Lisa Eldridge: Facepaint

The history of makeup is as vibrant as makeup itself...

Famed celebrity makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge, has recently released a book all about her favourite topic – makeup. We love buying it, we love wearing it, and we definitely love talking about it, but do we really know about its history? This fantastic book explores fascinating stories makeup across the globe, from the pioneers, to the trends, to the beauty icons.

One such beauty icon is Elizabeth Taylor. In a brilliant makeup tutorial, she transforms a woman into the 50s star, and the results are truly astonishing. The video demonstrates the transformative power of makeup, as she turns peroxide blonde actress Laura into the iconic brunette bombshell from 1950s Hollywood we all know so well. You can recreate this look using kitten flicked black liner, orange-red lipstick, dark bold brows and lots of lashes.

This concern with historical beauty trends is central to Lisa’s book. Although commercial “makeup” has only existed in the last 100 years, spearheaded by the likes of Max Factor, Elizabeth Arden and Estee Lauder, Eldridge shows us how facial decoration has actually been around for thousands of years. Although not called “makeup”, women have for centuries used products to lighten, brighten and beautify their faces.

However, the definition of what is “beautiful” varies depending on time, location and society, and some of the ways women attempted to enhance their beauty may seem rather unusual to us. For example, while nowadays we strive towards a golden sunkissed tan, pale skin used to be the ultimate sign of beauty. It signalled wealth and standing, as only those who were having to toil in the fields would be out in the sun long enough to darken their skin.

Much like today, beauty trends have come and gone throughout history, and there were many fads that seem particularly strange to us modern women. Taken from Eldridge’s book, we take a look at those historical beauty trends that you won’t believe existed…

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