Chanel, indoor plumbing, the Internet and allergy meds are just a handful of the many reasons I’m glad we live in these modern times, and here’s another: old school beauty was kinda rough!
Back in the 1800s and early 1900s, you couldn’t just walk into a Walgreens (well, Walgreens was around then but not like today) and buy a tube of gloss or a bottle of polish and call it a day. Many women made their own cosmetics at home, and some of the ingredients they used were downright naaaasty.
Pale skin was all the rage; to get the look, women would dust their visages with lead-based face powders (we now know how harmful lead can be). As if that wasn’t bad enough, they would darken their hair with shampoos made from iron rust, and for soft, supple smackers, they made lip salves from spermaceti, a waxy substance collected from the heads of sperm whales (classy).
The preferred look of most Western 19th century beauty addicts? — the seemingly natural, apparently naked face.
They didn’t wear eyeshadow (can you imagine?), and very few wore eyeliner, which, incidentally, they made by applying burned cork residue with an old school version of the Sonia Kashuk Bent Eyeliner Brush.
Still, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Just like we flock to glossy magazines, websites and YouTube channels, our lovely predecessors followed beauty trends with books and magazines like Godey’s Lady’s Book (a popular monthly mag) and The Arts of Beauty: Or Secrets of a Lady’s Toilet (LOL!), by Lola Montez.
If given the choice, would you prefer the beauty of bygone eras, or are you happier with the technology we have today?
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,
P.S. One great perk about being a beauty addict in this day and age: Internet makeup sales! MBB reader Janelle just alerted me to a good one through a new site Real Simple just launched called soap.com.
They sell a mishmash of things you’d find at stores like beauty.com and drugstore.com — personal care items, household goods and, yes, makeup and beauty products. From now through August 7, they’re offering 15% off first orders using code SOAPSIMPLE, along with free two-day shipping on orders over $49.
It looks like they sell a bunch of big beauty brands like DuWop, Maybelline, theBalm, Essie, Physician’s Formula and CoverGirl, among others… Happy shopping, fellow modern beauty addict!