Painting on canvas takes time and practice. Many famous paintings took years to create. Painting a face is similar. Putting on makeup is something a lot of people do. Whether it is part of your religion, for a special event, for an acting job, or your everyday routine. Makeup is an art that people do as their profession. It takes time and practice for makeup to be absolutely perfect. It can be plain and simple for an everyday look, or it can be wild and crazy, like special effects for a TV show or film.
Throughout history, discussions of makeup have focused mainly on women. “Women have always been put under a greater social pressure to look a certain way in juxtaposition to their male counterparts. Women have always tightened their corsets, pinched their cheeks pink and piled their hair high on their heads when men did not,” says Caleigh Windolf, who teaches a Gender and Sexuality course at Durham College.
“There’s a certain aspect of feel good femininity that we now associate wearing makeup with, and it tends to leave out men who, too, would perhaps like to pluck their brows, smooth out their skin, and cover a blemish without feeling socially ostracized,” she adds.
Makeup is an art some people wear in every day life. However, it has changed over the years.
The history of makeup spans 6,000 years and has been different in every country. The earliest record of makeup is between 3100 and 2907 BC. Women in Egypt used to decorate their eyes by applying dark green under their eyelids as well as blackening their lashes and upper lid with kohl. Jews adopted this use from the Egyptians. The Romans started to use cosmetics by the middle of 1st century AD when they used the same kohl technique the Egyptians used. They also used chalk for whitening their complexion and put rouge on their cheeks. In the Greco-Roman society, women wore white lead and chalk on their faces. Persian women wore henna dyes that would stain their hair and faces, which they believed would summon the majesty of the earth. In the Italian Renaissance, lead paint was used to lighten the face, however this was damaging to the wearer as it was made from Aqua Tofana, which is a strong poison and was the face powder of the day. In Elizabethan England, cosmetics were seen as a health threat. Nonetheless, women wore egg whites on their face to add a glaze and shine.
Flash-forward to the 1900s when makeup was not as popular; women hardly wore it at all and everyone prized the natural look. However, applying actual paint to the face became popular among the rich. In 1910, there was a rise of makeup in the U.S. and Europe because of the influence of theatre arts and ballet. This continued into 1920s when the movie industry had the most influence on makeup. This is when special effects makeup came into being.
In addition, after WW1 there was a boom in cosmetic surgery, which put a lot of money in plastic surgeon’s pockets. Now, in the 21st century, beauty products are widely available among retail stores and cosmetic shops.
There are many different types of makeup today. This range includes special effects makeup, everyday cosmetics and makeup tattoos.
Cosmetic tattoos can include henna, which is a flowing plant when turned into paste and placed on the skin in an intricate pattern stains the skin and leaves a semi-permanent mark. This is still popular today as well as tattooed on eyeliner and eyebrows. Getting eyeliner, lip liner and eyebrows tattooed is just like getting a tattoo. A permanent pigment is penetrated into your eyelids and on your eyebrows using a tattoo gun.
Joseph Hinds, a makeup artist, who has worked on television shows such as The Strain, Shadowhunters, and Hannibal, includes his input on tattooed makeup saying “with eyeliner and lip liner tattooing, I think you have to be 150 percent committed to that look.”
“As long as you’re doing permanent makeup in a way that just is enhancing what you have but not following a trend,” Hinds says, “I think (it) is completely fine.”
Special FX makeup is where prosthetic sculpting, molding and casting are used to create highly advanced cosmetics. This is used for television shows and films, as well as theme parks where FX is needed. The effect creates the illusion, for example, of someone having a gash on their face, filled with blood and ripped skin, when in reality it is just latex, paint and fake blood.
Hinds’ profession includes special effects makeup, alongside beauty makeup.
“I love to sculpt, cast, basically anything to do with fabrication of the pieces,” he says.
However, Hinds usually creates the beauty look when he is on set working.
“I appreciate doing it [beauty makeup] as well, I really like making people feel comfortable in their skin and giving them a character to perform in that’s not necessarily a creature character, but more of a human character that they can identify with and bring to life on camera,” he says. This started in the 1920s when the film industry took over the makeup scene.
Everyday cosmetics are most commonly used on people in their day-to-day life to lighten up their look. This includes eye shadows, eyeliners, blushers, lipstick, mascara, etc. Cosmetics are used to enhance the appearance of someone’s face.
“It’s like an extra confidence boost,” Emily Joudrey, a second-year Broadcast for Contemporary Media student says. “I love taking the extra time to make myself feel great.” Joudrey’s boyfriend, Nolan Chapman-Puritch, who is in the same program, also commented on the topic of makeup. “A lot of them [girls] seem to want to wear it, but in my own opinion, don’t need to…but at the same time it gives them a sort of confidence boost, or self esteem boost.”
In a way, this is what got women to wear makeup in the first place: to make themselves feel and look beautiful.
“I think that if you ask most women in the 21st century, they’ll tell you that they wear it for themselves. Sure, it may have started as a way to attract a suitable mate, but the way people wear makeup now seems to be more about playing and artistry and feeling good on the inside,” says Caleigh Windolf, a Gender and Sexuality professor at Durham College.
Whether it be in television and film or worn in everyday life. Everyone has their own way of expressing themselves and makeup is just one of them. It is an art that has been going on for years on end and continues to live on.