Using makeup in the Victorian era was a secret ritual. Most middle-class women wore it, but only in the most subtle and natural way possible. In the 1840s and 1850s, hair was often worn in full ringlets on each side, with the back part tastefully arrange in plaits with a comb. Learn how to do your hair and makeup the Victorian way with Miss Fey!
You will need:
- Flower petals
- Cold cream, made from ingredients such as rose, almond, elderflower, lavender, sugar oatmeal and lemons
- White face powder
- Pink tinted powder/Blue tinted powder
- Rouge made from ground cochineal beetles, or plants mixed with animal fat, cocoa butter, and wax
- Wash your face with a bowl of clean water filled with flower petals of your choice this could be Rose, Lavender or Camomile (which I have heard was Queen Victoria's favoured choice). This would act as a toner of sorts and cleanse the skin of impurities.
- Apply a cold cream usually made from ingredients such as rose, almond, elderflower, lavender, sugar oatmeal and lemons. This would act as a good base for any face powders, much like our modern-day make-up primers, it gives the powder something to stick to. Face powder would have been the next product applied. Pure white powder lightened the complexion. Colour tinted powders covered up blemishes. Pink tinted powders acted as a blush. Blue tinted powders counteracted the yellow glow of gas and candlelight.
- Now it’s time to move onto the eyebrows and lashes. This could be achieved using something you would find in your spice cabinet at home today...Cloves. Whole cloves would be burnt using a naked flame and the brushed through eyebrows and lashes to leave a dark pigment. It is incredibly effective so if you ever run out of mascara or eyebrow products at short notice, why not try the cloves. Guaranteed to leave you smelling like Christmas all day!
- Finally we come to the rouge! Lip and cheek rouges would usually be made from ground cochineal beetles, or plants mixed with animal fat, cocoa butter, and wax. It would usually come as a solid material and would be applied by warming the product in the fingers and rubbed onto lips and cheeks, remember a little goes a long way! Beetroot was also used as a natural method for adding a bit of colour to the cheeks.
So, remember the no make-up, make-up trend is nothing new and has actually been around for quite some time. Feel free to try some of these make-up and skin care tips yourself but please give the white lead and mercury a very wide berth!"
- You will need:
- A tail comb
- Hair grips (bobby pins) & clips
- Soft hair rollers/rag curlers
- Setting Lotion
- Hair oil/pomade
- Hair Net
- Hair Band
- Fake Flowers/Hair Comb
Method the night before:
- Using your tail comb or a hair grip you will need to create a middle part from you temple to the midway point of your head.
- Now create a T shaped part that hits the highest point of your ear. Scoop up the hair towards the back of your head and either put it in a low ponytail or clip it back so it is out of the way, allowing you to concentrate on the two front sections of hair you should now have left.
- Take medium sized sections of hair and spray them lightly with your setting lotion making sure to run your fingers in a downward motion through the strip of hair to ensure the lotion is spread evenly.
- Next take one of your soft hair rollers, wrapping the very end of the hair first to catch it and keep it from unravelling and twist the roller upwards to create that signature tight ringlet shape.
- Repeat this step for all the loose hair in the forward part of your head, including any fringe hair, this hairstyle works just as well with a fringe, it just requires a few carefully placed hair grips later on!
- Once all the hair in the front part of your head is secured in rollers give it a light spray of the setting lotion all over and cover with a hair net to keep it in place whilst you sleep. The back section can either be left loose or you can tuck it up into the back of the hair net.
Method on the day:
- When you start to get ready for your day, remove the hair net. Gather the hair at the back of your head into a ponytail, securing with a hair band and brush through to get rid of any tangles from sleeping.
- Separate the ponytail into a top and bottom section. Starting with the top plait the hair, a standard plait will do but feel free to do other plaiting patterns, a Dutch braid works well also.
- Once you reach the end of the section of hair temporarily secure it with a hair grip and pull at each side of the plait slightly to create a fuller look. Once you're happy with this, twist it into a bun and secure it with hair grips to the top of the ponytail. Repeat the first part of this step for the bottom section of the ponytail.
- Instead of twisting the bottom plaited section flat like the top you are going to turn this section onto its side and wrap it around that first top bun you made. Secure as before with hair grips.
- Next, we move onto the front section. With this part it is important to trust the process! It will work out in the end. Start by finding that middle part you created in the front and the begin to remove the soft hair rollers. Once they are all out you should be left with beautiful ringlets at either side. It is very important that you do not attempt to brush these, otherwise the ringlet will be completely lost.
- If you have a fringe, spend some time gathering those shorter curls at the front and arranging them at the top of the side ringlet pieces and secure them in place. Take some hair oil or pomade to create that clean middle part at the top of your hair and take care of any fly away hairs. You can gently run the leftover residue on your hands through your ringlets to help position them where you think they achieve the best shape.
- Finally tuck into the top of your bun some pretty fake flowers, Victorian women loved decorating their hair with flowers, or a beautiful hair comb just to finish the look.
The ideal Victorian beauty was one of a pale face, rosy cheeks, and big dark eyes. Pimples, freckles, and blemishes were unsightly. The first cosmetics were made by apothecaries and pharmacists to cure these problems of the skin. Eventually, national brands emerged, creating low-cost face creams advertised at young girls.
Make up products in the nineteenth century were very costly to purchase, so it became common to find home-made recipes in the ladies' magazines of the period that could be made with ingredients found in the pantry at home or cheaply purchased from the chemist.
There were only five main products that were used by ladies at the time and a few of them overlap with skin care which was considered to be quite an important step in both the morning and evening. Even Queen Victoria herself liked a good skin care routine!
Author: Natalie Fay