Strange and Bizarre Beauty Habits of the 1600’s

Women had some strange beauty practices in the 1600’s!

In the mid 1600’s applying makeup or ‘painting’ had become part of the fashionable Lady’s routine which achieved a porcelain perfection and doll-like face. Painting the face and decolette with a face paint called ceruse was popular but not without consequences to all who used this paint because it was composed of a high quantity of lead. That high quantity of lead in the pigment not only corroded the skin but caused hair loss, a disaster for eyebrows and the hairline.1600's 1

Fortunately, the popular plucked hairline was fashionable but, eyebrows were more difficult to disguise. In 1700 a solution was found to the eyebrow issue with mice hide! The hide was cut to the desired shape and glued in place.


1600's hide1600's

A light dabbing of rouge on the cheeks was also applied. Not only were women using mice hide for eyebrows they were also using insects to create the rouge they wore. Red dye was made from the dried bodies of the female insect the cochineal. The rich scarlet dye   was moistened on Spanish wool and rubbed into the cheeks and lips.

cochineal bug 2cochineal_bug2_medium

Beauty spots or ‘patches’ were also worn and made of black silk or black velvet. Where the beauty spot was applied meant different ways to flirt depending of the placement of the patch.

In the corner of the eye: was for passion1600's 4

Situated at the corner of the mouth: was to show off a  pretty smile1600's 6

In the middle of the cheek: was to show gallantry

In the day’s of the 1600’s the patch or beauty spot came in handy to also cover small pox scars and moles.

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