Beauty Practices

Three Mid-nineteenth Century Royal Beauties and Their Beauty Secrets

Three mid-nineteenth century royal beauties served as the glamorous ideal for women in the Victorian Era. These three beauties were the Empress Eugénie (wife of Napoleon III, Emperor of the French), Princess Alexandra of Denmark (wife to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and heir apparent to Queen Victoria), and Elizabeth of Austria (wife to Franz…

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French Mouches: Beauty Marks or Patches

Smallpox affected women’s complexion in the 18th century. Because smallpox often left pox scars and because women sometimes had acne, moles, or facial defects, it became popular for women to hide or disguise these problems. They did so using patches that were referred to by the French as mouches (flies).

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Evils of the Victorian Chignon in the Late 1800s

There were many fashion evils during the late 1800s, but the evils of the Victorian chignon were said to be the worst. A chignon was a hairstyle that had a knot or coil of hair arranged and worn low at the back of a woman’s head or at the nape of the neck. However, by…

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The French Pouf

Mademoiselle Marie-Jeanne Bertin, or as she was called at court, “Rose,” gained fame as dressmaker and became known for creating complicated headdresses. These headdresses, also known as “poufs,” were called such because the hair was raised with pads, wool, false hairpieces, and pomade. Bertin’s rise to fame began in a millinery shop where through a…

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Patching or Mouchets

Patching was a strange fashion, and one of the earliest written mentions of the practice in England, “occurs in Bulwer’s Artificial Changeling (1653). ‘Our ladies,’ he complains, ‘have lately entertained a vain custom of spotting their faces, out of an affectation of a mole, to set off their beauty, such as Venus had; and it…

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