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Vaseline, 1870

Sometimes beauty innovations come from the most unlikely places. Chemist Robert Chesebrough discovered petroleum jelly while visiting an oil rig back in the mid-1800s. The drillers were using the cream (then called "rod wax") to heal cuts and sores. In Chesebrough's Brooklyn lab, it became Vaseline. Over the decades, it has morphed from a medicinal salve to a drugstore regular.

The iconic product: Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly ($4)