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 Frock – A Vintage Wardrobe Staple


Frock – a  gown or dress worn by a girl or woman. Source: Dictionary,com 

After several visits to vintage clothing stores I kept seeing a pattern – the word “Frock” used instead of the word “Dress”. May I just say I LOVE frocks these days especially this sleek black & gold one I picked up at Young Janes Vintage Store in Ottawa, Ontario.

For a pinch over $100 I was able to buy this quality frock, necklace and purse as seen in photo. If you don’t want to break the bank and are in need of (or just fancy) a new character-filled outfit you should check this boutique out.

How I enjoy the two floors of casual and dressy threads. Time to frock up and wear some vintage! Readers, stay tuned for my Vintage Style Guide – a weekly article on what to buy and where to buy it.

Young Janes Location/Address:  223 Dalhousie Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7C9