Women’s Makeup 100 Years Ago

Nowadays, buying makeup has never been easier; with a few clicks or a short trip to the nearest makeup store you can fill your makeup cabinet in no time. But, have you ever wonder how do people apply makeup 100 years ago? What do they use? Interestingly, in the era of information, we can learn virtually everything. So, if you’re wondering about what did women use for makeup in the 1900’s, we have the answer here. And prepare to be surprised!

You might see some weird, brows-raising elements on the list. But not everything on the list would be puzzling. You can also recognize some ingredients we still use until today.

Beauty standards in the early 1900’s aren’t as imposing or demanding; if we were to compare it with the 2017 beauty standards. Makeup was used, not as a mean to attract attention (cue the selfie), but to make women look young and healthy. Thick makeup was frowned upon; but like today, the basics are all the same: powder, eyeshadow, and lip stain.

Let’s see some of the ingredients used for makeup back in the 1900’s.

1. Henna
You may have heard henna tattoos or body art, but henna was commonly used in the past to outline women’s eyes. Let’s say it was used as some sort of eyeshadow.

Foto: Glamourdaze

2. Vaseline
No, not the brand. What we meant is the petroleum jelly, found sometime in the late 1800’s. Vaseline rightfully earned the nickname “wonder jelly” because, well, there’s nothing you can’t solve using the jelly? For examples, you can use it to get smooth skin, relieve chapped lips, remove your makeup, protect cuts and burns, and even get makeup stains off clothing. Plus, Vaseline inspired chemist T.L. Williams to develop Maybelline mascara. Thanks, Vaseline!

3. Lemon juice
Back when colorism (“discrimination based on skin color”) , women were willing to do literally anything to lighten their skin or to keep it light. Trivia: Do you know that makeup used to contain lead; and thus caused serious damage on the body? Well, lemon juice isn’t as deadly, but today it’s not recognized as the best way to remove sunburns, or to lighten your skin. In fact, applying lemon juice to your skin isn’t suggested by dermatologists.

Fruit mask – 1930

4. Belladonna
The plant is also known as the deadly nightshade…quite literally. The plant is still used as sedative, painkiller, or medication. And you’d be quite horrified to know that women in the past actually used the extracts to dilate their eyes; to make their eyes look softer and darker. And this practice isn’t exactly harmless; prolonged usage can cause blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, and hallucinations. Today, we have a much safer alternative: contact lenses! But remember, just like the belladonna, using contact lenses for a long period of time can damage your eyes.

Foto: Dailymail

5. Insects
Okay, now you’re frowning. Don’t worry, we did too. If today you still feel the need to erase your lip makeup before eating, how much more would you feel the urgency to do so back in the 1900’s; when one of the main ingredients of lipsticks is…the blood of crushed lice? Thankfully, we don’t have to put on lipsticks made of crushed insects today; but hey, we heard the ingredient, carmine, is still widely used. We don’t know how to feel about that.

6. Rouge
Ah, our personal favorite! What is better than pale skin and (seemingly) pinched cheeks? Rouge is used to give your cheeks that flushed look; but in the past you might want to hide the fact that you are using it.

Foto: Hair And Makeup Artist

7. Wax
Wax was extremely versatile back then. Wax was used to get rid of hair and, later, to obtain cold cream, hand lotion, or mascara. It’s not the most dangerous material out of the list, but we’re glad we have more practical substitutes.

8. Benzoin
Benzoin, a kind of tree sap, was widely used to combat aging and wrinkles. Today, we have anti-aging creams…that hopefully, work better.

Foto: fortieswardrobe

9. Radium
It seems that one of human’s basic traits includes “use {insert a discovery here} in basically everything now that you have discovered it”. Radium, as you might have thought, isn’t the best ingredient you want in your makeup, but everyone in the early 1900’s seem to think otherwise. They actually included radium in practically everything; soaps, rouge, face powder, or wrinkle-removal pads!

Foto: dissident-media

10. Borax
Okay, we know borax won’t do our body any good. But apparently, it was the ‘it’ item back then; especially for face lotion. Today, you might want to be wary if your lotion contains borax.

11. Rose water
Like today, rose water was used in the past to treat inflammation, irritation, dehydration, and to detoxify. It was used in face lotions and cold creams; and hey, we don’t have anything against it! After all, who wouldn’t love the sweet fragrance coming out of the rose water?


12. Mercury
Mercury is dangerous, yes, but unfortunately it took us decades to figure that out. In the past, women used all kinds of weird ingredients (lactic acid, vinegar, sour milk, horseradish, hydrochloric acid, ammonium, and hydrogen peroxide) to get rid of freckles. Okay, but nowadays, women are actually getting freckles tattoos!?

Foto: tighar

13. Carbon dioxide
Even it looks horrifying, this procedure of removing freckles was quite popular during the 30’s. It consists in ”freezing freckles off” with carbon dioxide, while the patiens have their eyes covered, the nostrils obstructed and a tube in their mouth for breathing.

Foto: womenyoung

13. Spermaceti
No, it has nothing to do with a literal sperm. But spermaceti was found in the head of the…sperm whale. Okay, but spermaceti was used in cold cream and massage cream, but so far we heard no negative side effects on the use.

14. Beet juice
If you have seen how annoying it is to get rid of beet stains, then you can probably understand why beet juice was used in the past as an ingredient for makeup. Beet stains can be used as some kind of a blusher, or lipstick! Something you might want to jot down in case you’re looking for an all-natural makeup trick.

Foto: media-cache

Keep being AllDayChic!

Tags : beauty tricks

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