Beauty takes many forms, and it really depends on your viewpoint as to how you classify it. Do you class beauty as makeup? Do you class it as hair? Or do you class it as a body shape? It’s a really personal definition, but for me, beauty is all of these things, plus a huge side order of confidence.
Throughout the years beauty trends have spanned many different genres, to the beauty boom we have today, with the extremes of cosmetic surgery, Botox, dermal fillers, down to lip-boosting glosses, and tattooed eyebrows. We all want to look our best, and which extreme you go to is personal.
Throughout the earliest history we can read, pale skin was considered to be the look most women aspired to, mainly because it was thought that those with pale skin had money, and affluence was attractive at that time. The lengths some women went to in order to achieve this pale in vogue appearance was quite startling, including using early cosmetics made with arsenic or titanium paint, or simply applying chalk to their faces. This could cause either damaging health effects or less dangerously, look seriously a streaky face in a rain storm!
Make up was something that grew very steadily, dating back to the days of the ancient Egyptians. Kohl and soot were used to line eyes, and the juice of berries gave a lip stain. Rouge was always very popular, even before the first mainstream cosmetics were introduced in the 1920’s. The first truly modern makeup product was mascara which we can thank Maybelline for. Of course, trends in beauty have changed massively over the years, and in some cases that’s a very positive thing!
In terms of body shape, this is something that has always gone back and forth. Curves were very popular during medieval times because this showed that you had money to eat, however over time this changed, these days social acceptance is often thought to come from being skinny. Whether you believe this or not, it’s a personal thing, however nowadays we have the much more body confident message of being happy in your own skin. Quite rightly so! This is a hugely positive step forward from days when women were often ridiculed for being seen as the ‘wrong’ size.
Body hair is also something which has taken a major turn, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that women started to remove hair from legs and underarms, mainly because of changing clothes fashion. Nowadays this is seen as something you must do, rather than an option, probably through social acceptance.
Hair color and style moves in and out of trend just as much as make up, however we’re thankfully past the days when huge curled wigs are seen as the IT thing to wear. Back in the 17th century hygiene conditions weren’t at their best, and long hair was difficult to maintain. Because of this, wigs were the way forward, and the bigger and more flamboyant, the better. Nowadays we are free to choose a color and style which suits us individually.
The plastic surgery boom of recent decades has now become less of a stigma, and whether you agree with that or not is, again, personal. I guess this is the point of beauty, even though there are almost set guidelines to what we ‘should do’, it’s entirely personal, which is a major leap forward from the days when make up was frowned upon, and beauty was something to hide.