Beauty Traditions: A Whiter Shade of Pale - Beauty Addict

Friday, November 18, 2005

Beauty Traditions: A Whiter Shade of Pale

George Hamilton is eating too many carrotsThe Hollywood Tan - everyone's after the bronzed, California sun goddess look, whether it comes from a bottle, the beach or a booth (shame on you! the cancer risk is enormous). Our tangerine friend George Hamilton personifies the tanning excesses of the upper crust. But believe it or not, there was a time when tanning was only for the working class. Before the dawn of corporate culture, the worker bees of the world toiled in the fields under the hot sun, burnishing their skin to a deep shade of bronze. The aristocratic folk spent their time lounging indoors, thus creating a very visible divide between the classes. Pale, luminous skin became an undeniable indication of wealth and a life of leisure.

However, there were always those women in the aristocracy who weren't born with Nicole Kidman's complexion. In ancient Greece and Rome, these society ladies liberally coated their faces with some of the first foundations - pastes made with white lead or chalk, designed to whiten the complexion and give the appearance that their skin had never seen the sun. This beauty ideal persisted through the Victorian era, when women even went so far as to use small doses of arsenic to whiten their eyes and perk up their complexions.

Fortunately, we now have a bevy of products available to help even out our complexions without using toxic chemicals like lead and arsenic, or completely changing the color of our skin. The idea is to embrace what you have, not poison yourself to death to get something different! Here are some makeup and skincare ideas to give you that aristocratic look of yore, without lead or chalk: