Period Make-up


Ancient Egyptians

Approx. 4000 BC - Approx. 2000 AC

As early as 4000 B.C., Egyptians used the following materials in order to design makeup:
Malachite, a copper ore, which provided the green eye makeup color so greatly favored at the time.
Kohl, used to draw thick, distinctive black lines, creating an almond shape to the eyes.
Red ocher, which was used as rouge or lip color.
Henna, which was widely used to stain the fingertips, toes and hair dye.
Once ingredients were gathered, time-consuming preparation was needed to make them ready to apply.
Minerals were ground into powder and then mixed with a carrier agent (often animal fat) in order to make it easy to apply and stay on the skin.
Green and black were the most widely used colors for the eyes. Different eras saw a change in how these colors were applied.
In the earliest times, green makeup was worn all over the eyelid, from the lid to the brow. It even extended downward to the base of the nose. In the middle era, green eye color was applied to the eyebrows and on the corners of the eyes. Later, black replaced the heavy use of green.
The Egyptians were very creative in designing makeup applicators. While people from all social standings used makeup, the poorer classes used applicators made of wood, while nobles had applicators and containers made of precious materials such as ivory.
Because their culture placed a great deal of emphasis on cleanliness, they developed ways to cleanse their skin and bodies. Chalk and oils were combined to create a cream that cleaned the skin.


Approx. 1533 - Approx. 1603

During this time, Queen Elizabeth's look ruled the hearts and minds of British women.
While clothing had become increasingly structured throughout the later part of the Middle Ages, Elizabeth took this sense of structure to new heights. Tight corsets were worn to give the body a smooth, shaped appearance. While proper hoop skirts had yet to be invented, women tied large pieces of padding around their hips to thrust their skirts out into wide, oblong hoops. Starched ruffles were worn around the neck and hair was often pinned into elaborate up-do's.
Women would paint their faces with a white powder referred to as Venetian ceruse. The best ceruse was made of lead, carbonate and hydroxide. Less expensive alternatives were made from talc or boiled egg, although these were considered to be less effective.
Once the heavy powder was applied to the face, women would rouge their cheeks with a red paint called fucus and paint their lips with vermillion. The first lip sticks were made during this time by putting sun-dried vermillion and ground plaster into a device similar to a pen.
To add a glazed appearance to their look, women would coat their face, make-up and all, in a layer of egg white


Approx. 1603 - Approx. 1625

The make-up for the Jacobean era was very much the same as the Elizabethan era with no big milestones in the world of make-up.


1660 - 1685

Due to smallpox and the scarring that cam with it a new fashion was born, patches made from silk or leather, was stuck to peoples faces to cover up the smallpox scars.
The patches could be bought in all sorts of shapes - hearts and diamonds were most popular, and were glued to the face. This became a craze, with people seeking to out-do each other with the amount and variety of patches on their faces.
Another cosmetic method was using a white powder made from lead to smooth their complexions and hide the scars.


1837 - 1901

The Victorians painted their faces with zinc oxide, a white mineral powder as it whitened their skin well.
Their eyeshadows were made with lead and antimony sulfide; lipsticks with mercuric sulfide; blushes were simply beet juice. They were all very subtle and applied very gently.
The idea was to look like you weren’t wearing any makeup at all.
This was the same for the eyebrows, they were plucked, but lightly, to give them a polished, but natural shape


Approx. 1900 - Approx. 1919

Much like the Restoration era, women desired to have pale skin as having a tan suggest that you were a lower class who had to work. Lemon juice either consumed or applied as a face tonic was a popular method of achieving this pale complexion.
To wear make-up was for the stage or women of the street, due to this a natural finish was important.


Approx. 1920 - Approx. 1929

Eyes- Kohled eyeshadow
Eyebrows- Plucked for the first time and drawn downward towards the temple
Lips- lips were smaller than the natural outline and fashioned into the 'cupid's bow' shape.
Lashes- mascara was the new rage and women couldn't resist enhancing their lashes.
Rouge- Applied in circles rather than angular. The effect was a rounded face


1930 - 1939

Pencil thin eyebrows is one of the key features to the 1930s look. In some cases women would have their eyebrows plucked away entirely by beauty salons and then had to 'paint' in their brows every morning.
Cream eye-shadows began to appear from cosmetic companies such as Max Factor.
Women also began to contour their eyes. Tracing a triangle effect from the tear duct out to and beyond the natural edge to the eye - thus widening and adding further emphasis to the face.
Eyes- Blues, greens, pinks and purples were applied lightly and in pear shapes beyond the natural eye.
Eyebrows- Plucked out of existence and redrawn in pencil thin lines- arched more attractively upward.
Lips- The cupids bow was replaced by thinner horizontal lines with upper lips enlarged and fuller. The popular colours for the lips were raspberry reds and maroon.
Lashes- Mascara moved to the lower lashes.
Rouge- The triangle was the new look and contouring faces was in vogue.


1940 - 1949


1950 - 1959


1960 - 1969


1970 - 1979


1980 - 1989


1990 - 1999


2000 - 2009