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Makeup Through the Ages

Makeup can do a terrific job of accenting the face. Makeup is open to everyone. Try it out for costumes, everyday looks, or special occasions. Coco Chanel once said, “The best color in the world is the one that looks good on you.” Makeup is bringing your inner confidence out with a bold red lip, winged eyeliner, or some subtle blush. Makeup trends have gone through so many changes since it was first recorded in 164 B.C. and has been a significant part of many cultures.

The Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and her cohort thought skincare and makeup were essential, adding creams and skincare to protect them from the harsh sun. Women would often apply blue or green eyeshadow to their eyelids from copper or lead mixtures. This was to show their social status. Cleopatra was known to wear bright lipstick made from beetles. Portable makeup kits were even made for going out to parties.

Around 500 B.C., other parts of the world started incorporating makeup into their lives. The use of henna emerged in India. Chalk or lead face powder was used in Greece to create a pale appearance, symbolizing status and wealth. This idea became popular during the European Middle Ages, as both women and men sought to be paler. In efforts to lighten their skin, people would dye their hair blonde using minerals. This signaled wealth because their skin proved that they did not work in the sunny fields, like the lower class. Blush also became popular around this time. Creating a look as pale as a ghost, then flushed with color, was all the rage.

During Queen Elizabeth’s reign, her beauty was revered. In the sixteenth century, people began admiring the Queen's red hair and wanted to look like her. They would often go to poisonous lengths, mixing white lead and vinegar to look paler. Nowadays, full eyebrows are popular, but back then women would pluck or shave their eyebrows off to emulate Elizabeth’s forehead. Even though during this time makeup seemed mandatory, the rising Victorian era frowned upon the use of makeup. Those who wore makeup were thought to have low moral character and a lack of confidence. People started to turn more towards skincare. Face masks were made from oatmeal, honey, and egg yolk to achieve a more natural glow. Since most people did not wear makeup to get that rosy look, women would pinch their cheek instead. This went on until the 20th century.

The roaring ‘20s were also roaring with makeup. Makeup was now a hyper form of femininity, with dark eyebrows and heavy eye makeup. The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio representations to fun nature of makeup looks during the Flapper age. During the 1940s, a more subtle makeup look took the industry by storm. A bold red lip made you the talk of the town. During the 1960s the emphasis was on the eyes, as the windows to the soul. Dark eyeliner along the top and bottom lash lines with white eyeshadow on the eyelid and made everything really pop! Fake lashes were also worn sometimes on both the top and bottom lashes to provide a dramatic look.

Now we bring ourselves to the 2000s; leaving past trends behind us. People now wanted to look sun-kissed. It was no longer about who had the palest skin or the brightest lip. Lip gloss, metallic colors, and icy eyeshadow were all the rage. In the early Aughts, eyebrows were plucked, plucked, and then plucked even more. Now in the 2020 era, thick and full eyebrows frame the face. Today, makeup is seen as a form of expression. No matter who you are, what your background is, and what you identify as, we invite you to experiment. Makeup has changed the world and the way we see ourselves. “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself,” said Coco Chanel. Makeup is not meant to transform who we are, but to allow us to be who we want to be and express ourselves in the best way possible.


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