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Historical Makeup Looks You Can Try at Home

Posted:
23 October 2019
Posted By:
Hannah Silverman
Categories:
Historical How Tos, History Uncovered
A compilation of makeup looks from English Heritage's History Inspired Makeup Tutorial

The Romans liked a smokey eye, the Georgians were ahead of their time with festival-ready hair pastels and Queen Victoria mastered the ultimate ‘no-makeup’ makeup look years before it trended on Instagram. 

In our step-by-step History Inspired Makeup Tutorial series we explore what makeup can tell us about the people and places of our past. Filmed at our historical places around the country, Fashion Historian Amber Butchart and Makeup Artist Rebecca Butterworth explain how makeup has mirrored the evolution of England’s rich social and political history.

You can watch the full series on YouTube, but in this blog we’ve summarised five key looks from some of our favourite periods of English history.

Makeup Artist Rebecca Butterworth (L) and Fashion Historian Amber Butchart (R) show you how to recreate the Roman look.

Makeup Artist Rebecca Butterworth (L) and Fashion Historian Amber Butchart (R) show you how to recreate the Roman look in our History Inspired Makeup Tutorial series.


1. Queen Elizabeth I Makeup Tutorial

Filmed on location at… Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Gardens, Warwickshire

The look: Porcelain skin, rosy cheeks and ruby lips

Fun fact: ‘Egg on your face’ was very much a trend set by one of England’s longest-reigning queens. The monarch used egg whites to create a skin primer that the Elizabethans believed would tighten your skin, reduce pores and prevent freckles.

2. 1930s Makeup Tutorial

Filmed on location at… Eltham Palace and Gardens, London

The look: Red lips, glossy eyelids and thin arched eyebrows

Fun fact: We can thank Hollywood starlet Marlene Dietrich for a 20th century take on the smokey eye we know and love today. The actress and singer would burn a candle on the underside of a saucer and mix the soot with Vaseline to create her signature look.

3. Queen Victoria Makeup Tutorial

Filmed on location at… Osborne, Isle of Wight

The look: Fair skin, flush of colour on the cheek and neat hair

Fun fact: Queen Victoria wasn’t a fan of makeup. However her dresser, Freida Arnold, revealed that her majesty used elderflower water to wash her face and hands, and chamomile tea to bathe her eyes.

4. Georgian Makeup Tutorial (Male and Female)

Filmed on location at… Kenwood, London

The look: Pale skin, dark black eyebrows and flushed rosy cheeks

Fun fact: The Georgians used the secret language of face patches to communicate. Made of silk, velvet or fine leather, the position of a patch on the face could symbolise a secret meaning. For example patches could represent coquettishness or passion – or even be a sign of your political persuasion.

5. Roman Makeup Tutorial

Filmed on location at… Wroxeter Roman City, Shropshire

The look: Oiled skin, bright blue eyeshadow and kohl-lined eyes

Fun fact: In an age before social media influencers and the concept of celebrity, the Romans looked to coins for beauty inspiration. Empresses like Julia Domna, who inspired our look in the video, featured on the currency that was used around the empire and helped to set beauty trends.


What’s next?

Join us for our next History Inspired Makeup Tutorial as we take you back to the 1940s when ‘beauty was a duty’. Keep an eye on our channel as our next episode is released in November.

In the meantime, subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive updates on our latest videos.

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  • About the Author

    Hannah Silverman
    Hannah is a writer and Digital Content Editor at English Heritage

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