On Thursdays we go time traveling (we wish though), and this Thursday to the Victorian Era (1837 – 1901). More specifically, let’s get deep and detailed with the Victorian era makeup!
Society and norms during Victorian Era
The Victorian era is defined as the time in english history when queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) reigned in Britain. The period was a time of industrial, societal and cultural development with Britain as one of the leading countries. The bourgeois became the trendsetting class (previously, the upper class wrote the fashion rules), and stated the culture life as well. The gender roles were distinct, as the men should be educated, in shape and intelligent. The womens’ status were however reflected in the domestic life and the ideal woman was socially talented, fashionable and beautiful looking, and took great care of the home (ugh). Queen Victoria did not like makeup and the women should wear minimal makeup and look as natural as possible.
Ideals of Victorian Era Makeup
Though the leading lady herself opposed a done makeup look, we know that a no-makeup look often comes with, ehrm, makeup. It was a big social no-no to wear makeup that was visible, and even a bigger no-no to apply makeup in public. But nevertheless did the era have some ideals (as if every woman looks the same without makeup). The face should be pale without color changes, freckles or redness as a pale face was a sign of nobility. However, the cheeks should be rosy as well as the lips. The eyebrows should be well-defined and well-plucked.
Essentials of Victorian Era Makeup
The natural ideal of the Victorian age was often far from natural. Women would dust their faces with zinc oxide to attain a pale look (!). To get the perfect lip color, fruits or flowers were smudged on the lips (or the red color from a bug). For rosy cheeks they pinched themselves or they applied whatever red colored thing they’d get hold off. For instance: beets, more red colored bugs or carmine. And oh yeah, doe eyes were the ideal which led to the beauty routine of dropping lemon or orange juice (sometimes stronger things) in the eyes. Ever so painful and ever so terrible!
A lot of history is not favorable for women. Strict and homogeneous ideals in combination with strong moral values and a constant dependence on men, was the reality for women. If women didn’t follow the ideal apperance they lacked in moral according to society and in personal values. And this is only the makeup part, the overall body ideal and the clothes were equally as strict and precise (hello tight corsets and heavy skirts). The women of the Victorian era didn’t decide how they were suppose to look, society did.
Folks, what are your thoughts on the makeup in the Victorian era?
50 thoughts on “Victorian Era Makeup”
Hmmmm I’m not sure I would suit the pale look. You can’t compete with bronzed and salty skin once you’ve just come off the beach! Interesting read though 🙂
The Blonde B
Luckily you can choose today, and do a more healthy beauty routine! Xx
It’s crazy what their routines were like back then and now we want to be bronzed like we’ve been out in the sun all day! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston
Yes, it’s so weird how the beauty ideals changes! Thankfully a bronzer is “healthier” to do than the crazy routine they did back then! Xx
I love the look of doe eyes, but OMG the torture they went through to achieve them back then!
Just crazy, thankfully there are easier ways today to achieve doe eyes!! Xx
So interesting to learn about how people did their makeup!
It was a mad routine! Xx
I find the Victorian era fascinating, but as a woman I’m glad I didn’t live back then! x
Kate Louise Blogs
Same here, it’s both admirable but also unbelievable and mad to understand! Xx
Great to learn many stuff about the Victorian era. Surely an insightful post! thx for sharing dear…xo, Neha
Thank you, it was such an interesting era! Xx
Parts of their beauty routine sound so difficult! It was so interesting to learn more about the Victorian era. I don’t know if I would have been cut out for this era 😉
With the mindset people have today, most of us would probably not stick up with it! Just the lemon part is craycray and they did so many more things, equally or even worse! Xx
Loved this insightful post! The practice to attain doe eyes sounds terrible and it goes to show the effort women had to put in order to attain the admiration and acceptance of the society.
I’m glad to say we are in a generation that is prepared to accept beauty as it comes and to find it in unconventional places. We still have a long way to go, though.
Escaping Through Ink
It’s just mad, the societal pressure and pressure from other women must have been huge and enormous burd to feel! But acceptance was kind of it, it was all about societal status and approval! Happy too that’ve made such a progress, but yes, we have such a long way to go! Even if we’re slowly heading there! Xx
Well this is something I had never thought about before! Gemma x
The Vistorian Era was so interesting! Xx
This was really interesting! Love the different makeup trends historical eras had in store. Atropia belladonna (deadly nightshade) was also used to dilate the pupils for that doe-eyed look. Quite an idea!
Christina ♥ https://caliope-couture.com
Yes, they certainly did. Forgot to mention it, but insanely crazy! Mad that they dared but they didn’t have so much choice if they really wanted the specific beauty ideal! Xx
This is so cool, I love the Victorian Era
It was so exciting, so many things happened! Xx
amazing make up inspo, thanks for sharing!
It’s a lovely dose of inspo if you don’t use their way of doing it! Xx
How awesome and interesting! Thanks for sharing, beauty!
Thank you lovely! Xx
clothes were so elaborate and luxurious back then!!
Have a great day!
They were, but they were far from comfortable! But oh so pretty to look at! Xx
Interesting post! I didn’t even know they used makeup back then!
They certainly did, makeup has been used ever since the egyptians! Xx
I am so happy we are slowly but surely embracing varying definitions of “beauty”. The white washed, cinched waist, one-size-fits-all definition of beauty is just so oppressive. Sure, the women look pretty in paintings but you can’t imagine they’d be all that happy having every part of their life dictated! These posts are so interesting, I 100% agree with your conclusive thoughts.
We’ve made a big progress in comparison to the very long history of a very specific beauty ideal. But ofc, we have such a long way to go and there is still so many things to be bothered by. The amount of pain and the danger they put themselves to is unimaginable, just crazy that they did it as a natural routine! Thank you love! Xx
I love this version of throwback Thursday! I can say that in this time and age, women are no longer dictated by society on how they should look that’s why many enjoy I guess being different. It’s so fun to read though on how they were able to attain red lips or rosy cheeks–all “natural” beauty! I really love this post! xx
That’s lovely to know, thank you! Thankfully we’ve reached a new point in history where all different kinds of beauty are accepted! Even though some are more adored by the society than others, we’re constantly getting better at appreciating all the different looks. There are billions of people on this planet, so it would be mad not to! Xx
Superb tips. thanks for sharing.
No tips at all, quite painful actually, not to mention dangerous and pure madness to achieve a pale look with zinc oxide! Xx
This seems like strict makeup rules, they always looked so fabulous though!
Have a gorgeous day, xx
My Vogue Style | http://www.myvoguestyle.com
They looked so fabulous but they really did pay a high price for it! Xx
OMG that lemon juice in the eyes thing made me cringe!! I think throughout history we’ve been given the short end of the stick lol. I wonder what will be the “cringe-worthy” thing a hundred years from now when people look back at our era.
Style Tomes ||ST on IG
We certainly have, the more freedom we women have gained, the less crazy have our beauty routines gotten. Or at least we can choose for ourselves if we want to put up with it or not! The lemon juice is just craycray, incredibly painful! Xx
I agree with you 100% on Victorian women not being able to look and dress how they wanted to, society decided it and that’s what they had to do. I’ve never been a huge fan of the look though as I found the skin to be much too pale and pink, not my preference. I had no idea they were putting lemon juice in their eyes! Gosh!
Raindrops of Sapphire
It’s unimaginable all the things they had to go through and put up with just to achieve a certain look! The lemon juice was not even the worst parts, so it’s kind of mad! Xx
Thank you! Xx
Great post! Kisses!!
Thank you love! Xx
I never thought much about the makeup. Thanks for the post!
Straight A Style
Makeup through history is so interesting! Xx
what an interesting topic! I think they look darling
They looked so cute, but boy did they have to pay for it! Xx
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