Before the days of countless shadow colours and endless lipstick shades, ladies relied on ancient beauty rituals to achieve the perfect look. From the very first form of foundation to weird and wild hair styles, see how beauty has evolved since the 18th century in France and England.
1 / 20
18th century: Pale skin
Unlike today’s tan-hungry beauty culture, 18th century ideals favoured pale, almost white skin. A tan meant you were a hard labourer who worked outside, where a pale complexion indicated a higher level of class. Ladies created a toner out of strawberries and wine and slathered it on their skin to help keep their complexions pale.
2 / 20
18th century: Ceruse
The closest form of makeup in the 1700s was a substance called ceruse. Despite being warned by doctors that it was highly toxic, the cosmetic was applied to the face to achieve a stark white complexion (that looked anything but natural).
3 / 20
18th century: Beauty patches
Beauty patches, also known as stick-on beauty marks, were a cosmetic staple in the 1700s. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill Marilyn Monroe moles–the patches came in a variety of shapes and sizes, like stars, moons, hearts and even more intricate designs like a horse and carriage.
4 / 20
18th century: Wigs
Towards the later part of the 18th century, tall, elaborate wigs reached their height in popularity (no pun intended). Most recognizable by Marie Antoinette’s famous mane, the style was ridiculously over the top.
5 / 20
18th century: White hair
White wigs were the most popular and rare, so if people couldn’t afford them, they would powder their hair white instead. While it didn’t produce the same stark white of the wigs, it lightened hair to a shade of grey or violet, depending on the natural colour of the hair.
6 / 20
19th century: Bare face
Turns out #iwokeuplikethis isn’t a new concept. The 19th century saw a trend towards a bare face as a backlash towards the toxic chemicals found in 18th century cosmetics. It was considered taboo for anyone other than actresses and prostitutes to wear a face full of makeup.
7 / 20
19th century: Powder
Ladies would dab on powder to hide freckles and redness. Rice powder, zinc oxide or pearl powder (the most expensive option) were all commonly used.
8 / 20
19th century: Citrus eye drops
Before the existence of Visine, drops of lemon or orange juice were relied on for brighter eyes. Ouch!
9 / 20
19th century: Trimmed eyelashes
In the 1800s, women would trim their eyelashes. Yes, you read right–eyelashes, not eyebrows. They’d then dab castor oil onto their lids for shine.
10 / 20
19th century: Rosy cheeks
Subtle rosy cheeks became in vogue to contrast the very pale complexion still worn by royalty. The first form of blush? Red beet juice or carmine dye dabbed onto the cheeks.
11 / 20
19th century: Veins
By the late 1800s, some women would use a blue or violet pencil to trace their veins to make their skin appear paler.
12 / 20
Post WWI, makeup became more widely used once again, and the ever-inspiring beauty of the roaring ‘20s took hold. The classic flapper look of bobbed hair with finger waves, red lips and kohl-rimmed eyes was born. Here’s a fun fact: the reason dark red lipstick was so popular was because it was the only shade available!
13 / 20
1940s: Lipstick era
By the 1940s, lipsticks came in different shades–but all of them were still some form of red. All of the lipstick formulas at this time were very matte, so women would put Vaseline over top to moisturize and add sheen.
14 / 20
1950s: Hair rollers
Unlike the sexually provocative makeup popular in the ‘20s, the ‘50s saw a shift towards ultra-feminine face paint and perfectly coiffed hair. Hello, hair rollers!
15 / 20
1960s: Mod makeup
In a shift towards the free-spirited ‘70s, the ‘60s most popular look was playful and lashy, an ode to pop culture phenomenon Twiggy. Sometimes, women would even paint lashes onto their lower lash line for a wide-eyed, almost animated look.
16 / 20
1970s: Fanned hair
A newfound sense of political and economic freedom for women meant natural, sexy-by-today’s-standards makeup took hold. It’s no wonder such voluminous hair was popular (to balance out the big bellbottoms, of course). But all jokes aside, ‘70s beauty still very much influences how we do our makeup today.
17 / 20
1980s: More is more
Ah, the decade of mullets. And excessive neon eyeshadow. And frosty lipstick. And so much more. The 1980s were a memorable decade for beauty, indeed.
18 / 20
After the overly frou-frou cosmetics popular in the ‘80s, the ‘90s took a slightly more natural approach to beauty. Nude matte lips and heavily-defined brows were daily makeup mainstays, but dressing up meant frosty lips and glittery lids (and cheeks if you were really going for it).
19 / 20
21st century: Tanorexia
Not dissimilar to the dangerous beauty products of years past, harmful tanning beds became popular in the new millennium. Ultra-tanned complexions were considered the most beautiful, with little research available on the pitfalls of too much sun.
20 / 20
21st century: Ombre hair
Many of today’s beauty trends are borrowed from history, but there's one standout style typical of the millennium’s teen years: ombre hair. Though more stark styles are lessening in popularity, subtle, ultra-flattering ombre locks seem to be here to stay.