Posted by Jane Elizabeth on August 22, 1997 at 14:01:18:
In reply to cosmetics and Regency...What's the scoop? posted by Clarily on August 22, 1997 at 11:01:06
"Jane Austen in Style" has a section on this. Apparently the custom of whitening one's face had not completely died at the start of the 19th century (remember Lord Tilney's countess friend in the film of Mansfield Park?). There was lead in the whitening product used, which didn't help one's health much. This was also the time when wig-wearing and powdering by men began to fade.
I think by the second decade, a natural look was considered more appealing and cosmetics began to be associated with loose women. Note the discussions about face creams in Persuasion. They were expected to improve the complexion but not hide it. Also, Austen's letters discuss hair styling in great detail, but not cosmetics, leading one to believe they were not used much.
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