Makeup and Hair in the 1800's



Hey guys, I haven't been blogging as much since Summer came on! I'd much rather be outside swimming, walking, and getting sun because I'm completely famished of it from the winter. I literally could move to California because all this depressing cold 6 months of the year in the Midwest just isn't working for me!

Anyways, recently I've been getting really into 18th and 19th century reading. More specifically, authors from that time like Jane Austen, George MacDonald, and Charles Dickens.
Somehow I just cannot ever remember Charles Dickens name when I need to because I read his book David Copperfield and it just mixes me up so bad!

So, after reading all this about the 18 and 1900's, I just got really curious about their real life like hygiene, makeup, and hair. You know, like everyday things that you don't hear much about in books and movies because the story os  generally known to be more interesting.
But, not for me.
It started with a HUGE curiosity about what the heck women did on their period. I mean seriously, no tampons or ibuprofen? How did the live!?
Not to mention chocolate and ice cream.
It turns out that it wasn't too bad because people use fabric pads as a reusable and washable option even nowadays. Even after disposable feminine supplies were available during WWII girl like Anne Frank (yea she told me this in her diary lol) didn't have access to them and had to make do because of rations.
But still!
That was a huge rabbit trail but what I am trying to get to is makeup and hair during this time. It turns out, all the looks they desperately strove for were completely contradictory to modern day fashions. In fact, if you wore gobs of their version of foundation, you could actually be mistaken for a prostitute! However, this more applied to the average person not people of high rank; they basically got to do whatever they wanted. Anyways, if you are someone like me who has interest in the everyday beauty routine of ladies in the late eightieth century, listen up; you'll be shocked!

Tracing Veins, Lead Powder, and Mouse Hide Eyebrows

 The ideal woman featured in current day media would be unheard of 200 years ago. I mean, we want uniformly colored (preferably tan) perfect skin without a blemish, long and thick lashes, plump lips (sounds totally gross but people do buy lip plumpers) and long voluminous hair where NOT the goal in 1800.
They wanted to delicate, white skin, and would even trace their veins to make it even more so. My dad thought vein-tracing was a pretty extreme measure for beauty.
Crazier than that is how much powder the applied! We're talking about full-on forehead to cleavage; it was pretty intense. Next, they would bomb their faces with rouge to make their cheeks so incredibly pink you would notice it. (This, however, was only a come-and-go trend because it was more popular to look naturally blushed. A lot of girls were quite pale and lacked pinkness in their cheeks because they used lead and other poison on their faces. More about that soon...)
Study the "classic look:"


Why? Just why?
I mean, it looks so strange, right?
Keep in mind people had issues, just like now, but two centuries ago.

So basically the average persons toiletries consisted of this:

  • Powder to whiten their faces and increase the pastiness. This sometimes consisted of literally powdered lead but also they would use rice flour which wasn't nearly so poisonous)
  • Blush, that must be applied in large triangles on their cheeks (Ever heard of blending people? I mean seriously ya'll needed some beauty blenders!). This also might contain lead but since something that could leave a pink tint is easy to come by, people didn't always need to go to the extent of toxic makeup. Middle class women could always just use beets or flowers which might have seemed low at the time, but was actually saving their skin...
  • Mouse hide eyebrows for when they either plucked theirs too thin, or didn't like the shape. They would plaster over the ones they had and then delicately glue the fake ones on. Yes, I am completely for real about this it IS NOT FAKE! 
  • Grease and pomades for their hair to make it glossy and shiny. They needed this because they were obsessed with brushing and detangling every single night!
  • Hair brush so they could brush all the hair products in and get a really smooth lush look (I
    personally think they did that because to make greasy the style since they washed their hair every 8 days or more) It would have looked a lot like this picture on the side. Not too bad, right? I might use that on my hair.
  • Black felt shapes to cover blemishes.  This is really weird but kind of interesting at the same time. This got popular after some disease broke out in Europe and people got scars that they needed to cover up. Hey, necessity is the mother of invention!
Ok so that's it for a basic cosmetics in the 18th century. It's pretty crazy when you read about it now, but in a few hundred years people will be asking why about us too! 

For instance: Why the freakin' heck do they use foundations full of ingredients they can't even pronounce? or Did they seriously make streaks of brown and white powder to "define" their face? That is so weird! Another one: Ewww! Look at how they did their eyebrows! They just drew giant ones over their normal ones! Why??? Ok, so you're telling me what they put on their lips and swallowed, had poison in it? Dang!

Comment and let me know if you've heard of any other crazy thing people did back then!



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