TIMELESS BEAUTY

Beltane Beauty Ritual

Today marks the day of Beltane - the ancient Gaelic celebration of fertility, beauty and sexuality. A time when we revel in the Earth blossoming forth and shifting from the cold, to warmer, sunnier days.

Tradition says that washing in the morning dew - before sunrise - will beautify and assist in securing the object of your affection. This magical dew was often gathered from ivy or grass underneath trees. One other account of a rhyme notes that the maid who "..washes in dew from the Hawthorne tree, will forever handsome be."

Dew was often gathered in a jar and allowed to sit in the sunshine, increasing it's power. Some maidens opted to roll around in the dew for whole body beautification - doesn't that sound lovely?

This morning, my youngest daughter and I washed our faces with dew from our lilac bushes.

Create your own May dew ritual any day this month. Step outside just before sunrise and gather morning dew in a jar or bowl. Use this dew to mix with your morning cleanser. You can also apply morning dew to your skin as you would a toner, with a cotton pad. Feel the energy of this powerful time of year infusing your skin with new beginnings, fortifying it with joy and beauty.

Happy Beltane! <3

Medieval Beauty

   Rogier van der Weyden. Portrait of a Lady. c.1460. Note the thin brows,&nbsp;full lips and high forehead. HAWT!&nbsp;

Rogier van der Weyden. Portrait of a Lady. c.1460. Note the thin brows, full lips and high forehead. HAWT! 

Although the popular beauty ethic of The Middle Ages was that of natural beauty - that didn't stop the ladies of the day from employing a bit of artifice to create the illusion of it...

Skin

Medieval skin care focused on achieving a smooth, clear visage with no spots or blemishes (displaying health and lack of smallpox). Preparations to even skin and removed freckles were common - cucumber and strawberry juice, rosemary infused wine or vinegar, as well as other potions containing powdered bulbs, roots, seeds and plant distillates. Other more bizarre treatments included ingredients such as donkey milk, horse manure, bull's blood and even distilled raven.

Face Paints

Could natural, flawlessly pale skin not be achieved, white, sometimes pink or flesh colored paint was commonly used by upper-class women, as well as ladies-of-the-night. Sometimes this paint was a pigment mixed with water and applied or was simply a white powder, the goal of which was to create the look of pale, smooth, flawless skin. 

Rouge

Similar to white face paint, rouge was also used through the Middle Ages by both affluent women and prostitutes, although more frequently by the former. Depending on the region and social standing, colors ranged from rose to orange to bright pink to earthy red. Full, red lips were also prized in the 14th Century.

Eyes

Although not frequently depicted in art or always thought of as proper, eye shadow and eyeliner did exist in the Middle Ages. Shadows in shades of gray, green, brown and blue were used, as well as black liner on the upper lid. Liner was, similar to Egyptian eye kohl, a black pigment mixed with water or salive and applied with a stick.

Brows were worn natural until the 14th century when they were then plucked into a thin line, along with plucking their hairline to show a large expanse of forehead.

Pretty saucy stuff for a Medieval gal...;)

Source for information: Fashions in Makeup by Richard Corson 1972

 

 

Every Gal Needs: A Tango Purse

You are all dolled up and ready for a night on the town and faced with an age-old dilemma: How do I bring along my lipstick and other potions for touch-ups, while still being free enough to cut a rug without a bulky bag on my arm?

Sound familiar?

Enter, the tango purse - one of the greatest beauty inventions of all time.

One part compact, one part purse. 100% genius.

The tango purse, or tango compact, was a flapper's beauty savior. A small, lightweight, metal, multi-compartment compact that hung from a chain, the tango purse provided a stylish and convenient way to carry pressed powder, rouge and lipstick for a night out. Some had all compartments within the compact, while others housed the lipstick in a case that doubled as a handle. A mirror for quick touch-ups was also usually included.

Want your own vintage tango compact? You can find them on sites such as etsy and ebay or by perusing independent antique dealers such as this great selection from Tri-State Antiques. Expect to pay, as many of these compacts are rare and unique.

What I still have yet to understand is - why the heck are tango compacts not available nowadays?