History of Skincare Part 14: The Baroque Era, 1600-1699

The Reign of Ornamentation

In many ways, the seventeenth century began where the sixteenth century left off. Taking their example from royalty such as Queen Elizabeth of England and the queen of Spain, also named Elizabeth, women wore elaborately-constructed gowns that featured structured neck ruffs, form-fitting bodices and stiff, wide skirts. The seventeenth century was a time of change and a time of extremes, however, and both clothing and cosmetics began to take on a greater role as indicators not only of social class, but of religion and nationality as well. Because skincare practices were intrinsically tied to cosmetics, they varied as greatly as all other aspects of fashion.

In spite of the increasing variety of styles, the Baroque period was predominantly a time of ornamentation. Baroque artists and trendsetters took an architectural approach to everything from music to sculpture to painting to fashion. Emphasis was put on the fine details. Music featured elaborate trills. Buildings and churches were decorated with twisted spires, decorated domes and exquisite carvings. Fashion attempted to mimic this ornamentation with complexly-patterned fabrics and structured garments. Women continued to powder their faces with thick, white lead and to paint their lips with vermilion.

Extremes and Contradictions

The Baroque Era saw many extremes in skincare, fashion and philosophy. The Puritans, a strict religious group who rejected what they saw as ungodly excess, designed their own simple clothing to act as an alternative to contemporary fashion. Puritan women were expected to cover their bodies and to hide their natural shape. They chastely covered their hair and did not wear any of the powders or colorings worn by fashionable women of the day. Like their dress, their skincare regimes were simple and practical. Because they did not cake their faces in powder, water was often enough to remove the dirt, oil and impurities from their skin.

While the Puritans may have set British styles throughout much of the century, other European countries were far less conservative in their approach to fashion and cosmetics. When Louis XIV took the French throne in 1661, he ushered in an age of excess in Western Europe. The French court was known for its elaborate banquets and its even more elaborate styles. While blond hair had long been fashionable, both women and men began to desire increasingly pale hair. What started as a light dusting of hair powder soon became thicker and eventually opened the door to elaborate white wigs. Face make-up became increasingly elaborate as well. Women began to paste black beauty marks on their faces. While these were at first intended to cover up blemishes, they soon became works of art in themselves. Beauty marks were made in decorative shapes such as flowers, stars, moons and ships, and many women wore several beauty marks at a time. (You can read more about Baroque fashion here: http://www.ehow.co.uk/info_8537616_baroque-clothing-styles.html )

Baroque Invention

The Baroque period saw a number of inventions that influenced fashion, hygiene and skincare. The printing press had been refined during the Italian Renaissance and Baroque Europe took advantage of the improvement in technology. Fashion magazines were distributed across the continent and even as far away as the Americas. Much like today’s fashion glossies, these magazines showed pictures of the latest European styles and talked about trends in cosmetics and skincare.

Several of these trends included newly developed hygiene and skin care products. While perfumes and colognes had been popular for a number of decades, perfumed soaps were new to the market. These new scented soaps were all the rage across Europe and provided women with a trendy new way to clean the powder from their faces. The late seventeenth century also saw the introduction of toothbrushes. Based on a Chinese design, these brushes gave men and women a new tool for cleanliness and a new way to improve their overall appearance. (You can read more about Baroque soaps and toothbrushes here: http://www.localhistories.org/cosmetics.html )

While the European Baroque attitude toward style and skincare was similar to that of Elizabethan England, it was setting itself up to fail. The Enlightenment of the 18th Century would carry the French court to new heights of excess, but the French Revolution would destroy it, leaving many people to take their cues from the staid, simplistic style of the Puritans.

The Benefits Of Using Natural Skin Care Products

Many of the personal care products sold in retail stores contain harsh chemicals that can be hard on the skin. Ingredients include detergent, dyes, preservatives and synthetic fragrances. These harsh substances can dry out the skin and cause allergic reactions, especially in individuals who are sensitive to certain chemical compounds.

Synthetic soaps contain detergents, which strip away the natural oils that protect skin. Commercial soap makers remove glycerin, a byproduct of the manufacturing process, because it decreases shelf life. Glycerin is a humectant and draws moisture to the surface. Organic soaps contain glycerin, which aids in hydration and prevents dryness and flaking.

The animal oils used in making commercial products are heavily saturated. They clog the pores and interfere with the body’s natural detoxification process of excreting waste. Plant oils, including nut, palm and olive oil, are lighter and allow skin to breathe naturally. The higher the oil content is in the recipe, the softer the bar. If the oil content is too low, the bar is hard and brittle.

Commercially manufactured products use synthetic fragrances and chemical additives to add scent. Essential oils extracted from plants are water-soluble and add fragrance without the use of synthetic ingredients. Certain oils have healing properties that provide additional benefits to users. Oils commonly used for this purpose are eucalyptus, rosemary, spearmint and lavender.

Eucalyptus oil is a natural antiseptic that is useful for healing wounds, burns and cuts. It is also effective for relieving symptoms of insect stings and bites. Some individuals use it to treat various skin infections.

Products that contain rosemary oil have a fresh, herbaceous scent. They can soothe acne symptoms and are good for use on oily skin. Many natural hair care products contain this essential oil.

Like eucalyptus, spearmint oil has antiseptic properties. Menthol, caryophyllene and myrcene components can help heal wounds. Spearmint is also an effective insecticide that repels ants, flies, moths and mosquitoes. It blends well with lavender, rosemary and jasmine.

When added to skin products, lavender soothes and speeds up healing of rashes. It can help reduce inflammation and balance oil production. In some cases, it can prevent scarring.

Consumers who want to avoid using products containing chemical additives can use handmade organic soap as an alternative. These products will not irritate sensitive skin and can provide therapeutic benefits. Like commercial products, organic soaps are available in a wide variety of scents and colors.

5 Natural Skin Care Tips

Everyone wants an acne-free flawless skin. If you are looking some natural skin care tips, you have landed on the right page. The beauty secrets revealed in this article will help you fix your skin care issues so you can get a beautiful skin naturally. Read on to find out more.

1. Remove makeup before bed

Before you go to sleep, don’t forget to remove your makeup. Actually, your skin needs to breath while you are asleep but the makeup won’t let it. What happens is that the makeup clogs the pores making it harder for your skin to breathe. To remove the dirt and makeup, all you have to do is use some olive oil on a fresh cotton pad and then massage your skin with it gently.

Moreover, it’s a good idea to exfoliate your skin at least once a week to get rid of the dead skin cells.

2. Use Sunscreen

For protection against the UVB and UVA rays of the sun, make sure you apply sunscreen. Your skin can get wrinkles if exposed to the sun for a lifetime. Aside from this, the prolonged exposure may cause age spots and many other skin issues. Make sure the sunscreen won’t block the pores on your skin.

It’s not a good idea to skip the sunscreen when it’s cold or cloudy outside. Even if you are going to the beach, apply some sunscreen on your skin.

3. Eat well

Don’t just put anything on your plate. What you need to do is make greens, fresh fruits, vitamins and protein part of your meals. As a matter of fact, if your diet is full of vitamin C, your skin will get better. It’s a good idea to go for a low-sugar diet. This can help you control your insulin levels and your body will be able to sustain a healthy balance.

You may want to stay away from spicy foods, citrus fruits, salt and fried food. What you can do is prefer blander foods like applesauce and oatmeal. Greens and fresh fruits are healthy for your skin.

4. Exercise regularly

For better blood circulation, it’s important that you exercise on a regular basis. Yoga, jogging and running are good choices as they boost the cleaning processes in your body. With this routine, you will notice that your face has started glowing.

5. Sleep well

It’s important to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Not getting enough sleep will make your skin get tired. It will become saggy and you will get bags around your eyes. It’s a good idea to apply some honey on your face on a weekly basis to heal and soothe your skin. Before you go to sleep, don’t forget to moisturize your face.

So, if you are looking for some skin care tips, we suggest that you follow these natural tips. This will cost you nothing, your skin will start glowing, and you will look much younger for your age. Hope this helps.