Beauty Practices

Victorian Beauty and How to Retain It

Victorian women were highly body conscious. They wore corsets to create tiny waistlines and bustles and petticoats to enhance and improve their buttocks. Victorian women were also idealized in paintings by popular nineteenth-century artists, such as James Tissot. These idealized images of body conscious Victorians, helped to contribute to Victorian women wondering what they could…

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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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Model of the Perfect Woman Georgian Style

Antoine Le Camus wrote Abdeker: or the Art of Preserving Beauty in 1754. It is half “oriental tale” and half recipe book filled with cosmetic recipes. In the book Camus claims that “the face is the chief Seat of Beauty.” But Camus also asserts “beauty is that Form of an entire body, which pleases every one…

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Georgian Hair – A Woman’s Crowning Glory and Its Care

By the late Georgian era, gone were the towering headdresses. In its place was a woman’s natural hair, considered her crowning glory. With a more natural look and styles taken from the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, women attempted to achieve a gorgeous head of hair. Hair color was one of the most important aspects. Fortunately,…

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The Beautiful Face of Regency Women

When Jane Austen was publishing Pride and Prejudice and Napoleon was being exiled to Alba, cosmetics were used by Regency women “to produce a healthful bloom on the countenance.”[1] As a woman’s face, neck, and hands were frequently exposed to nature’s harsh elements, great care was taken to restore  beauty and luster back to her…

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Chicken-skin Gloves or Limericks

Beauty was sometimes a strange process in the 1700 and 1800s. Some women went so far as to cover their faces with lard or apply masks “plastered … with a perfumed pomade to preserve the complexion.” There was also a mask of sliced veal (steeped in milk) that was applied to the face, and, of…

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Cosmetics of the Georgian and Regency Eras

Any kind of spot or imperfection, known as “the cruel ravages of unsparing time,”[1] were not only disagreeable but also something every Georgian and Regency woman wanted to avoid, disguise, or repair. In order to accomplish this, the most important and indispensable part of a woman’s toilette was her skin care products, referred to as…

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Ideas of Female Beauty in the 1700 and 1800s

Beauty was important to women, but, perhaps, it was even more important to men, because it was a man who noted in the late 1700s that a woman’s “first merit is that of beauty.”[1] People seemed to have particular ideas of what beauty entailed and wrote about it. André Félibien, a French chronicler of the…

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Tie-wig, Bob-wig, and Bag-Wig of the 1700s

Of all the fashions of the 1700s, perhaps the wig most resembles “character of that period, embodying the artificiality, the mixture of dignity and affectation, and the pompous conventionality.”[1] The wig did not suddenly appear over night but rather grew into popularity until at one point wigs were so fashionable, if you wore your own…

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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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