Today the idea for many women who follow the latest in fashion is to project a more natural, realistic look. A stronger sense of self identity and security has afforded women to have a more relaxed attitude regarding their personal lives and individual lifestyle. This, of course, as a consequence is expressed in the way in which they “put themselves together.” Having been bombarded with over a century of cosmetic advertising many women have made the decision to break free of these restrictions, and are now deciding for themselves their individual persona. Their choice has resulted in women expressing and showing more of themselves and relaying less on what makeup hides. Indeed, why should they camouflage themselves by not showing who and how they really are? We all are familiar with the saying “less is more,” and it appears that abandoning makeup and using just a small indiscreet touch does more in bringing to the surface the genuine, natural beauty of women.
We ask ourselves is this concept new? Well, the answer is decisively “no.” The make-up of the time in the fifteen to sixteen hundreds in Europe was to make the face as white as possible (attained by layer upon layer of white powder) and patches of a rouge like color on the cheeks. This was only done by the aristocrats to show to the world that they, with their white faces, led a life that kept them out of the sun, and thus distinguished them from the working class which was always tan due to working outside. This continued into the seventeen hundreds where it became extreme, and the white powder took over totally and ushered in the powdered wig both for men and women. The eighteen hundreds rebelled to this and led to the fashion of a more natural look in make-up that lasted until the end of World War One. Make-up returned fostering various “painted looks” and remained a fashion for all classes for the first time. In the twentieth century when motion pictures in color appeared a problem arose: “film processing distorted the color of peoples’ made up faces.” The world famous chemist Max Factor ended this problem by creating “Pancake make-up.” This concept revolutionized all areas of make-up and still reigns today.So, now looked at from both a historic, as well as the progression of women’s status, we can better understand how make-up plays its part in today’s women’s lives.