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Beauty Throughout History

Marilyn Monroe
Photo by L. J. Willinger/Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

I came across a blog post* about how the ideal woman has changed over time. It described the standards of beauty in different eras, and it was actually very interesting.

For instance, did you know that paleness was so deeply coveted in the 1400s that women went to great lengths to whiten their skin? Methods such as mercury and lemon juice were used back then. Tan skin was associated with being poor and having to work out in the sun. A freckle was probably comparable to a pimple now. “Out, damn spot!”

During the Renaissance, a fuller figure was glorified more than a thinner one. Mostly because it was a sign of wealth and the ability to buy fatty foods. With today’s “thigh-gap” trend, it would be nice to look back and appreciate a curvy, hourglass figure again. Marilyn Monroe would be proud!

If you lived in the 19th Century and decide to wear makeup, you were automatically associated with prostitution and therefore, shunned! Queen Victoria labeled it as “vulgar.” Similarly, blonde hair to the ancient Romans was an identifier of prostitution. There was even a law that those who worked in the world’s oldest profession were REQUIRED to dye their hair blonde! (Sorry Elle Woods)

In the 18th Century, women actually shaved their eyebrows off. No, they did not pencil them in with a brown / black face crayon like we do today. Instead, they applied mouse skin to their faces because the ideal color was gray. Erlack!

20's Girl
Photo by Kurt Hutton/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

We all know the Roaring 20s were filled with speakeasies and bootleggers. But did you know that women tried hiding their “female” physical appearance?! Cutting your hair short and binding your chest to appear more boyish was a common trend back then. However, they did like their makeup. Less is more did not apply to them.

*This blog post was found at if you’d like to check it out for yourself.

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