A History of Makeup
« Beauty is mute eloquence » - François DES RUES
Ancient Egyptian Makeup
Four thousand years ago, Egyptian makeup offered medicinal properties.
Some colors were strongly symbolic in Ancient EGYPT.
Green for Nature; black for life, rebirth and renewal, both being primary colors.
Beliefs were perpetuated:
Lipstick prohibited 'evil' to enter the body and Kohl painted on eyes protected from the 'evil eye'.
Makeup also sublimated Egyptian men and women and their Egyptian living gods like Ramses the Pharaoh, and Cleopatra.
These beauty rituals still inspire us today...
In GREECE and in the Roman Empire, makeup products were peddled with silk and spices in caravans.
In ancient GREECE, only courtesans were allowed to use makeup whereas patricians did in the Roman Empire.
In the 1st century, "fashion" imposed pale skin, lightened with white lead and chalk. The paleness of the skin, a symbol of wealth, lives on, especially in Asian civilizations. Women also emphasized their look with a stroke of kohl, highlighting their complexion and lips with red.
During the Renaissance, pale complexion was the ideal of beauty; cochineal red was applied on cheeks, lips and nails. The face was powdered with white lead and red ocher.
In the 17th century, makeup concerned all social classes.
A century later, nobles used foundations, hair dyes and perfumes.
It is a century rich with creations, universes and general movement of changes towards more personalized makeup.
Makeup of the 1910s adopted clear complexion, smoked black eyes and a marked, red mouth.
Silent cinema, black and white television, war privations and the lack of makeup cosmetics encouraged the 1920s makeup artists to create expressive faces.
Due to failing color, shadows and lights were accentuated - face and expression modeling was born with the use of the chiaroscuro now called "contouring" and "smokey eyes".
"A happy life thanks to makeup" is the slogan that defines the 20s.
Makeup remained fairly pale, but women used eyeshadows playfully.
Their look was darkened by a gradient from black to white, which gave birth to "smokey eyes".
They expanded their gaze by strongly plucking their eyebrows. Mascara was thick and mouths were drawn in a heart shape, making them look like angels, not to mention the birth of the famous Rouge Baiser lipstick, which became mythical.
In the 30s, women adopted a transparent and tonal makeup more in harmony with their complexion.
Eye makeup became refined. Lipstick matched blush. Vaseline was used to make eyeshadows with matte finish shine.
Women still plucked their eyebrows outrageously but the shape changed. The semicircle replaced very high eyebrows - Marlene Dietrich was known for her elaborate makeup.
During World War II, the cosmetics industry suffered.
Women returned to softer and more natural makeup. Lips were outlined to give a joyful and greedy appearance to a clear, pink, fresh and playful face, mocking those hard years.
In the "femme fatale" decade, Hollywood influenced makeup. Marylin MONROE advocated sensuality with her now legendary red mouth; and Audrey HEPBURN inspired women with her thin eyeliner.
Complexions were fair and angelic, but eyes and mouth sensual. Eyebrows were thicker and redesigned, shaped to give a more serious look.
A History of 1960s Makeup
The "Baby doll" years showed nude lips, a smooth and flawless complexion, alluring eyes with more vibrant colors (green, yellow, blue). Wearing false eyelashes was dared: Twiggy Lawson initiated the craze.
While retaining some discretion, boldness and colors came in.
What an enchantment! Bold colors, peacock eyes... psychedelic, disco and hippie tendencies, golden and luminous complexions, gorgeous doe eyes.
As for the lips, brown, beige or coral hues mingled with pink and red.
Colors and textures were reviewed and then married to create depth. It was the era of recreation with heavy makeup supporting the pomp of these years.
Jean-Paul Gaultier created Madonna’s bra.
Skin beauty phials and capsules were also democratized and the first lines of professional makeup were specifically studied for men by L’OREAL.
After these creative and changing times, the world subsided for beauty with more natural and sophisticated characteristics.
Creators will always get inspired by the infinite wealth of history, to subtly rehabilitate the old trends to make today’s.
What if makeup was a constant renewal?