Beauty During The Elizabethan Times

You will be surprised by some of the standard beauty practices during that era!

By Nisha BaghadiaNisha Baghadia  • 

Here is my take on the history of makeup and beauty in the Elizabethan times. I found their techniques very unique and adaptable. So here i give you some such tips that even we can follow in today’s times!

Beauty In the Elizabethan Era

Elizabethan age is said to be the ‘GOLDEN AGE IN ENGLISH HISTORY-the time of reign of Queen Elizabeth. She was a guiding portrait of beauty. None other queen in the English History had such a great impact on beauty as she did.

All about the face during Elizabethan times: During the Elizabethan age a pale complexion was considered as a sign of good health and prestige. Poor people could not achieve such complexion due to the burden of going out and working hard for their living, resulting in a tan. Wealthy women to gain such a complexion used several different things; the commonest way was to use Ceruse, a foundation made from mixing the poisonous white lead and vinegar. Many people preferred to apply tin ash, sulphur, alum, etc. White eggs were used to hide wrinkles.

Women used a paste of elder leaves, birch sap, and sulfur as a skin cleanser and to manage spots and blemishes. They would leave it on overnight for better results.

What about eyes and their eyebrows? : Kohl was used by people in the Elizabethan Era to outline their eyes and make them look darker. A sign of aristocracy during that time was to have arched and thin eyebrows that created a high forehead. To make their eyes sparkly and larger, a chemical named Belladonna was also used. Eyebrows were plucked to achieve their desired look.


Women during the Elizabethan era used eyeshadows made from the ground nacre (mother of pearl) mixed with plant pigments.

Hair  Queen Elizabeth had reddish hair. Thus people started to dye their hair in to a reddish shade. Fair hair during that time was considered fashionable. People used different bleaching agents to make their hair fair like- Saffron, celadine,cumin seeds and even urine! Wigs were also used to get that fair hair look. Their head was curled tightly from the front. Hair was adorned with jewels and head pieces. Only rich people could afford them as they were very costly.

Cheeks and Lips: Rogue cheeks and lips were very popular in the Elizabethan era and has become very strong part of the history of lip makeup.Women to achieve them used plants like madder that had red roots. Animal dyes like cochineal were also used. Egg white and ochres were mixed and applied to the cheeks.

Didn’t the Elizabethan people get blemishes due to all such chemicals?

The Elizabethan people due to such extensive use of chemicals often got freckles, spots and blemishes. To get rid of them they used rose water, mixture of egg shells,lemon juice, mercury, honey, alum, etc. Washing face with mercury was very popular.

Wealthy people would also bathe in ass’s milk.

Thus, we see how the Elizabethan people used different natural skin care products and found out their own ways to treat their blemishes and to do their makeup.

Beauty will be always generated and regenerated in different forms as it is all about the style of experimenting with different things. It is all about the style of the people of a particular age and their own discoveries in the field of makeup.

Wait for my next article girls ^_^ Till then, See yah and take care.

I hope this article on beauty during the Elizabethan time will come in handy when you wish to take inspiration from history. You can always choose to incorporate your ideas with the ones mentioned and create a unique look. Remember, it is all about experimenting. So, do not hesitate to let your imagination run wild. You can always showcase your creativity and personality better by creating different looks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did the cultural and historical events of the Elizabethan era impact beauty and fashion trends?

Women during that time emulated Queen Elizabeth I’s style, from puff-sleeved dresses to narrow-waisted, exaggerated gowns. The pale complexion, reddish-golden hair, and red lips were looked upon as something worn by the higher classes during the Elizabethan era.

What were some common beauty and fashion misconceptions of the Elizabethan era, and how have they been corrected by modern research?

Many women from Elizabethan times used foundations made from harmful substances like sulfur and tin ash to get a white tint and a smooth base. Today, foundations are formulated with skin-friendly ingredients that do not irritate the skin. Also, the practice of heavy makeup has moved to more natural-looking makeup in present times.

How has the concept of beauty changed between Elizabethan times and today, and what factors have influenced these changes?

In Elizabethan times, women with pale skin, high foreheads, thin and arched eyebrows, and fair hair were considered beautiful. Today, the notion of beauty has completely changed, it has become more natural, owing to research and innovations in the world of beauty.

What role did Shakespearean theater play in shaping the concept of beauty and fashion during Elizabethan times?

Shakespearean theater plays had a big influence on the concept of beauty and fashion. Wearing wigs, dresses with heavy brocade work, knee-length trousers, and feathered hats became quite popular during that time.

Are there any remnants or echoes of Elizabethan beauty and fashion practices that are still evident in modern times?

Red lips have become a fashion staple and corsets have also seen a revival in recent years. The blush, which was considered essential for giving a fresh and dewy look is still used today.

Key Takeaways

  • Fashion and aesthetic trends throughout the Elizabethan era were mostly affordable for the rich.
  • Women would apply white lead cosmetics to their skin to create the ideal pale complexion, which was regarded as the height of beauty.
  • Elizabethan-era hairstyles saw people opting for fair hair, which involved dyeing the hair with bleaching components such as cumin, saffron, and unbelievably urine. The rich were seen sporting headpieces and jewels in the hair.
  • Thin eyebrows with high arches were a sign of wealth and the aristocracy.
  • Queen Elizabeth I was a fashion icon who inspired the era’s beauty trends.
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