Historian Kathy Peiss has emphasized the importance of women's identities and social roles in understanding the early development of America's beauty culture. The author draws upon her research and other studies of the young beauty business, but her focus is on Estee Lauder and the decades after World War II. Esty Lauder was a curious, active child. Like many other little girls, she enjoyed experimenting with her mother's skin creams and fragrances. But Esty's interest in beauty products and other symbols of femininity extended beyond trying them on herself. Later in life, she recalled how she had started giving what she called "treatments" to her family members and friends. Max Mentzer admonished his daughter to stop "fiddling with other people's faces". Estee's work in New York City beauty parlors proved a fertile training ground. She learned more and more about producing and selling effective, attractive cosmetics.