Timeless Beauty: The Victorian Vixen

The Victorian Vixen - a woman with a classic sensibility, graceful style and a gift for a minimal look with maximum allure.

Victorian Vixen - I say this with tongue-in-cheek as the dictum of the day for the Victorian woman was that of virtue and high moral fiber. Cosmetics were scorned for the average lady (actresses and prostitutes excluded) as part of this high standard, yet still available under the medicinal and clinical guise of keeping healthy, clean and dutifully tidy.

Rather than just trying to look smokin'.

The look of the day was a natural one, achieved with secretive, sometimes lengthy, slight-of-hand artifice that would hopefully go undetected as a cosmetic and be mistaken, instead, for vibrant, healthful youth. It was kind of the original "no make up" makeup look that is still wildly popular today.

SKIN

Flawless, pale skin was coveted and achieved with at-home preparations, as well as by employing a pale white face paint. A popular face whitener of the day - Creme Celeste - contained a blend of wax, spermaceti (a popular ingredient of the day originating from the head of whales), sweet almond oil, glycerin and floral essences including rose attar and bergamot. Other whitening options were powders made of rice, zinc oxide or pearl powder (made of bismuth and French clay), which also gave a luminous glow. To enhance their pallor, some would even go as far as accentuating facial veins by painting them blue with pencils or powders.

Needless to say, a lady did not go into the sun for a tan, rather she donned a hat and carried a parasol to keep away the sun's rays.

To maintain a clear, vibrant bloom on the skin, ladies used floral waters of rose, orange blossom and violet, as well as natural oils, plants and waxes. 

LIPS

Lips might be graced with a sheer beeswax balm, sometimes laced with alkanet root to create a lip rouge with subtle color.

EYES

Although eye makeup was considered suitable in quantity for only a "lady of the night," black "liner" was applied very sparingly to accentuate the eyes without detection. Coats of beeswax followed by a dark powder, sometimes soot, created a dark-lashed, doe-eyed look. Unruly brows were tamed by plucking.

CHEEKS

Blush was mostly considered garish, but that didn't stop ladies from employing plant ingredients such as beetroot, alkanet and berries to tint cheeks a healthy, natural glow. Cream rouge was also available for purchase.

What is your beauty style? Do you prefer a natural, minimalist look? 

Are you a Victorian Vixen? ;)