Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Too Much Rouge is a Sign of Despair

Winter's almost over and I'm pale as a forepined ghost. Today let's take a little look at what ladies have done about this beauty dilemma over the years. We'll start with the poetic:

"Bright crimson silk dipped in spirits of wine and rubbed upon cheeks, chin, and ears is said to be a safe and harmless rouge that defies detection. It requires the skill of a portrait painter-- a deft touch with the fingers and a skillful eye-- to make up so that you impose upon even the most indifferent eye. And any makeup which is not discreetly and artistically managed is vulgar in the extreme."
Ella Adelia Fischer, The Woman Beautiful (1901)

I imagine that's how fairy tale heroines make up their faces. Now, let's proceed to the disturbing:

"A certain preparation advertised to produce rosy cheeks without the help of rouge consists of a powdered silicious sponge. Examined under a microscope, the preparation is seen to be made up of multitudes of tiny, silicious needles. These sharp spines stick into the skin, irritating it, this causing it to redden"
Emma E. Walker, M.D., The Pretty Girl Papers (1910)

No matter how you go about getting the color, make sure you don't neglect any chalky nooks or crannies:

"Do you wear your hair in an up-sweep? Rouge your earlobes, by all means. Illness or too much dieting can sometimes make earlobes pale and waxy looking, which suggests ill health. A touch of pink and you’re not only glowing but your earrings, should you wear them, will be more dramatic."
Rita Gam The Beautiful Woman (1967)


Now let's pick the right shade; sometimes the correct choice proves counter-intuitive:

"If it's a healthy, glowing look you're after, buy proper cream or liquid rouge-- soft and easily spreadable impermanent tint in cream. The best shades are those muddy-salmon paste tones, not the sharp fuchsia tones that stand off the face shouting I'm Rouge."
Graeme Hall, Beauty for Girls (1970)

I'll let Ms. Arlene Dahl wrap this up with a line that I think of often:

"However you accent with rouge, do so lightly. Apply very little rouge in the morning, when your cheeks are inclined to be pale. Later, when activity brings a natural blush to your face, you can add a little more if you still need it.
But remember the pathetic statement, 'Too much rouge is a sign of despair."
Arlene Dahl, Always Ask A Man: Arlene Dahl's Key to Femininity (1967)