The Fascinating History of Makeup

05/23/11 7:06 am | Comments (0) | Posted By: leeorlian

Makeup has become an integral part of our day to day routine, so much so that the act of applying foundation or eyeliner has become purely mechanical. As you spend time in front of the mirror, making yourself beautiful for the day, or getting ready for a special occasion, how many times have you wondered about what the history of makeup is?

Like everything else, makeup too has its very own history, right from the time women in ancient Egypt used soot as eye makeup to the current trends in cosmetics that are visible in the latest magazines; from the time women used poisonous substances like lead and arsenic and lead to the new age consciousness of using pure and natural products makeup has a vast and very fascinating history. Here are some articles that will take you through memory lanes and give you an insight into the history of make up.

1. Revisiting the 1920’s Makeup Trends and Looks: The look of the 1920’s was politely referred to as the “Comme le garcon” and in more general terms as the “flapper” look. After years of being told what to do, what to wear, how to behave, and how to conduct their lives, women decided to take matters into their own hands and break the traditional mould. What emerged from the ruins of smashed traditions was the flapper, an independent girl who wished to enjoy life and not feel sorry for it at all.

2. The 30’s Makeup – Women & Style during the Great Depression: The thirties were a very difficult period for everyone in the whole world and none could be said to be unaffected by the Great Depression. The fiercely liberal flapper was gone and women returned to discovering their softer and more feminine sides.

3. A Walk through 1940s Makeup: With the world at war with each other, most of the men were away fighting for their countries. For the first time women were asked to step out of their houses and seek work for themselves. During this difficult period, women turned to a more natural look, in place of the deathly pallor that was so popular previously. Stars like Vivian Leigh and Ingrid Berman brought glamour to the screen and women recreated those looks to kept up their spirits and put on a brave front.

4. 50’s Makeup, Fashion and Style: the 50s were probably the most joyous decade with the men coming back home from the war. The functional makeup of the previous decade was replaced by a more glamorous look that was deeply inspired by color films. Single women set out to find themselves a good match whereas those who were already married were much inspired by the idea of a glamorous wife, as portrayed by Lucille Ball.

5. 60’s Makeup – Heralding a Rebellion: Probably for the first time in the history of makeup, the trends of face makeup were being defined by the young generation of that time, and not characters on the big screen. Known as the era of rebellion, teenagers were voicing their opinions freely and strongly. In an attempt to be as different from the previous generations, they made a 360 degree from the style that had been prevalent in the last couple of decades.

6. 70’s Makeup – Going great with the Natural Look: Remember the Charlie’s Angels? Those 3 girls pretty much sum up the look that was largely prevalent during the 70s. The natural look that surrendered the use of eyeliner and mascara became very popular. Women used pearlised liquid eye shadows and foundation was worn alone for that effect.  The rough cut flicked hairstyle of Farrah Fawcett Major became a rage and women did not mind stepping out into the sun to get a tan.

7. 80’s Makeup Trends – Big, Bright and Bold: Who was it who said that this decade was one of the wildest and also the most brightly colored in the history of makeup? Probably someone who’d lived through this period and knew what he was talking about! The 1980’s makeup was bright, bold, big, and as bad as it could get. Colors were in and subtle shades were out. Women were out to experiment and they did so with all the colors in the rainbow, and more, if possible!

8. The History of Cosmetics – When Was Makeup First Invented? Cosmetics and Makeup have been an integral part of human history and this article takes you through the origin of makeup and some practices that were socially prevalent during certain periods of our history. It may not be able to answer the question “Who invented makeup?” but it will be able to tell you where it originated and how people’s perspective towards makeup changed over the years.

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