My daughter went on a buying trip with her old boss a couple of months ago. She’s switched jobs, but he still trusts her taste for gifts for his store, and she found me the perfect gift. I now have a little ceramic sign on my bulletin board which says, “Put on a little lipstick. You’ll be fine.” This is a bit of a joke with the three Robinson girls. All their lives I’ve encouraged them to wear lipstick. They do not. Oh, they’ll slap on some chapstick once in a while. But it’s the rare occasion they wear lipstick, whereas I do not even put the trash out without some Revlon on my lips.

I grew up when you wore a lot of make-up to look “natural.” I’m down to blush, mascara and lipstick now, but there was a time when I was gluing on fake lashes and liquid-lining my eyes. Think Cleopatra, with an ass instead of an asp. Fashions change, and now even make-up is going “green,” with all natural ingredients and animal-free testing. While we’re not rubbing beet juice on our cheeks like they did in the 1800s, we’re not killing ourselves or the bunnies, either.

Three thousand years B.C., the Egyptians were wearing green eye-show and lining their eyes with kohl. Persian women put henna on their faces and bodies to “summon the majesty of the earth.” In the Middle Ages, women would bleed themselves so they could look fashionably pale. Lead, mercury and arsenic were common make-up ingredients, and I don’t even want to tell you what they did with cat dung and mouse skin. Rouge was all the rage in the Regency. Victorians put a stop to all that fun and frivolity, and it was the bare face that reigned until the 1920s, when mass-market make-up made it possible for everyone to be as glamorous as the new movie stars.
It is always a jolt to see Hollywood’s version of history. It takes a brave actress to go natural in front of the camera, but I’m pleased to see most period dramas today eschew the eye make-up and lipstick of the past.

How about you? Are you a sucker for the “free gift with purchase” at the Clinique counter? Are your heroines natural beauties or are they dusting their face with rice powder and rouging their nipples?

A woman without paint is like food without salt. ~Plautus (254-184 B.C.)

Come back soon for the MRMR August contest! And don’t forget to check out Romance Novel TV’s Start Your Book Month beginning August 1. Lots of authors will share their expertise and energy!