History of Skincare Part 13: The Elizabethan Era, 1500-1599

A Northern Renaissance

It took nearly one hundred years for the Italian Renaissance to catch up with the British Isles, but when it did, the results were spectacular. Under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, England began a quest of expansion that saw the creation of new colonies throughout the world. Large portions of India, Africa and North America were built up under British rule. While the merits of British colonialism may be debatable, however, there is no doubt that the Elizabethan Era represented an expansion of thought as well as an expansion of political power. Legendary playwrights and poets such as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare based their works on the same Classical material that had inspired the Italians a century earlier. Clothing became increasingly elaborate and make-up quickly followed suit. At a time when a much greater emphasis was put on appearance than on health, however, hygiene and skincare often fell by the wayside.

The Elizabethan Look

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. In spite of the extreme ornamentation of their clothing, however, the face was still the focal point of the look and cosmetics took on a much greater importance than they had in Medieval England.

Queen Elizabeth is often credited with being the first of her time to adopt a completely made-up appearance. While she may have been the first, however, the noblewomen of Britain quickly followed suit. 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 vermilion. The first lip sticks were made during this time by putting sun-dried vermilion and ground plaster into a device similar to a pen. (Go here to learn more about the Elizabethan lipstick-making process: http://www.cosmetic-business.com/en/showartikel.php?art_id=1409 ) To add a glazed appearance to their look, women would coat their face, make-up and all, in a layer of egg white.

The Great Coverup

During the Elizabethan Era, elaborate make-up was seen as a sign of nobility, because few common people could afford the lead powders and dried vermilion used to create the popular look. As the century wore on, however, cosmetics also began to be associated with disease. Poor hygiene had led to a number of serious plague and smallpox outbreaks and many survivors still carried horrible scars and pock marks on their faces. While disease was rampant among rich and poor alike, only the rich had access to the expensive cosmetics that would cover their scars. Strengthening the connection between make-up and poor health, doctors at this time began to discover that lead powder was not as safe as had previously been thought. Women rarely washed their faces, choosing instead to layer new powder over the old, and years of this treatment were found to turn the skin underneath a dull shade of gray. While many doctors recommended switching to an alum or tin-ash based powder, lead prevailed in popularity.

Many women went great lengths of time without cleaning the powder from their faces. When they did want to remove their make-up, however, they found that the thick, caked-on lead was not easily removed with water alone. In order to strip the cosmetic layers, they turned to a combination of skincare science and superstition, washing their faces with everything from gentle rainwater or donkey’s milk to more astringent red wine or urine. Mercury was also among the common skin care products used to treat acne, wrinkles, scars and discoloration. While it did effectively remove these blemishes, it did so by corroding the surface of the skin and often caused scars that were far worse than those it removed. (Go here to learn more about Elizabethan cosmetics and hygiene: http://www.fragrancex.com/fragrance-information/elizabethan-makeup.aspx )

In spite of the health concerns of the day, Elizabethan women were known for their excessive beauty and cosmetic practices. It was these excesses, among others, however, that would cause a Puritan revolt in the next century and see Oliver Cromwell take control of the British throne.

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6 Daily Skin Care Routine For Working Women: Simple And Easy

Each morning is a challenge for busy women – rushing around the home to prepare breakfast, finishing other tasks from the office, and whole lot more! So, how about your beauty routine? You might be skipping it. Oh no! That’s not good if you’re doing so. Especially when it comes to your skin care, you must pay a great attention. Lack of skin care can end up to dull skin, ageing, acne breakouts, and other negative effects.

So, we’ve searched for skin care tips a busy woman like you can do to make sure you’ll have an easy and effective skin care routine.

  1. Wash your face every morning. Use with a gentle cleanser. First off, know your skin types before you use your daily face cleanser to avoid negative effects. In case you have dry skin, use a non-lathering facial cleanser. For oily skin, use a gentle foaming face. In case of sensitive acne prone skin, select an acne-fighting cleanser.
  2. Use toners. Not all facial cleansers carefully clean the trace of oil and dirt. That’s why it’s best to use toner. Use a swipe of cotton pad and dab with toner in your skin and you’ll see it will clean the dirt and residue left by facial wash. When you tone, your pores shrink which prevents acne and pimple from forming. Just remember, always use an alcohol-free toner.
  3. Moisturize. All types of skin need moisturizing. Also, if you need to go out in the morning or during the day, do not forget to apply sunscreen. For busy women, pick a multipurpose product which has sun protection, hydration and at the same time, used as foundation. Products such as BB and CC creams can be your BFF. They act as serum, moisturizer, foundation, primer, and mostly as sunscreen with SPF.
  4. Always bring facial wipes or facial cleansing sprays with your accessories. Whether you have oily, dry or combination skin, everyone has to deal with oil and sweats. In case your work requires you to spend a great amount of time under the sun (if you’re working in the field, for instance), always bring a bottle of sunscreen in your bag. Apply every after 2-3 hours.
  5. When you got home after the whole day’s work, you may feel awful and look haggard. Imagine that sweaty, oily, and tired face… not a very good sight, right? Wash your face with facial cleanser and then use toner. Too, you can also spray some rose water to freshen up instantly.
  6. Here’s a bedtime skin care routine for you. Wash your face with a mild cleanser half an hour before sleeping. Or, you can just wipe your face with baby wipes. Dab your night cream and gently massage it to your face. You can also use a good and gentle eye cream. The best night cream is the one which is rich in antioxidants and other anti-ageing ingredients. The most important, get a complete and great night’s sleep. This is because our cell repair happens during our sleep.

Additional Tips for Busy Women to Keep Skin Glowing and Healthy

Why you Need to Exfoliate

As we age, our skin is constantly renewing itself and shedding dead skin cells. Exfoliation can speed help us achieve a brighter skin tone. It’s not necessary to exfoliate daily. But it’s important to do this at least twice a week. Aster exfoliating, use toner and moisturizer.

How about Face Mask? You can prepare and put your face pack while you are getting your breakfast or lunch ready. Meaning, you can still do some home chores while you have the face pack on.

To maintain a healthy skin in your busy schedule, here are additional things to remember:

– Sip warm water and lemon juice as a detoxifier to start your day.

– Avoid junk foods. Instead, consume fresh, organic fruits and green, leafy vegetables. They are full of antioxidants and nutrients.

– Make sure to rehydrate by drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily.

– Get a good night’s sleep. Nothing can replace that as the best form of rest.

– Use natural ingredients for your face pack. Do some search about avocado, for instance.

– Have a moisturizer and lip balm in your bag, as well as moisturizer, especially if you’re working inside an air-conditioned room.

Know more skin care tips? Feel free to share.

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