketed their Vanishing & Cold Creams.

See also: Day and Night Creams


In 1922, Burroughs Wellcome introduced a modified size of Hazeline Snow called Ozozo with added pigments lớn make it more lượt thích a rouge. This may have been a Western version of Hazeline Rose Frost that Burroughs Wellcome developed for the Chinese market before the First World War.

Ozozo: “A delightful toilet preparation of distinction and refinement. Possesses the virtues of ‘Hazeline Snow,’ and at the same time gives an exquisite natural colour to lớn the cheeks. A single trial will convince you of its worth.”

The two products were sometimes advertised together with the suggestion that if Ozozo was combined with Hazeline Snow ‘any colour could be obtained’.

Later developments

Burroughs Wellcome continued khổng lồ produce Hazeline Snow after the Second World War.


Above: 1949 Display boxes for Hazeline Snow, Hazeline Cream and Toilet Lanolin.


Above: 1931 Trade advertisement for Chinese trademark violation.

Burroughs Wellcome continued khổng lồ make Hazeline Snow in Britain through to 1970 for export lớn markets in the Middle và Far East where their was still some demand.


Above: 1970 The last jar of a batch of 6,000 jars of Hazeline Snow being filled at Wellcome, Dartford for export.

After Burroughs Wellcome stopped manufacturing Hazeline Snow in 1970, it continued to lớn be made under licence by Unilever subsidiaries in the Far East until at least năm trước when they ceased production as well. Unilever đài loan trung quốc introduced three Hazeline Snow products in 2018 but none of these are using the original formulation. This means it is no longer available anywhere.

First Posted: 30th August 2010Last Update: 24th November 2021


Burroughs Wellcome và Company. The “Hazeline” brand of the active principles distilled from the bark of witch hazel, hamamelis virginiana . London: Burroughs Wellcome & Co.

The chemist and druggist. (1859-) London: Morgan Brothers.

deNavarre, M. G. (1975). The chemistry & manufacture of cosmetics. (2nd. Ed., Vol. III). Orlando: Continental Press.

New preparations and scientific inventions. (1892).The Dublin Journal of Medical Science, June 1, 552.

Poucher, W. A. (1932). Perfumes, cosmetics và soaps (4th ed., Vols. 1-2). London: Chapman và Hall.