The source of tremendous power and the focus of incredible devotion, throughout history notions of beauty have been integral to social life and culture. Each age has had its own standards: a gleaming white brow during the Renaissance, the black eyebrows considered charming in the early eighteenth century, and the thin lips thought desirable by Victorians. Beauty has ensured good marriages, enabled social mobility and offered fame and notoriety, and has led women ? and some men ? to remarkable lengths in cultivating it, from the dangerous quantities of lead applied by Elizabeth I, to the women of the 1940s and '50s, who employed face powder, lipstick and mascara to look their best during the privations of war and austerity, creating a chic appearance to which many still aspire.
Beauty and Cosmetics 1550 to 1950