What Did the Victorian Lady Look Like? or Women, History and Make-up

I like to read make-up artist Lisa Eldrige’s blog and also like to watch her tutorials. Recently I discovered two videos she did with historian Madeleine Marsh, the author of the book Compacts and Cosmetics: Beauty from Victorian Times to the Present Day. The book focuses not only on cosmetics but also on women’s history, their lives, the politics, culture and social circumstances of the times. The videos Lisa Eldrige did are so interesting and fascinating that I thought I’ll add them here. They are really worth watching, especially for those who love historical novels or novels from the Victorian and later eras.

As Madeleine Marsh says : “Vintage make-up is history that you can hold, smell and you can touch and I really think it makes our past come to life.”  (Madeleine Marsh in video I)

Both videos are great and will tell you a lot about the link between history and make-up. Did the Victorians use make-up? What did the Flapper look like? What was used during WWII? How did the 70s change the way we look?

I love these two videos, they are informative, fun and colorful and I hope you will like them too.

20 thoughts on “What Did the Victorian Lady Look Like? or Women, History and Make-up

    • You are welcome and that’s exactly what I thought, whether you like make-up like I do or not, there are so many interesting elements in the videos. The thing with the Victorian gloves is incredible.

  1. I totally love unusual histories about culture. I bookmarked the amazon link. Im glad I found you through Novroz. 🙂

    • Oh that’s nice! And thanks for visiting. It’s a fascinating approach, isn’t it? And those two women so enjoy what they are talking about, it’s really inspiring.

  2. I do love social history – there’s just so much we don’t understand about the past because our perceptions and ideas are SO different. Thank you for posting the videos!

    • I agree, social history is very fascinating. I liked it how Madeleine Marsh speaks about cosmetics, they way she emphasizes that it brings history to life. I had the funny idea that Victorians were very heavily made up. No lipstick or rouge but powder to make them look paler… I’m glad you liked the videos.

  3. I don’t have time to watch the videos this week, I’ll come back to it later.

    “They are really worth watching, especially for those who love historical novels or novels from the Victorian and later eras.” I fit in that description, don’t I?

    • I guess so. 🙂 But also because you are interested in sociology and many other things. You will like them, I promise. I had 250 views of this post since Fence published it on Metafiction. Amazing. Now I wonder whether I prefer views or comments. 🙂

        • They speak very nicely articulated British English…
          Metafiction is a community platform where you can recommend blog posts that you liked and then people like them or not, and the more you are liked the more views you get… I’m not a member but Fence seems to be.

          • The videos are fascinating indeed. I was curious about Victorian make-up because I had in mind it wasn’t accepted for a decent lady. I see I was right.
            Interesting change between the 20s and the 40s/50s.

            I’m less interested in packagings and colours history, I’m not a make-up fan.

            • Her book is really about social history. Yes, you were right, I don’t know why I assumed the Victorians were made up. Not lip stick but powder…
              I used to make up people, at school in all the plays and also in private. I was always fascinated by it. It’s an art form in its own right, for me. When I was younger I expressed all my moods with colors. A lot of black was used….

              • I wish I could afford not to make-up. Unfortunately I can’t and I’m not good at it.

                However I’m fascinated by beauty standards and related social rules about shaving armpits, legs…
                Victorian clothes were part of women’s oppression. They couldn’t move. They had to stay still and look pretty. (well at least in high classes) That stuff to help them wear their tight gloves is incredible.

                • The gloves thing is incredible but when I think of some of the shoes I wore or wear…
                  Beauty standards are so odd… With my white skin I would have been better off as a Victorian…
                  Usually you don’t need a lot of make up anyway. I like doing it but think less is more. I just like lip stick and love nail polish in every color. A bit of eye shadow…
                  I guess you don’t like doing it and maybe that’s why you think you are not good at it.
                  I think it’s fun, another way to express yourself.

  4. This is totally fascinating! I love this sort of social history–it’s amazing what you can learn about a society by the smaller little day to day items. Interesting about the ‘negative’ advertising–nothing like selling a product by telling you you smell and need deodorant! I wonder if I can get my hands on that book over here!

    • It is great, really and their enthusiasm is so contagious. I found the bit about the negative advertising extremely enlightening. It hadn’t ocurred to me that that might be a fairly recent thing but then I was also convinced the Victorians wore make-up.
      The book is very expensive. I haven’t made my mind up yet, wether I want to order it or not but I would love to read it.

  5. Pingback: History Of Cosmetics Book - WORLD COSMETİCS – WORLD COSMETİCS

  6. Pingback: Victorian Make Up and Nail Art | Construindo Victoria

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