Beauty is something I believe is in the eye of the beholder. It can come in many different forms and fashions and may not only be a physical trait. Many times some of the best beauty may be found inside someone. Either by their attitude, heart felt feelings, compassion, caring, consideration for others or even the love for ones self. As long as these traits are not taken to an extreme, then they can be very good aspects to a person’s personality.
More times than not beauty is perceived as something on the exterior only. Such as a woman that had put on all her makeup, put on her best dress, some sweet smelling perfume and fixed up her hair. Or a man that is clean shaven, nice hair cut, well dressed and some nice after shave on. Of course all these things can portray a form of outer beauty, but is this how you will judge someone? It’s a sad story, but this is usually the case. When we see a homeless person on the streets that is dirty, hungry and no place to stay, we see that as a sign of ugliness, or they must be a drunk. But the fact is, how can we judge like that? Just because someone is less fortunate than ourselves doesn’t make them a bad person, or an ugly person.
There have been just as many advances to cosmetics, colognes and perfumes as there has been to medicine, or at least it seems like it. There’s always a new skin cream, or some fancy mascara showing on a TV commercial. But are these the things that really make us beautiful, I think not. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with fixing yourself up nice. I like to look nice just as much as the next guy, but we can’t mistake this for anything other than what it is. But just for the sake of conversation, let’s take a look at how these types of things have trended over the years.
Extreme Measures to Look Beautiful
In the 1700s often times women would shave off their eyebrows and glue mouse fur in it’s place, to give them nice full eyebrows. During the 19th century, women in Europe used to pluck the hairs from their heads, eyebrows and lashes, then whiten their face and bosom with ceruse. Ceruse is a vinegar-powdered egg mixture that would actually eat at your skin, and could potentially become fatal. But they did all this out of a desire to become “beautiful”. Some women during this time would even go so far as to stick leeches to themselves or cut themselves to drain blood. They felt this would cause them to become pale and give them a white look to their skin.
Now here’s a scary little fact for ya. In 1770, the English Parliament banned women from wearing lipstick. They said that wearing lipstick was a way to seduce men. Stating “Women found guilty of seducing men into matrimony by cosmetic means should be tried for witchcraft.” Another fact along these lines comes from New York in 1924. The New York Board of Health actually tried to ban lipstick under the presumption that it could poison unsuspecting men, and possibly women as well. Ironically by the 1940’s lipstick being worn by women was considered a patriotic act. They considered it to be a woman’s duty to “put on her face”.
Queen Victoria, known as queen of the prudes, had declared makeup as offensive. She said makeup was only worn by actors and prostitutes. Then for the next 100 years, pale skin and natural complexions became the “In” fashion. Victorian women would even eat arsenic to obtain an ashen skin tone. Now this is way too extreme in my eyes, but I guess these are reasons why there has been so many advances in cosmetics. If women continued with these tactics, they would wind up dead eventually. A nice brown tan wasn’t even considered fashionable until designer Coco Chanel was seen sporting a nice one after her cruise on the Duke of Westminster’s yacht in 1923.
Of course a good makeup job isn’t complete without a nice nail job. Nail salons in the United States and Asian Countries are a big deal. Most women will get their nails done on a weekly basis, and a lot of times will include their toes as well. Nail polish was actually worn over five thousand years ago in China. It was used to distinguish social classes. The women of royalty would wear bright red and black for instance. By 1907 nail polish had reached the United States and many women didn’t know quite how to use it. So there were many magazine articles with tutorials on the proper way to apply it.
5 Interesting Facts about Makeup
- The first “kiss proof” lipstick hit the stores in 1950.
- Many major brands of lipstick contained lead up until 2007.
- 53% of women will not leave home without putting on makeup.
- 28% of women that apply mascara will do it with their mouth open.
- 75% of women will admit they put on makeup while driving.
History of Perfumes and Colognes
Now we get to the perfume and colognes. Now these are a necessity to anyone’s “get spiffy kit”. By the 19th century the advances in chemistry allowed the creation of synthetic ingredients. This made producing fine smelling perfumes and colognes much cheaper, considering how expensive the natural ingredients were. These technological advances allowed the commoner to afford their favorite scents. But up until the 20th century, there were only a few brands available. Going into the 20th century a huge wave of production lines began to sprout everywhere. As we all know these fragrances are widely available now in thousands of brands, and everyone has their favorite. In fact the percentage of women who don’t wear perfume is a low 17%.
So there’s a little info on the history of cosmetics, perfumes and colognes and all the extreme measures taken to look beautiful. I actually think that a small amount of makeup on a woman looks great as long as some of her natural face is still there. It can be way over done, but I really believe the true beauty lies within. Anyway, I would be really interested to hear what you think makes someone beautiful. There is no wrong answer, so feel free to comment below.