Make-up remover and the first Kleenex tissues
The story of Kleenex tissues goes all the way back to the early 1920s, when Kimberly-Clark was first beginning to expand their product range beyond simple paper manufacturing. The company developed a creped wadding which was used in its first consumer product, Kotex. However, marketing difficulties meant that Kotex did not take off as quickly as Kimberly-Clark had hoped, and a new use for the fluffy creped wadding needed to be found. Researchers ironed out the wadding and tweaked the ingredients to develop a softer, flatter sheet, and Kleenex tissues were born, effectively inventing the facial tissue category.
Kleenex tissues – the new “cold cream towel”
Kimberly-Clark originally saw their new tissues as a disposable cleansing tissue. However, they were not sure exactly what the tissues would be used to clean. The increasing use of cosmetics in America at this time meant that there was a growing need for make up remover products. Most women used a “cold cream towel” that they kept in their bathroom as a make up remover, but this was often dirty and didn’t look very nice. In 1924, Kimberly-Clark decided to name the tissues “Kleenex” and marketed them as a disposable cold cream or make up remover. Many women found that Kleenex tissues were particularly useful for the removal of eye make up, and that using a disposable cleansing tissue was a cleaner, healthier alternative to using a towel. They no longer had to wash cold cream towels and struggle to remove stubborn make up stains. Kleenex tissues quickly became a must-have item for the American home.
Early marketing for Kleenex tissues as a make up remover
The first ad marketing Kleenex tissues as a make up remover was featured in the Ladies Home Journal in 1925 and showed “the new secret of keeping pretty skin as used by famous movie stars”. All the major women’s magazines jumped on board, and Kleenex tissues were soon being advertised as a make up remover product in McCall’s, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Redbook. The ads often featured famous actresses, like Helen Hayes and Jean Harlow, who confessed that using Kleenex tissues as a make up remover was one of their beauty secrets, claiming that it contributed to their clear complexions.
Later marketing as a handkerchief substitute
Two years after the launch of Kleenex tissues, the company began to receive letters from consumers claiming they found Kleenex tissues especially useful as a substitute for a handkerchief. Kleenex ran a survey in an Illinois newspaper and discovered that 60% of the newspaper’s readers preferred to use their facial tissues as a disposable handkerchief. After this, the company ran marketing campaigns with ads simultaneously featuring Kleenex tissues as both a make up remover and a disposable handkerchief. Their sales doubled.
Other product developments
The first Kleenex pop-cartons with a perforated opening were introduced in 1928, and a year later, Kleenex began releasing coloured tissues. During the 1930s, the company was swamped by letters from consumers advocating use of its tissues for colds. The company responded with a new position – “the handkerchiefs you can throw away” and began to focus more on Kleenex tissues as a handkerchief substitute rather than a make up remover. Over the years, Kleenex also developed the MANSIZE tissue, Eyeglass Tissue, napkins, Kleenex Juniors, Purse Packs, the first scented tissue and the first 3-layer tissue, along with many memorable advertising campaigns, including the “True Confessions” campaign in 1941 and the “Kleenex says BLESS YOU” campaign of 1986.
Kleenex tissues today and an ever-expanding product range
Today, Kleenex tissues are used by both men and women, and kids and adults alike, to fill a range of needs, and the product range has been expanded further to include a variety of special care tissues, wet wipes, pocket packs and kids products. A selection of tissues and packs specifically for use in the car was also introduced and entered the market as the first of its kind. Kleenex tissues are still extraordinarily soft and gentle, and the most versatile tissues available.
Now with Silk Touch, Kleenex tissues are softer and silkier than ever before. This makes them smooth and soft on the face, and gentle enough to remove make up, just as they were originally intended.