A Moment in Time: The Endless Pursuit of Beauty - Page 2
The Victorian woman’s hair was her most prized possession. Curly hair was the most popular, in the belief that curly hair indicated a sweeter, more gentle disposition. For the unfortunate straight haired women, hairpieces were widely available. Most hairpieces were meant to be worn in pairs and styled off of the neck to display the fragile neck and shoulders. These hairpieces are applied similarly to the clip-on hair extensions women use today and for many of the same reasons.
Due to poor hygiene, lack of sanitation, and the suffocating layers of clothing, women began wearing perfumes to mask offensive odors. Many perfumes companies originated in the 1700‘s for the use in hospitals and mortuaries but became popular among those trying to disguise over-powering smells. The year 1858 was know as the “Great Stink of London”, in which the government had to finally step in and create a sewerage system. Guerlain introduced a new “shocking” perfume scent to the market. Floral perfumes were the most common at the time, but Guerlain’s “Jicky” infused new fragrances from sandalwood, fern, and tonka bean. It’s popularity exploded when society received word that it was being used by Empress Eugénie de Montijo of France, wife of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and ruler of the second French Empire.
Women’s lives have changed a great deal over the years. However; we still share a similar objective. Women strive for beauty and will remain loyal to their favorite cosmetic for the promise of a more beautiful appearance. Makeup and beauty products have significantly advanced in technology over the years but are surprisingly similar. In fact, some products are still made using toxic, carcinogenic materials.
My next article will be about the endless pursuit of beauty in the early 1900’s. Some of the beauty regimens include using X-ray machines and strong hydrogen sulfides as hair removing depilatories. I'll also include old Hollywood glamour makeovers that you have to see to believe!