Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blog 2: Makeup Is For Whores!

Okay, the title is a little misleading. However, at one point in time, makeup was seen as something lower class women would wear.

Originally, makeup was worn by the "elite" or royalty. The earliest known makeup was made from copper and lead and worn by the Egyptians, most notably, Cleopatra. Famously depicted in her gold eye shadow and thick black liner, she wears one of the most noticeable makeup looks in history. The trend of makeup being only for the elite continued for a while until around the 1800s when social etiquette became more frigid and makeup was frowned upon.  Pale skin was a sign of pureness and gentility. Around the 1900s makeup was beginning to be worn by the "society ladies" but was still not spoken of. Cosmetics were actually kept under the counter and sold discretely because the ladies did not want anyone to know they were buying let alone using the products. In the 1920s, the ideal image for women was to be slim, completely natural and free of makeup and to keep a boyish silhouette. The 1920s was also the era of the flapper. Flappers were frowned upon because of their drinking, smoking, style of dane, and heavy makeup. Because of this they were seen as lower class. However, around the 40s and 50s, once everyone's favorite movie stars were seen wearing makeup, it was no longer taboo and then became "popular".

Now, that brief history of makeup may not be the most interesting or detailed, but it is just an example to show the cycle of something that is popular. What was once seen as something for the elite and royalty was then turned into something only "loose" or lower class women would wear. And then the cycle continues thereafter. 

In the 1900s, makeup was originally colored creams, waxes and flower petals for blush and lipstick and burnt matchsticks to darken the eyelash area. In 1909 the first known cosmetic company was started. This company was and still is known as Max Factor. Although there were other local companies that sold "makeup", Max Factor was the first company to distribute outside of their local area in 1927. Due to his strong connection with the film community Max Factor was able to use celebrity endorsements in advertising his products. This definitely came in handy when appealing to the masses. 

The same thing happens today. When someone sees their favorite celebrity wearing something whether it is clothes, makeup, or a hairstyle, they try to copy it. Think of Jennifer Aniston's hair from when she played Rachael in the shoe "Friends". That was the most copied celebrity hairstyle at that time. If you search "celebrity makeup tutorial" on YouTube, you will end up with over 2,600 results.

This boom in the interest of makeup has been very beneficial for the makeup industry. The billion dollar industry is able to market products for the "high end" clientele with the most expensive beauty product (a $600 for 1 oz. skin serum) to the lower end of the spectrum with products you can pick up from the beauty supply store. Even though now makeup can be and is for every woman, the industry still finds a way to divide the masses.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.