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28 December 2016

19th Century Beauty Standards + A Diamond Giveaway

Do you ever stop to think about how thankful you were born when you were and not before that?  I'm going to be honest with you all.  I'd have never made it in the 1800s.  Not in America, not in London, not anywhere.  I really love the Internet, my iPhone, and my flat iron too much to have been happy in that time period.  

FX Networks has a new show, Taboo, that's set in London in the 19th century.  My husband and I can't wait to the show to start.  In honor of the show, I'm going to share with you why I wouldn't want to live in the 19th century, specifically because of their somewhat unconventionalif not dangerous!beauty ideas.

Set in 1814, Taboo follows James Keziah Delaney, a man who has been to the ends of the earth and comes back irrevocably changed. Believed to be long dead, he returns home to London from Africa to inherit what is left of his father's shipping empire and rebuild a life for himself. But his father's legacy is a poisoned chalice, and with enemies lurking in every dark corner, James must navigate increasingly complex territories to avoid his own death sentence. Encircled by conspiracy, murder and betrayal, a dark family mystery unfolds in a combustible tale of love and treachery.

The early 1800s were definitely a different time.  I mean if the show was aired now, he would just have to send a text so they knew he wasn't dead or stalk his Facebook or Twitter.  

It was also a different time for women.  In honor of the Taboo FX premier, I'm going to share with you some shocking 19th century beauty tips.  Please do not try these at home!

19th Century Beauty Standards


In the 19th century, they bathed more than they did in previous centuries.  Which is to say, they bathed about once a week.  However, the poor bathed about once a month.  They used tepid water and exfoliated with a harsh washcloth.  It was thought that adding bleach or ammonia would clear your complexion.

Pale Complexions

The paler your complexion, the higher you were thought to be in society.  Women often used lead-based paints and creams laced with poisons.  Rich women would actually eat items that we now know to be toxic in an attempt to lighten their skin tone.


Makeup was worn by performers and prostitutes.  Higher class women didn't want to be mistaken for these low classes of women, so they wore makeup sparingly similar to today's "no makeup makeup" look.  They might sweep on some rouge and be done.


Ladies in the 19th century did wear some eyeliner, but it was a far cry from what we wear today.  Instead of safe, tested products, they used nitric oxide of mercury mixed with leaf lard.  If these weren't on hand, they would use lampblack applied with a hairpin.  


Eyelashes were thought to be unruly.  They would use tiny scissors to trim their eyelashes every other day to avoid looking like they had fringe.  That's quite the contrast from today's wanting long, thick, and full lashes.  

Hair Washing

Or rather, not hair washing.  They thought that water could damage hair, so they avoided getting it wet.  They used a towel to wipe off surface dirt and brushed for 30 minutes at a time during breaks in their day.  

Yikes!  I am so glad that I wasn't born in the 19th century!  Even though I wouldn't have wanted to live then, I still find the time period fascinating.  Don't forget to tune in to Taboo on FX on January 10 to learn more about the 19th century.


You can enter to win a series of diamonds valued at more than $3,000!  

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Cari Dunn
Cari Dunn

Cari lives on a small farm in Ohio with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, five goats, several chickens, and homing pigeons. She loves Gilmore Girls, coffee, and her kids. Not in that order.