Saturday, June 8, 2013

Make-up History from Madeleine Marsh & Lisa Eldridge

Madeleine Marsh is a writer and historian, and I've had an eye on her book 'The History of Compacts and Cosmetics: Beauty From Victorian Times to the Present Day' for a while. So imagine my pleasure when I came across these YouTube videos from makeup artist Lisa Eldridge where she talks to Marsh about the history of makeup and goes through her very extensive collection of vintage lipsticks, compacts and rouge boxes.


I loved what Marsh said about Victorian era: when makeup was frowned upon, fashion and hair became a substitute for makeup and allowed women to express their personal style.

Camille Clifford, a lady with a tiny waist and big hair.

Though we all know that even then women used all sorts of ointments and some discrete rouge to enhance their features. And certainly actresses did not shy away from makeup both on and off stage.

The second video trances the history of makeup form the harsh times of wartime rationing to the hyper-feminine styles of the 50s (love the little novelty compacts!) to the make-love-not-war freedom of the 60s.    

What I enjoyed most about these videos is that they use actual collectibles to illustrate what makeup and attitudes to makeup were like at different time periods. I'm almost tempted to start collecting vintage makeup myself. Just look at this cute Pierrot compact. Isn't it just the bee's knees?

TOKALON Paris gilded compact, Etsy
The only vintage-looking makeup I own is this lovely little eye shadow by Bourjois Paris from their 2008 Vintage Collection Little Round Pots. The color is a beautiful shimmering brown which is perfect for evenings out. I bought this many years ago when I was visiting France and I still can't forgive myself for not getting all of the limited edition pots with the cute 19th - early 20th century designs.

My very own Bourjois Vintage Collection Little Pot in Marron Glace 

Bourjois Vintage Collection, 2008 

If you want to emulate some of these vintage makeup styles, check out Lisa Eldridge's video tutorials. Take a look at these Tippi Hedren, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn looks. And she has a lot of contemporary makeup tips and tricks on her website.       


  1. I am so sad I missed out on the Bourjois vintage collection, the designs are gorgeous!
    Thank you soooo much for your advice on Tsaritsyno, I just looked it up and it looks gorgeous, hopefully I'll get a chance to visit it :D

    1. Oh, if you get a chance, do! It's really worth it! I have some pics from my visit there last summer, and I've been meaning to post them on the blog for ages. :)


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