5 Top Beauty Tips – Georgian Style!

by | May 10, 2016 | 0 comments

Modern beauty trends can sometimes seem bizarre but they have nothing on our Georgian ancestors. Here are five hot beauty tips from the 18th Century:

1. Looking all white. Far from our modern sun tans, the Georgian ideal of beautiful skin had to be as pale as possible. To achieve this both men and women liberally coated their skins with creams whose ingredients included vinegar, horse manure and lead. Unsurprisingly, the latter caused all sorts of problems from skin and eye disorders, digestive problems and, in extreme cases, death. But what a fashionable looking corpse.

2. Huge hair. If you thought hair in the 1980s was big, take a look at some Georgian portraits. Rich folk employed armies of stylists to maintain their high piled locks. Hair powder made from flour or starch was applied using a pair of bellows and curling tongs were also invented during this period. Flowers and wax fruit were put into the hair as decorations. Modelling sailing ships also crested the waves.

3. Mouse brows anyone? With the liberal application of lead in face makeup, it was common for people’s eyebrow hairs to fall out. Eventually it became fashionable to pluck or shave eyebrows and replace them with false ones painted on in burnt cork or, you guessed it, lead. Poet Matthew Prior penned a satirical ode about Helen and Jane, two ladies who had eyebrows made from mouse skins.

4. Padded out. Some modern celebrities may be said to have built their careers on nothing more than an ample and shapely backside. In Georgian times, men wore tight trousers to emphasise the shape of their legs. They also took the opportunity to employ extra padding to provide them with perfectly formed buttocks as well. Is that what is known as “bottoming out”?

5. Who’s smile is that? Georgians loved their sugary confections and this took a heavy toll on their teeth. Tooth powders were employed to keep them white using ingredients such as cuttlefish, bicarbonate of soda and the mysterious spirit of vitriol. Rest assured, this was not yet another version of lead but sulphuric acid which did the whitening job by stripping the teeth of their enamel. Not surprisingly many Georgians subsequently required dental attention, without anaesthetic of course. If teeth needed to be removed they could readily be replaced by a “live” tooth purchased from a willing donor. In some cases teeth were replaced with those from dead bodies and Waterloo teeth became popular – that is teeth from the fallen soldiers at the battle of that name.

Luckily modern treatments are a lot safer and much more enjoyable and in Gloucester some of the best can be found at Therapy by Sam Baggott. Contact Sam on 01452 539751 or 07788 425634 for an appointment or take a look around the website therapybysambaggott.co.uk