We might think we have come a long way since the extreme days of applying leeches and lead to the skin to achieve a beautiful look, but if you think about modern methods of injecting skin with filler, silicone implants and the dreaded pain of a bikini wax, it becomes clear some people will do anything to stay young and beautiful! Here are some of beauty’s strangest history heydays, as well as some harmless tips to get the look:
The Ancient Egyptians
Everyone knows about the seductive Cleopatra and her bathing in asses’ milk. Today, it might be a little trickier to fill a bath with the stuff, but there are plenty of other Egyptian beauty tips to embrace. Egyptians are credited with creating the first perfume and using almond oil as a facial cleanser to bring a dewy glow to the cheeks. They also wore thick, black kohl on their eyes to create an almond shape and ward off evil spirits.
Get the look While it’s unlikely your eyeliner will protect you from any form of harm, you can still use thick, creamy kohl to create the sort of beguiling definition which would stop Mark Anthony in his tracks.
The Middle Ages
The daily grind of serfdom made it hard for the peasant women of the middle ages to live up to the beauty aspirations of the day, so pampering was strictly for the privileged. The beauty standards included having pale skin, a long neck and white teeth. Since such traits are almost categorically genetic, attempts to look good were on the extreme side, like using leeches and blood-letting for a paler look. However, they did use cucumber juice on their skin, as we do today to reduce puffiness under our eyes.
Get the look For an additional medieval-style beauty blast, drinking cucumber juice will do wonders for your skin, hair and nails.
Again, the Renaissance saw a trend for pale skin, long, flowing locks and a high forehead. The dangerous way to achieve an alabaster face was to plaster it with poisonous lead, which would eventually to all sorts of ugly health complications. They would also pluck their eyebrows heavily – think Mona Lisa – and paint blue lines on their complexion to fake a naturally cool pallor. It would seem today we tend to do the opposite these days; smear ourselves in fake tan, or head for the sunbeds to achieve a bronzed look.
Get the look Be inspired by the Renaissance ladies, if you're gifted the pale skin they so craved, embrace its natural beauty and ditch the bake!
The Roaring Twenties
Throughout the Victorian Era, any visible attempts to enhance your features or wear cosmetics were seen as slatternly, and strictly a no-no. Then, as silent cinema took over, women began to aspire to look like the stars they saw on the silver screen, like Louise Brooks and Clara Bow. Throughout the 1920s hair was cropped short. High, arched eyebrows were the norm, and a ruby, bow-shaped pout was considered attractive.
Get the look Today, we still love a Gatsby-inspired look, so look out the tongs and the hairspray for a little vintage glamour, and define that cupid’s bow with a well-sharpened lip liner!
Do you have any historically-inspired beauty looks to share? Add your tips in the comments below.