Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Women with Painted Faces

So this morning as I ran into the car so we wouldn't be late to church, I grabbed  my concealer and stuffed it into my purse (I've had an unfortunate outbreak of zits on my cheek). When my brother saw he made the comment (or strong opinion as it actually was) that I didn't need make-up because we were going to church. While I don't wear make-up on a daily basis because I'll forget to take it off at night, I do like to wear concealer to cover up nasty zits and pimples. While I was fuming at my brother's lack of reasoning (after all, I am a girl and he couldn't possibly understand girls and make-up), I got inspiration for today's post.

Before I ramble on about all the nutty make-up crazes and beauty fashions, we'll take a look at what women have done in the past to look "beautiful".

Make-up in the Ancient World 
While the first recorded importance of make-up in society was with the Egyptians, make-up was surely used long before then. Egyptians used to color their eyes a dark green, and their lashes were colored black with Kohl. The women would put waxed cones of scented oil on their heads, so that as the night progressed, the wax would melt and they would be covered in perfume.

In both cultures of the Far East, such as the Japanese and Chinese, and of the European aristocrats, white, pasty skin was much sought after. In countries like Japan and China, the white paste was made from rice while in European circles, white lead and chalk was used to get the same look. I remember when I was in Girl Scouts, my troops had to preform something from Japan and we painted our faces white. In Japan (also for many centuries) when a girl became of age, her teeth would be dyed black. I for one, did not like it because it was heavy and made my skin oily. In Europe, the power that consisted of lead oxide and other dangerous chemical often would lead to an unintentional dose of lead poisoning.

In places such as Ancient Rome and Classical Greek, orchre clay, red iron, and berries were used to paint and dye lips red. Urine was even used to fade freckles! Persians would (and many people still do this today) use henna dye to paint designs over their bodies. Henna is often used in marriage ceremonies in India on the eve of the bride's wedding.

Make-up in the Medieval and Renaissance Era
During these time periods, perfume created with alcohol bases were introduced from the east when Crusaders would come back from battle. Women went to new extremes by dying their faces with eye whites and bleeding to achieve the white and pale complexion. The Italians lead the way for perfumes by introducing more natural ingrediants like flowers and fruits. Often these perfumes were created with many large amounts of these plants and fruit only to produce a small amount of perfume.

During the 1500s during Queen Elizabeth I's reign, make-up was seen as something that would block the pores (which it does if you don't take it off) and men's make up was more common than women's. Yep, even men wore makeup. Spanish prostitutes would wear pink make-up instead of white like the high classes, and Italians would wear pink lipstick to show off their wealth.

Make-up in the 1700s-1800s.
During the 1800s the French were the first to develop make-up using zinc oxide instead of lead. During the Victorian Era, make-up was frowned up because it was seen as something that only prostitutes and actresses should wear. When make-up started to pick up popularity again in the 1800s, people went for more natural skin tones without putting on too much. It was during this time that the first beauty salons started to pop up across nations.

Make-up in the 1900s and Today
The cosmetics as we know it today and beauty fashions were started in the early 1900s after American women gained the right to vote and Hollywood began to play a part in culture. Since make-up was now avabile to women of all classes, actresses paved the way for tanned and natural looking skin. The 1960s introduced odd fashions such as white lips, and painted pictures such as butterflies and flowers on skin.

Today, with the help of the media, make-up focuses more on skin that looks younger andmake-up that conceals any signs of aging such as wrinkles. Fresh, pure, and anti-aging has come to describe today's make-up and women now have even more make-up options to choose from than ever before. There's powers, paints, and creams in every color thinkable, along with more drastic measures of shots and surgeries like face lifts.

As many women and people will point out, that in today's culture and society it is important to remember that true beauty comes from the inside and not on the outside, for looks will fail with age no matter what measures are taken to prevent it. So remember to be happy with who you are and show the world that you are truly beautiful even without make-up.

Resources used for this post:

Tune in this Wednesday for a look at some of the oddest and scariest fashions of society.

So, do you have any family recipes or secrets for healthy skin or something along the lines of make-up? Green tea is suppose to be good for your skin, chocolate is suppose to cause zits (Hm, maybe I should lessen down on the chocolate pretzels?), and jell-o is suppose to be good for nails.
What's the weirdest fashion or odd trend you've seen? Was it popular or just something local? Do you usually wear make-up and do you use a lot?


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