Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On Beauty

Casey from Casey's Elegant Musings posted a great piece on beauty throughout history today. The post included some videos that I found very fascinating, that outline a bit of the history of women and their cosmetics.
I have to say that I enjoy my morning makeup session as much as the next girl, but I had never thought about how trends had changed over the last 100 years and how cosmetics were affected by wars, liberation, the vote, and many other things. I highly recommend checking out Casey's fascinating post.

The only makeup I wore before I was 20 was a bit of concealer to cover up the random blemish and eye shadow on special occasions. Then I was engaged and my darling mother-in-law to-be introduced me to bare minerals and from then on I was hooked. Now I can barely step out of doors without my face perfectly powdered into submission. Why is that? I was perfectly confident in my appearance until I started using makeup, and now, without it, that confidence is greatly diminished. I'm sure that's just what cosmetic companies depend on. Makeup has become a sort of armor, and without it some of us hesitate to go out in public.

Well, I won't think about that today. I'll think about that tomorrow.
Instead of dwelling on my own insecurities, I'm going to deflect, and show you some beauty advertisements from my own collection that I thought you might enjoy.
France, 1950's:

 Always sure to be in style: with one of the new colors of Gemey powder.

Nivéa will take you through the threshold of winter in style.
The Red Kiss permits kisses, and "Magic" a bewitching and tenacious perfume.

Form EveryLady's Journal, Australia, 1936 come the above add, and the following article on makeup:

The above is still tiny so I've broken it up a bit to allow further zooming in.  Click on the images to enlarge.

And this from Alle Kvinner's Blad, a Norwegian ladies magazine from 1956 advertising lipstick in white, red, and dark red.


  1. These are really great! :)

    I may be wrong, but I think that technically the one from Alle Kvinners Blad is an ad for tinted lip balm.

  2. I used to feel the same as you until I suffered a severe lip allergy + perioral dermatitis for a year. Now, I still love makeup, but any day where my face isn't covered with red bumps is a good skin day for me - enough to leave the house au naturale because I walked around looking worse before.

  3. I didn't wear a hole lot of makeup until I was about 19/20 either. And now years later, I'm only just becoming comfortable with not wearing it on a daily basis! Which is funny, because like you prior to makeup I never felt terribly bad about how I looked. It's not that I feel bad now either (on most days... :p), but I have to say I rather like my eyeliner and red lipstick! ;) hehe!

    ♥ Casey

  4. I found your blog recently and am now a follower, it's really interesting to read about your take on vintage fashion and your perspective on Norway (I'm from Sweden).

    And I do believe Emma is right that it's tinted lip balm in the last Norwegian ad.