Monday, August 25, 2008

Beauty Routines

Here are some spot illustrations (below) from my next book, The Raucous Royals which officially releases in (gulp) week! These spots are featured in the Louis XIV rumor page - Did the smarmy king bathe only three times in his life? Here is a sneak peek at a sample spread.

I was actually surprised to already see it in Barnes and Nobles this weekend. I was not even expecting it to be carried in stores. Most book stores have one, tiny, half shelf dedicated to young adult history books and they usually only feature US History because you know...the rest of the world doesn't exist for the average 8th grader.

In a few weeks, there will be a few giveaways for the book at pb junkies, cynsations and Scandalous Women. I will let you know when those giveaways are posted.

ok back to the history part...history had some pretty heinous beauty routines. I am posting some more information about other centuries that didn't make the book cut for the inquiring mind.

Just be thankful that you don't have to endure any of the following beauty routines:

The Lead & Mercury Facial Mask
In Louis’s day, both women and men wore a heavy white makeup consisting of mercury, lead, egg whites, and vinegar. Unfortunately, this beauty concoction was poisonous and caused ugly scars and blemishes. To hide the scars, it became fashionable for men and women to wear patches cut into shapes of stars, moons, and diamonds. Small round patches called "black patches" were also worn to make the skin look whiter in comparison.

Bring out the Blue in my Veins
To achieve this, "I am about to faint look," women in Elizabeth I's court painted blue veins over their skin to exaggerate its transparency. Skin so white that it looks blue is where we get the term "blue bloods." (It has also been rumored that the wealthy nobles were called blue bloods because they ingested small amounts of silver when using silver spoons. If you happened to catch the blue man on Oprah then you know there is some debate on whether silver colloid can cause your skin to turn blue. This rumor is unconfirmed and thus never made the book)

The Blood Sucking Body Wrap
When Louis was sick, he was treated to a blood-sucking treatment called bloodletting. Slug-like worms called leeches were applied to the skin and allowed to suck out the blood. It was believed that these leeches cleansed the blood and rid the body of diseases. Leeches do thin the blood, allowing it to flow better, but doctors in Louis’s day got a little carried away and sometimes bled their patients to death.

Wealthy nobles also wore leeches on their ears to suck out the blood and made them look fashionably white. Sometimes they even took leech baths full of blood suckers.

The Puppy Love Purifier
To improve their complexions, wealthy men and women would rub the urine from a puppy on their face. Queen Elizabeth even used urine on her teeth to whiten them. Yummy!

The Squirrel Cheeks Wax Lift
Women would often stick wax balls in their cheeks, called "plumpers" to fill them out. In Louis’s day, a rounded face was considered far more beautiful than a thin one. In fact, the more meat you had on your bones, the better!

The Boil Butt Beautifier
In the seventeenth century, men would often get painful ulcers on their rear ends from the constant horseback riding. Louis XIV got such a bad boil on his butt that he had to have it lanced by his doctor. In an effort to copy the king, Louis’s subjects begged their doctors to cut their bottoms . . . even if they lacked the boil.

The Heart Racing Eye Widener
Italian Courtesans of the Renaissance dropped poisonous Belladonna (Italian for "beautiful lady") in their eyes to dilate their pupils and give them that innocent, deer caught in a headlights look. Unfortunately, Belladonna also increases the heart rate and can cause blindness. Interestingly, nature gives you the same dreamy-eyed look because your pupils dilate when you are attracted to the opposite sex.

What's your favorite beauty routine? Some of these beauty routines have made a come back. Leeches are still used today to promote healing. Urea can be found in many modern cosmetics to soften the skin. And with all the dangers of sun exposure in the media, maybe some day we will even see a return of skin whiteners.


Heather said...

Wow what a wonderful romp through fashion history. With beautiful illustrations to accompany it. Congrats on the book coming out!

Dot said...

i love these! i'll have to look for the book :)

Bella Sinclair said...

My daughter LOVES reading things like this. I'll definitely have to get your new book for her. But she'll have to read it after I'm done with it! Fascinating stuff and great pictures to go along with them. I'm so glad there are people like you who keep history and education fun for young people!

Roberta said...

Hmmm.... interesting beauty regimens. Vanity rules through the ages!!!
Congrats on the book. How exciting to see it in BN. It's just the kind of book I'd be drawn to pick up!

Anonymous said...

Bloodletting is still used by modern medicine to treat diseases such as hemochromatosis, and it is now suspected that it might prevent heart disease (same reason why pre-menopausal women have a lower rate of cardio-vascular accidents: less iron in the bloodstream due to blood lost during menstruation.)

Congratulations on your publication!

dani torrent said...

I love your illustrations, I am a young adult.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I adore the illustrations, and I'm so glad that I didn't live back then. It's interesting about the face plumpers, and the fact that in the 17th Century, the ideal was a plump woman, considering that James II's mistresses tended to be scrawny to the point of anorexia.