Time­less Pur­suit of Beauty

Here, we re­veal the most pop­u­lar beauty trends of yes­ter­year...


In the days be­fore con­tour­ing, strob­ing, HD brows, Bo­tox and fillers, women still took look­ing good very se­ri­ously. Our an­ces­tors did may not have had the lux­ury of mod­ern make-up – or money – at their dis­posal, but women have been try­ing out var­i­ous tricks to beau­tify them­selves for more than 12,000 years. No.1, with the help of beauty ex­pert Terri Craig, re­vis­its the trends of years gone by. In a bid to darken their eye­lids and add colour, women in the 1940s, af­fected by ra­tioning, used soot. In ex­treme cases, boot pol­ish was use to cre­ate a dra­matic smokey eye. Soot was also mixed with petroleum jelly to cre­ate makeshift mas­cara. When a lip­stick ran out, dur­ing wartime Bri­tain, the re­main­der was melted down and pressed into pots so it would last longer. In des­per­ate times when there was no cos­met­ics avail­able, women also used beet­root juice to stain their lips! Many cos­metic brands aided the war ef­forts. Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War Amer­i­can brand Revlon switched from man­u­fac­tur­ing beauty prod­ucts to mak­ing first aid kits and dye mark­ers for the navy. Mean­while Max Fac­tor de­vel­oped cam­ou­flage make-up for the US Marine Corps. Dur­ing the war many beauty brands also brought out new prod­uct ranges – Revlon launched leg make-up in re­sponse to the short­age of stock­ings. Dur­ing the 1940s, women loved a heavy eye­brow, but there were no HD brow kits like today, so in­stead they used to com­pletely shave off their own brows and draw on a full brow us­ing char­coal – this was the must-have make-up bag es­sen­tial. If blusher was hard to come by, then women steeped rose petals in wa­ter. This then pro­duced a tinted liq­uid that could be ap­plied to the cheeks to add a rosy blush colour. In an­cient Greece, blonde hair was highly sought-af­ter so to achieve this, dark-haired Greek women used vine­gar to bleach their locks, but it was so dam­ag­ing to the hair, that is caused it to fall out. Women re­moved their body hair us­ing ra­zors made of flint or bronze. The an­cient Egyp­tians are thought to have used a hair re­moval tech­nique sim­i­lar to wax­ing us­ing a sticky paste (such as beeswax) and a strip of cloth. It’s thought that body hair was con­sid­ered a no-go in Ro­man times, as most paint­ings from the 1800s fea­tured hair-less women. In fact, elec­trol­y­sis was in­vented as far back as 1875. Curl­ing the hair was fashionable way back in the times of the Ro­man Em­pire. To achieve this look a thin metal rod was laid on top of hot coals and left to heat up and like today’s curl­ing tongs, hair was wrapped round the rod to make a curl. Some­times the rod was too hot and it would burn the hair and make it break off!

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