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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Makeup is a not XXI century issue.

Mankind has always sought to excel in different areas of science, economics, medicine. Always looking to improve their social, economic and political status. But there is one area that is not spoken of. How the personal image of women  played an important role in society so that they could excel from the rest.

The research and studies about makeup (cosmetics) show that they have been around since the ancient Egypt.  Apparently everything began with the discovery of scented oils. The realized (or believed) that this scented oils had healing characteristics. Not only they were used for medicinal purposes but they used them for their religious rituals, the same happened with herbs, the not only consume them but they use them to apply the paint . Women and men started to apply to their face and bodies some kind of clay in different colors. This proof was found in Egyptian tombs and we also have the old drawings that show how they decorated themselves with the colors and shapes.

The Greek,Asian, Romans and Arabic cultures followed the medicinal/beauty rituals. During the 18th-Century pale skin was fashionable, even men used it! This white makeup was called Venetian Ceruse, it was made famous by Queen Elizabeth I. The upper class painted their face, neck and chest until it was completely pale, like porcelain. The Venetian Ceruse powder was mixed with vinegar which created a milky white powder. While today lead is considered a very lethal toxin, back in the 18th century the dangers of lead were very often overlooked.

During Queen Victoria’s mourning period, she declared that painted faces were vulgar. That a minimalist look (clothing and makeup) had to be the new rule. The Industrial Revolution made the mass production of cosmetics possible although many people continued to make cosmetics at home. However in the 19th century some people disapproved of women wearing makeup and it was often sold under the counter. The film director D.W. Griffith invented false eyelashes in 1916. Women have dyed their nails for centuries but modern nail varnish was invented in 1917. The French manicure was invented in 1975. Meanwhile modern lip gloss was invented in 1930 and went on sale in 1932.

Between the World Wars, women turned to beauty products, encouraged by flawless models featured in luxury fashion magazines.  In the 1950s and 60s television brought advertisements for cosmetics and hair products to people’s homes. Today, the products supplied by the cosmetics industry , from soap and bath oil to toothpaste and shaving foam play an important role in our daily personal hygiene routine.

Mascara from brand leaders such as Maybelline was an imperative cosmetic to have in your handbag. Though it wasn’t until the 1960s that women applied it again to lower lashes again ( like in 1920’s ). Loads of newly patented cosmetic tools like eyelash curlers and eyebrow stencils helped young women achieve the look of whatever starlet took their fancy.

Nowadays, women use makeup as they please. There is obviously beauty standards made by the cosmetics corporation and trends according to the seasons but it became a form of creativity. Some women want to look as natural as they can, some use vintage makeup style and others try to create trends.The question now is: 

  • Why do women wear makeup? Is it because we want to look better or we want to be a different person? 
  • Our makeup has become a mask to hide more than spots and freckles?

What's your style?

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