With every decade that goes by, the attitudes and opinions on what is beautiful and what is ugly changes, and this does so, even more, when you go past centuries! Right now, it is all about being slender, toned, with a tanned skin and perfectly white teeth.
Four hundred years ago, it was completely different, and the expectations on what a beautiful woman looked like were so different that they had to go through a completely different beauty regime than we do today. So what exactly would a beautiful woman living in the 1700s have done in order to make sure that they were beautiful in the eyes of the world?
Well, for a start, curly and thick hair was definitely vogue, and hair that was very thin and lank was considered to be very unflattering – almost the opposite of what was fashionable a few years ago when women would straighten the life out of their hair! Hair during the 1700s was therefore often curled while the individual slept by wrapping it in ribbons whilst wet and then being set in place each morning by hot tongs much like the hot curlers that we use today. This would give curls that could fall down the back of the young woman’s neck in a delightfully ‘wild’ way, even though it was generally assumed that the curls were completely false!
Symmetry was prized beyond all anything else, and that was symmetry in the face and in the body too. Having a symmetrical set of ears and eyes, along with a symmetrical pair of lips, was something that was really prized in a young woman, and in many cases that is a feature that is emphasized beyond all others. Having a symmetrical body too – apparently not too tall neither too short, whatever that meant! – was something commented on, and that was the real test of whether a woman was considered to be a beauty or not.
Many women would work hard on being very pale. To have dark and tanned skin was to be someone who had to work for their living, and therefore to be of a lower class. This is why the women who worked in the fields at the time would have tanned arms and faces, whereas the women who could spend all of their time sitting around indoors or in the shade would have pale skin – so pale, in fact, that it was considered beautiful to be able to see the veins underneath! Some women even tried to paint on light blue lines onto their body in order to give the impression that their porcelain skin was thin and delicate! This gave the birth to the expression ‘blue-blooded’, meaning rich, noble, and aristocratic.
Today, having good skin is not necessarily down to chance, it can be something that is created and worked upon just as much as the women of the 1700s who worked hard at keeping their bodies so pale and creamy white. Now, of course, there are many different options available to women who want to keep their faces looking young and healthy, and one of those is to have spray tans instead of having actual tans. In other cases, they can go to a professional who has comprehensive Botox certification to give a much younger look to the face. Others use special creams every single day in order to keep their skin as moisturized and cleansed as possible. However, who knows when having pale skin will come back in fashion just as it was in the 1700s? Fashions do seem to go around and come back again in a cycle, so it should not be too long!