From the 1880s until the 1930s, Edwards’ Harlene was sold by a London company via advertisements that made extravagant claims such as:
- “Forces luxuriant hair, whiskers and moustachios to grow heavily within a few weeks without injury to the skin no matter what the age.”
- “The world-renowned remedy for baldness, from whatever cause arising.”
- “As a curer of weak or thin eyelashes, or restoring grey hair to its original colour, it never fails.”
Lillie Langtry, one of the first celebrities to endorse commercial products, appeared in ads for Harlene around the turn of the century.
Edwards’ Harlene was sold internationally, including in the United States. Harlene has also been used as a baby name in the United States. While it’s impossible to link one to the other, I’d bet at least some of the U.S. Harlenes were named with the product in mind.
What do you think of the name Harlene?
P.S. The name saw a spike in usage in 1937 and 1938. The influence may have been 1930s movie actress Harley Wood, who was often credited as Harlene.