The history of cosmetics

ID-10055348My new love, deep rose lipstick prompted me to share a little about the the history of cosmetics [make-up] with you this evening.

In the 1920’s it was the flapper girl dark lips, the 30’s – rose shades, 40-50’s – reds & pinks, then came pastels, glosses, bolds, nudes and natural brights. Vintage style has always been topped off with a colourful pucker or pout!

The history of cosmetics is surely a captivating timeline of events dating back to ancient times. Scented oils, ointments and colours were popular among Egyptians 12,000 years ago so it is not surprising wearing makeup and its artistic form stemmed from them. Archeologists have discovered black eye paint, green eye shadows, lip stains and more when exploring tombs in Egypt.

The emphasis on beauty, health and social class did not end there as in 3000 BCE (Before the Common Era, over 5000 years ago) staining nails in China was a common theme and Grecian women began to paint their faces with crushed berries.

The use of Rice powder to make faces appear more white, shaved eyebrows and dyed red hair followed next.

The importance of looks really came into play in the 16th century and people started to carry mirrors, combs a various other beauty & grooming tools around with them. [Pale skin remained in fashion all the way to the 18th century and beyond]

Into the 18th century false fur eyebrows came about and after that hair dye was created and the beauty salon started to pop-up and take shape as a town business staple.

A while ago I wrote a blog post, OLD TREASURES THAT CAN BE TOXIC where I jumped head first into vintage and antique objects that may be harmful for your health. We do not talk about these sorts of negative things much because the beauty of things (whether it be timeless objects we find or the transformation cosmetics can make to a person) sometimes makes us overlook the bad things that may come with them.

I heard something the other day that sort of shocked me. Though make-up has come a long way since the ancient times not all items today are made with natural sure-safe substances. It is not entirely a surprise that I might be putting toxic things on my face or body but more so how many toxins are still in our day-to-day personal care products.

For instance I have become a huge fan of wearing lipstick for that special occasion [to top off that vintage look] and heard of Phthalates this past weekend. It is quite the harmful ingredient used in many lipsticks and other beauty products. It is known for causing sperm damage, cancer, reproductive problems and other more concerning effects.

It turns out that we also still use Hydroquinone, Lead, Formaldehyde, Triclosan, Toluene and Parabens in the cosmetic and hygiene industry all in which are worthy of avoidance.

The important thing to remember [both ladies and gentlemen] is that reading the label is not always a bad thing when buying beauty products.

“Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.




The Best Places to Buy Antiques and Collectibles

dreamstimefree_32187“I collect these objects to learn from them. In some moment these things are going to teach me something. For me, this is like a library. These are my books.”
– Jose Bedia in ARTNews, Summer 2000

It took me quite some time to wiggle my way around the antique scene and try and find out where best to buy antiques and collectibles. I am sure you have some of your own favourite spots – just like I do. There are many different avenues but these are the avenues I choose:

Antique Stores (dealers’ shops)

Antique stores generally have a little something special for everyone.

Despite increased online sales, you will continue to find antique shops popping up in your local town. They do not always have a large online presence so sometimes you really have to walk around or rely on word of mouth to find these stores. One of my #1 past-times is grabbing a coffee and treasure hunting through stores in Centretown, Ottawa. When I am feeling the travel bug I go out of town to Almonte , Merrickville, Arnprior and Alfred.

Sometimes I use Google Map and search specific streets or towns that I think may have some hidden gems. My next walk will be to visit A Fine Thing Antiques and Donohue and Bousquet. I haven’t been to these two downtown Ottawa area places in a while.

Specialist Dealers’ Shops

I have seen some of these speciality shops in my neighbourhood. These shops have speciality items or areas of focus such as Fine Art, Jewellery and Militaria. They may seem like they will have higher price tags however this is not always the case as they have more of the same inventory to shed.

Since they have a specialization these dealers will usually have more knowledge about an item and it’s worth. A great example of a specialty shop would be Military Antiques Toronto who is linked to Army Outfitters and has established a reputation for authentic, high quality military collectibles.

Jumbo Sales

I have reaped the benefits from going to indoor and outdoor sales run by churches, charity organizations and community groups. There is always such an array of items. You can’t beat the thrill of digging at these sales. Community (neighbourhood) garage & yard sales are also an excellent way to find everything and anything in one place.

A BIG bonus is you save gas money and get a bit of exercise when checking on these sales. Make sure you read your local newspaper, bulletin boards or online neighbourhood portal to keep updated on sales and events. For the Ottawa area Used Ottawa, Kijiji and Craigslist are my go to places.

Flea Markets

There is nothing like a weekend Saturday and/or Sunday flea market. Why are they great? Tons of vendors are under one roof. Sometimes these vendors are outdoors as well. These events can differ from jumbo sales and they tend to be re-occurring and may contain both new and used items.

As a wee one I enjoyed rounding up the family and heading out to the Larose Flea Market just across the river in Masson-Angers, Gatineau. Flea markets are fantastic because there is a whole lot to look at and some friendly faces. Plus you can bring your doggy (usually) too.

Festivals and Fairs 

It is always good to know what is coming to town. I find there is always a diverse array of items at festivals and fairs for sale. The City of Ottawa Spotlight calendar  has a good listing of festivals and fairs.

Estate Sales & Auctions

I am an estate sale and auction addict. In my post Estate Sales, Auctions and Content Sales Mania earlier this week I shared all my estate sale and auction go to resources. I will never forget this one-liner I heard at an estate sale held in a dilapidated barn. The old man was so sweet and after I asked him about a few things he said, “I am the oldest antique in here.”

Consignment & Thrift Shops

There is a chance you may find an amazing piece but generally these places sell lower-end antiques and collectables. Items are donated and usually vetted first by antique dealers. At the end of the day – you never know. I have heard about a few people finding mega finds these stores.

A few places I recommend are St Vincent De Paul Store (1273 Wellington St. W) and The Church of St. John the Evangelist Community Shop (275 Elgin Street). The Salvation Army Thrift Store and Value Village also have a wide variety of items.

You can also browse Apartment613 and Couch Assassin on the regular to make sure you don’t miss out on any antique shows, sales or events.

In a later post I am going to share some of the best places to purchase antiques from online. I am also excited to report on antique tourist spots real soon. I was born in Mississauga, Ontario so the Sunday Antique Market in Toronto is one spot that will make the list.

Good luck finding a piece as unique and expressive as you are.