Friday, August 25, 2017

Cosmetics of the Past

Bette Davis as Elizabeth I
From MiceTimes of Asia:
In Ancient Greece, pale face was considered beautiful and women, to achieve this effect, have covered their faces in white lead. Ceruse ate into the skin, but women have used them again and again to hide the resulting stains. White lead can also cause infertility and insanity. The ancient Romans eventually took over this cosmetic custom, but added to the composition of white red lead, to get the effect of pink glitter.

 Makeup of white lead gained new popularity in the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth I was famous for his “Mask of youth” is unusually white complexion. Some women even applied egg white on the skin, to give your skin the desired paleness. White skin was a symbol of the upper class because people from the lower strata of society work under the open sky, the complexion was more swarthy. (Read more.)
Geri Walton reports on ideals of female beauty in the 17 and 1800's. To quote:
Beauty was important to women, but, perhaps, it was even more important to men, because it was a man who noted in the late 1700s that a woman’s “first merit is that of beauty.” People seemed to have particular ideas of what beauty entailed and wrote about it. André Félibien, a French chronicler of the arts and the official court historian to Louis XIV of France in the 1600s, provided the following classical description of beauty often using Venus as the ideal image:
  • The Head should be well rounded; and look rather inclining to small than large.
  • The Forehead white, smooth, and open (not with the Hair growing down too deep upon it;) neither flat nor prominent, but like the Head well rounded; and rather small in Proportion than large.
  • The Hair either bright, black or brown; not thin, but full and waving, and if it falls in moderate Curls the better.
  • The Eyes, black, chestnut, or blue; clear, bright, and lively, and rather large in Proportion than small.
  • The Eyebrows, well divided, rather full than thin; semicircular, and broader in the Middle than at the Ends.
  • The Cheeks should not be wide; should have a Degree of Plumpness, with the Red and White finely blended together; and should look firm and soft.
  • The Ear should be rather small than large; well folded,…with an agreeable Tinge of Red.
  • The Nose should be placed so as to divide the Face into two equal Parts; should be of a moderate Size, strait, and well-squared; though sometimes a little Rising in the Nose,…may give a very graceful look to it.
  • The Mouth should be small; and the Lips not of equal Thickness: They should be well-turned, small rather than gross; soft, even to the Eye; and with a living Red in them. A truly pretty Mouth is like a Rose-bud that is beginning to blow.
  • The Teeth should be middle-sized, white, well-ranged, and even.
  • The Chin, of a moderate Size; white soft, and agreeably rounded.
  • The Neck should be white, strait, and of a soft, easy, and flexible Make, rather long than short; less above, and encreasing [sic] gently toward the Shoulders: The Whiteness and Delicacy of its Skin should be continued, or rather go on improving, to the Bosom.
  • The Skin in general should be white, properly tingled with Red; with an apparent Softness, and a Look of thriving Health in it.
  • The Shoulders should be white, gently spread, and with a much softer Appearance of Strength, than in those of Men.
  • The Arm should be white, round, firm, and soft; and more particularly so from the Elbow to the Hands.
  • The Hand should unite insensibly with the Arm;…They should be long and delicate, and even the Joints and nervous Parts of them should be without either any hardness or dryness.
  • The Fingers should be fine, long, round and soft; small, and lessening towards the Tips of them: And the Nails long, rounded at the Ends, and pellucid.
  • The Bosom should be white and charming; and the Breasts equal in Roundness, Whiteness, and Firmness; neither too much elevated, nor too much depressed; rising gently, and very distinctly separated.
  • The Sides should be long, and the Hips wider than the Shoulders…and go down rounding, and lessening gradually to the Knee.
  • The Knee should be even, and well-rounded: the Legs strait, but varied by a proper Rounding of the more fleshy Part of them; and the Feet finely turned, white, and little.
(Read more.)
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1 comment:

Helen Davis said...

Elizabeth I probably would have lived longer without her make up and her deathbed experience lines,up to heavy metal poisoning.

Cleopatra VII's beauty routine was much safer and I say this because I have adopted it :)