Real Flower Compact Mirror by ABLOOMDesign

Compacts which contain a mirror and often, but not always, face powder have been around since the 1900's. The portable cosmetics allowed women on the go to check their makeup and reapply a dusting of powder or lipstick. Or check if a bit of salad was still on their teeth.   

The compacts themselves without the face powder are also great to have to store small items like mints and so on. A handmade one shows off one's style and can be a great gift.

Check out these great designers!
Shown above is a lovely Real Flower Compact Mirror by ABLOOMDesign. Hong Kong based designer, Li Chiu, designs many beautiful real flower items like smartphone cases.

Below are hand painted wood compacts by Ukrainian designer, HandiCraftsMill

Choose from a selection of brightly colored polymer clay embellished compact mirrors. They are by Oregon based designer, Angela Hickey of PolymerClayCreations.

Want to decorate your own?  Check out these Embroidery Mirror Compact Kits by CuteFunCraft

How to : Victorian Style No-Makeup Makeup Look 

Lisa Eldridge is an acclaimed New Zealand born, British professional makeup artist has worked in the fashion industry, magazines, brands and with A-list celebrities. She is also an active youtuber, an author (Facepaint : The Story of Makeup) and BBC documentary presenter on the British history of makeup.

She has demonstrated  a number of modern no makeup makeup looks on her Youtube channel but her Victorian edition, shown below,  is fascinating. Using makeup in Victorian times was a huge social taboo unlike the flamboyant Georgian era before then. 

She dives into the ways Victorian women tried to take care of and enhance their looks using different discrete makeup and skincare. They needed to look good for the marriage mart without looking like they used any aids. Most women back then had limited ways to make a living so marrying was the only way out of the family home. 

Women's lives were very restricted in many ways during the Victorian era. Obvious makeup use labelled the women as actresses with loose morals or sex workers -  the two were often considered the same. Lisa Eldridge mentions how women had to be careful about makeup as they risked being picked up by the police on suspicion of being a prostitute. 

There was actually a Contagious Disease Act (1864-1886), an attempt to control prostitution especially near naval and military garrisons. The police were empowered to arrest who they thought might be prostitutes. As makeup was often used to hide the ravages of syphilis, women with makeup were highly suspect. Once arrested, the women were forced to undergo invasive medical examinations. If they refused, they would be imprisoned. Considerable public outrage ensued over the grossly unfair treatment of women and the law was eventually repealed.  

This video includes bits from one of her original BBC series - see below.

A Little History of Makeup

Makeup has been used by both men and women for thousands of years.  The need to look attractive and exclusive according to the ideals of the time and place resulted in the use of a plethora of imaginative and sometimes dangerous materials in makeup recipes.

Her wonderful 3 part BBC series on Makeup : A Glamorous History focuses on how makeup was used in three British time periods - during the Georgian, Victorian eras and during the Roarin' 20's - and what it says about the society of that time and the changes to women's lives.  There is a lot we can recognize as similar in our society today, for example, the fascination and emulation of celebrities.  

The Georgians  (video link) (1714 -c.1837) represented an age of exaggerated makeup when the upper class (both sexes) flaunted wealth with powdered faces and wigs and extravagant costumes. 

Lisa Eldridge only mentions briefly how it was a time of huge inequalities. Makeup was the least of the average person's concerns. There was mass unemployment and the crime rate was high. Most working class people could not vote - only those who owned land or paid certain taxes could. So instead of addressing the root causes of poverty, the Georgians in power merely introduced harsher punishments - disciplining the poor to protect the assets of the rich. The death penalty was applied  for over 200 offences including forgery and burglary . Prisons were overflowing so the Georgians used prison ships or hulks. Children were treated the same as adults. 

The beauty standard of the  Victorian era (video link) was the pale and clean look because people believed cleanliness was next to godliness and that implied one was moral and respectable. So a clean, makeup-less face was preferred. 

The Victorians bizarrely romanticized the outward appearances of dying tuberculosis or consumption patients as these often had very pale skin, bright sparkly eyes, red lips and rosy cheeks (due to low grade fever) and were very thin - all meeting Victorian beauty standards.

They were also into the pseudoscience, physiognomy - the belief that your facial or outward appearance defined your character or personality. So in their thinking, if you had facial flaws, then that meant you were a bad or immoral person on the inside. Makeup was not acceptable because they believed those who used it were hiding their true selves. 

This was a time when women were expected to be demure and confined to home, with no right to property, nor were able to bring lawsuits or write contracts. Whatever they owned belonged to their husbands. They had no custodial rights to children or support if they left their husbands. The rights of divorced or separated women slowly changed with new laws during the Victorian era especially after the intensive campaigning by writer Caroline Norton (1808-1877) who left an abusive and odious husband and lost access to their children.

The Roarin' 20's (video link) saw a huge change in the lives of women. Before the First World War, mostly men worked in factories. But during that war (and the next), women stepped up to replace the fighting men in the factories. They also were given the right to vote (1918 and 1928 in the UK). So after the war, women sought other jobs rather than domestic ones. Their wages gave them independence and the purchasing power for things they wanted to have....including makeup just like the movie stars.  

This was the heyday of the compacts - Lisa Eldridge shows two beautiful examples from the period.

Before You Go :


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM