Cosmetics in the Victorian Age

When Queen Victoria took power in 1837, the thriving British cosmetic industry underwent many changes to correspond with the strict self-discipline of the Victorian era. This included a marked reduction in cosmetic usage due to the changing religious views and social morals of the age which sought to suppress both sexuality and flirtatious behaviour, which makeup was believed to contribute towards. Clergymen spoke of the decadence of “painted ladies” by making comparisons between Victorian women in makeup and disgraced biblical figures like Jezabel. Queen Victoria also spoke of the uncivilised nature of makeup use. But despite this demonising of cosmetics, imported products from Paris and Rome still found their way into Britain due to the high demand.

Like other civilisations before them, the Victorians saw pale skin as a symbol of feminine beauty, and encouraged women to neglect makeup and refrain from covering their natural skin tone. Cosmetic merchants quickly adapted to this by creating products that deliberately enhanced pale skin, such as those containing Zinc Oxide, a much safer concoction than light-skin formulas of the past that often contained lead. Cosmetics also remained prominent in British society through women’s choosing to paint fine blue lines on their skin to make it appear luminous enough for the veins underneath to be seen, as this was also considered a sign or great beauty.

But that’s not all. In the desire to achieve a pale and almost unwell looking appearance, women would accentuate the dark rings around their eyes by smearing red rogue onto their cheeks and lips. Other ways of subtly using cosmetics for a natural look were to use the aristocracy approved practice of eye painting, which acted as an early form of eyeshadow and considered respectable when used in small amounts. Red and black were the main colours of choice, but they had to be applied carefully because if used in excess these colours were associated with ‘fallen women’.

One way for women to continue using the cosmetics they were denied was to make products themselves from household ingredients. Although these concoctions certainly weren’t Philip Kingsley quality, these makeshift cosmetics included methods similar to modern cosmetic production, including applying castor oil to eyelids and beeswax to lips for a glossy look. Crushed flower petals, especially roses, were also rubbed onto lips to give the impression of being redder and fuller.

In order to use makeup successfully without discrimination, women hid their collection of cosmetics in ‘toilet chests’, which today we refer to as ‘cosmetic cases’ and ‘makeup boxes’. These chests were practical because they could easily be hidden in unassuming places around the home, and were able to be discreetly concealed when travelling. These chests often included secret compartments where the more vilified of cosmetics could be hidden, like homemade blushers. Another way for women to hide their use of imported foreign cosmetics was to empty the contents of the original bottle into a non-descript container which they could then pass off as a perfectly acceptable product like medicinal cream.

Negative Effects of Paraben and How to Avoid Them With Organic Cosmetics

Paraben is the most commonly used type of preservative added to cosmetics and is widely used in the pharmaceutical industries. It is not just limited to cosmetic products but is found in shampoos, moisturizers, personal lubricants, shaving gels, deodorants, and more. As this might be the case, do you know that the use of Paraben is now a controversial ingredient because of its negative effects on our health? Let us explore this subject and find out why organic cosmetics are better compared to synthetic and artificial products.

Negative Effects of Paraben

While it is true that Paraben is a powerful and effective preservative, it comes with greater cost – cost that you do not want to pay just to gain its advantages. Here is a quick list of the negative effects of Paraben as a cosmetic preservative.

• Dermatologic reactions – skincare and cosmetic products containing Paraben can potentially lead to allergic reactions. The symptoms may include itching, paresthesia, rash, skin inflammation, and others.

• Breast cancer – among the most controversial issues that lead to the fear of using of Paraben are the studies suggesting that breast cancer is linked to Paraben. One strong indication that this is true is the presence of Paraben in tumor tissues. Paraben has the ability to mimic estrogen – a hormone that increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Recent studies suggest that Paraben end up in breast tissues through the chemicals applied on the skin – namely, deodorant, makeup, lotion, and other cosmetic products. These studies popularize the need to replace Paraben-containing cosmetic with organic skincare.

• Rapid skin aging – what you thought will make you look younger and more radiant is actually damaging your skin. It was found out that Paraben, when applied on the skin, will react to ultraviolet rays from the sun and hasten skin aging. Moreover, it is later made known that Paraben can damage DNA and protein building blocks of the body.

• Negative effects on men – women are not the only one vulnerable to Paraben, men too. It is found out that Paraben has direct correlation to the increased incidence of testicular cancer, male breast cancer, impotence, gynecomastia (breast enlargement), decreased sperm count, declining physical male characteristics, and others.

There are other things that you need to know about Paraben and a simple search for it on the Internet and health journal will tell you there are overwhelmingly strong evidences Paraben is truly bad to our health. Switching to organic cosmetics products After reading the negative effects of Paraben, there is no doubt that you need to make the switch. Cosmetic products are meant to make you more beautiful and not cause you health problems. Thankfully, health and beauty industry is now turning to organic and natural substances to manufacture their products. You deserve to be beautiful without making harm to your health. It is time for you to make the switch. Choose organic cosmetics for safer and more effective results.