Thought makeup was a modern invention? Think again. Throughout history, there have been countless beauty trends, associated with things such as class, status and health. While we might think that we have it nailed now, the chances are that in 50 years, generations will look back in awe at the kinds of things that people put on their faces. These beauty looks might seem a little strange but in their day, they were the height of fashion. It’s time to embrace the art of beauty, the historical way.
- Goat’s Hair Unibrows
In today’s world, many people wouldn’t be caught dead without an eyebrow hair out of place but for the ancient Greeks, bushy eyebrows were always better. A few thousand years back, the civilization heralded unibrows as a sign of intelligence and beauty in women and getting one was the ultimate status symbol. And if you couldn’t grow your own? Many turned to goat’s hair or tree resin in the hopes of giving their brows a little more volume. The bigger, the better.
- Eyelash Removal
False eyelashes do such big business today that it’s hard to believe they were once removed in their entirety. During the Middle Ages, it wasn’t unheard of for women to pluck out all of their eyebrows in order to draw attention to their foreheads. The upper face was considered as the most beautiful part of the body and making it stand out was many women’s first makeup priority.
- Black Teeth
There’s nothing quite like a sparkly white smile and these days, people go to great lengths to get a perfect set of teeth. It wasn’t always this way, however. For women in the Meiji era in Japan, black lacquered teeth were the ultimate status symbol and many went to great length to achieve the look. One of the most common processes was to whip up a concoction of iron-based die with cinnamon and spices. The look was meant to represent a woman’s submission to men, and was highly thought of at the time.
- Arsenic Complexion
Thought you struggled to get a perfect complexion? Just wait until you see the steps people took in the early 20th century. After giving up lead based products, many took to eating arsenic in order to even out their complexion and whiten their skin. Arsenic, a deadly poison, was even sold in Sears in 1902 in the hopes of reaching mass audiences. Thankfully, the trend has since finished and people have turned to safer methods of looking good.
- Accentuated Veins
Pale skin was once very much in and in the hopes of accentuating their delicate complexions, women in pre-revolution France went to some strange extremes. The paler the skin, the more the veins showed through but for those who spent time in the sun, the beauty trend was just out of reach. In the hopes of mimicking the likes of Marie Antoinette, women took to coloring their veins with blue pencils. The look highlighted their features, giving them an air of French royalty.