Beauty or fashion duty? Something about past standards
Each era has its own fashion not only for clothing, but also for appearance. In the past, the standards of beauty were sometimes so unusual that in order to achieve the perfect result, one had to resort to non-standard measures. So, for example, everyone knows the tradition of bandaging the legs or stretching the neck with metal rings. Moreover, sometimes such “fashionable” experiments were not only painful, but also dangerous.
We decided to find out what other “rituals” of beauty existed in the old days.
Eyebrows are perhaps the most distressed part of the human face when it comes to beauty standards. So, for example, in ancient Greece, the so-called monobrow was in fashion, and if a woman by nature did not possess it, then she used a special “implant” made of goat hair.
However, the inhabitants of medieval China went even further: around the 2nd – 3rd centuries, colorful eyebrows came into fashion. At least, at the court of one of the rulers of that time: the emperor ordered his wives to “wear” blue-green eyebrows. To fulfill the will of their royal spouse, women had to shave off their existing eyebrows, and then draw them again using expensive color inks brought from outside the Middle Kingdom. This not only gave the emperor aesthetic pleasure, but also showed those around him prosperity, since only very rich people could afford foreign colors.
However, this did not last long, and natural eyebrows came into fashion again. True, their shape could vary from long, “like the tail of a moth,” to short and thick.
At the end of the XIV century, Queen Elizabeth of Bavaria, according to historians, became the ancestor of the strange by modern standards fashion for high foreheads and swan necks. To meet the standards of beauty, women shaved their forehead and nape hair, plucked eyebrows. Eyelashes also got some changes: sometimes they were completely removed not only from the upper, but also from the lower eyelids.
Fashion for very white skin reached its heyday in England in the 18th century. To make the skin as white as possible, women sometimes used very exotic means, for example, dried horse manure. However, the most dangerous was lead, which was used to make white for the face. However, the largest concentrations of metal were in the composition of red paint, applied to the lips and cheeks to create contrast. In addition, the whiteness of the skin of the beauties was emphasized by lines imitating the veins that they drew with a blue pencil.
People of the Georgian era bleached not only the skin – their teeth got no less. To give them a shade of noble porcelain, they used powder, the main component of which was sulfuric acid. Of course, from such a “departure” the enamel and the teeth themselves were destroyed. Wealthy clients of the dentists of the time could afford implants: they donated the teeth of donors who, of their own free will, sold them to doctors.
After the Battle of Waterloo, prostheses made from the teeth of soldiers who fell on the battlefield came into fashion. Despite the fact that in the 2nd half of the 19th century porcelain tooth substitutes were invented, some dentists refused to switch to a new type of prosthesis, preferring fangs and incisors “borrowed” from the dead.
Thanks to Petrarch and his muse Laura, whom he praised in his poems as an example of not only beauty, but also virtue, a fashion for fair hair appeared in the 15th century. To achieve a golden hue, the ladies painted curls. True, this procedure was much longer than now, and took several days. So, in one of the treatises of the 12th century, the hair dyeing process was described in 2 stages: after applying the first mixture of several components, the head was covered with leaves and left for 2 days, then the first mixture was washed off and the second was applied, which was removed only on the 4th day.