This Makeup Artist Recreated the Best Makeup Looks From the Past 2,000 Years
We might blame YouTube for the countless intense makeup trends we see floating around, but they clearly go farther back than anything on the Internet.
As it turns out, investigating the history of beauty throughout the centuries reveals that each passing decade has had its own makeup "trend" that reflected the values and cultural norms of the time. In a new video titled "Best and Worst Makeup Moments in History," makeup artist Lisa Eldridge recreates the popular beauty looks from different eras in history, from ancient Egypt to the Medieval Ages to the 1920s flapper era and later in the 20th century.
And she totally nails them all.
"I kept thinking about this idea of, 'If I was to have a time machine, where and when would I want to be transported back to? Which were the best and worst moments in history for makeup lovers?'" Eldridge says in the video.
What follows is a mesmerizing beauty lesson through the ages from a makeup artist whose clients include top models like Kate Moss and actresses like Emma Watson. (The video is a preview to her book, Face Paint, in which Eldridge details how and "why the items in your makeup bag got to be there.")
As it turns out, makeup can say a lot to say about what it's like to be a person — especially a woman — in any era.
Makeup as a history of womanhood: She begins the video with the ancient Egyptian men and women, who both regularly wore eyeliner and experimented with makeup — a reflection of their rather egalitarian society.
In later centuries, makeup became a status and class symbol, with aristocrats in 16th-century Venice favoring full faces with plenty of rouge color and powder. An obsession with blush was also pretty common in 18th-century France among the court elite.
That's all a far cry from other eras like the Medieval period, when early Christian writers associated any makeup with deception.
The Victorian era also maintained a barely-there aesthetic ideal, since Queen Victoria eschewed any makeup as not being classy, Eldridge says in the video. That didn't stop women from trying to get some color on their faces. They would pinch their cheeks and bite their lips so get a rosy dew, which brings a whole new meaning to a "natural" face.
As Eldridge shows, things really started taking a bigger turn during the 1920s, when makeup became empowering and playful thanks to silent movie sirens. That made way for the winged eyeliner of the 1960s, for example, and the colorful eyeshadows of the 1980s.
Makeup-lovers these days are proud about how much they love to contour and strobe their faces. Some men have joined in the fun too, helping break down gender stereotypes from older generations.
Still, we can't help but think: No matter how many beauty tutorials there are on the web, it looks like older generations were having more fun painting their faces. Which means it might be time to start a experimenting a little more. After all, there's plenty of makeup inspiration throughout the ages.