Health and Beauty: Egyptian Beauty

This post focuses on the historical beauty of Cleopatra.

Before I reveal the way I completed the signature look (albeit the Hollywood starlet version) I will outline some common myths about Cleopatra, and some historical context about Egyptian make up.

  • Most associate ‘Queen Cleopatra’ as being an Egyptian. This is incorrect, she was actually Greek. This all comes down to blood (as it all does in history). Despite her family actually living in Egypt for about 300 years, the Egyptians saw all the family as Greek as they are descendants from a General named Ptolemy, who, after the death of Alexander the Great, received Egypt after all of the Empire was split!

 

  • Cleopatra did not have long straight or, or a fringe. This one seems a little obvious but is an automatic visual appearance when representing Cleopatra as a figure. Rather the Egyptians were more likely to have shaved heads, with Cleopatra being viewed as wearing a wig of tight curls. This is evident on the emblem pressed which is believed to be a representation of Cleopatra. The real reason why Cleopatra was given a fringe in the 1963 was simply because it was in fashion.

 

  • Cleopatra was deemed as immoral, which is illustrated by a myth that she ‘dissolved a pearl in vinegar, or what they conceived as wine.’ This has been proved to be very false, and pearls are unable to dissolve in such a state. Additionally it is unclear what part of Cleopatra was immoral – one may believe she was beauty orientated and lavish spender. This can be objected to through evidence of her many welfare schemes – despite owning half of the land and being depicted as ‘lavish’ – Cleopatra was an extremely good, moral leader.

 

  • She was not beautiful, unlike another Egyptian Queen, Nerfertiti, who has been
    Believed to be Cleopatra

    depicted in various Egyptian art as consistently beautiful. Cleopatra, on the other hand, was considered to be a less of a beauty, which is evident in the coins printed with her side profile. This idea links into the previous ‘myth’ ab
    out Cleopatra being decadent. I believe there is a correlation between the two – perhaps if Cleopatra was believed to be a decadent and inhumane

    Nefertiti

    character this would reflect upon the perception of her beauty. The Egyptians were very symbolic and precious about their aesthetics – whether Cleopatra was physically ‘beautiful’ or not this may depend upon the beauty of one’s soul…As this can never be proved, it remains open for debate!

 

I have been asked various times why and how the Egyptians were able to wear such fascinating styles of makeup, specifically the eyeliner worn by figures like Cleopatra. My first response was unknown, but then I took to research and realised just how intelligent the Egyptians were.

Eyeliner, for the Egyptians, was used to fight off optical infections – and this was through the lead salts in the mixture, also known as ‘Kohl’.  (ring any bells??)

Weirdly, the two forms of kohl were in green and black – not the blue as represented by Elizabeth Taylor. The fascination about kohl is that it was not directly available at the time – suggesting the Eygptians used their own chemistry in order to merge the components needed.

Perhaps a more important reason, rather than fighting off infection, that make up was so significant and widely used was because of the ‘holiness’ beauty brought to individuals. Even through death and ‘the afterlife’ individuals were buried and decipted in a wide array of colour and make up for religious purposes.  Egyptians were extremely symbolic and worshipped many Gods. This is shown by the variety of make up not just on the eyes.

For the facial make up they concocted their own version of foundation and highlighters, such as blusher. Cheeks were stained from coloured clay – ‘red ochre’ which was originally burnt to gain it’s pigment. This was also used for the red of the life.

Egyptians also had access to dye their hair, or wigs, as most individuals were bald. Henna was available as a natural plant, which dyed the hair and nails.

 

Over the years I’ve had many people saying I have ‘Liz Taylor’ eyes because of my eyeliner, but I’ve always denied it because, although my ‘liner’ has a flick, it’s nothing on par with the Cleopatra style.

 

 

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Outfit #2

Time for my next Tiffany’s outfit!

I’m starting out with the dress again – however this time it was a little different.

In my previous outfit I went out to find a perfect dress to mimic Audrey’s look and was fortunate enough to find a perfect one!

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This time I couldn’t quite find a perfect match – I tried lots off different sites and shops which were offering a sort of flapper style dress, black with either a ruffled edge or a modern style handkerchief edge. These didn’t shout of to me,I needed something overall more modern, however still in keeping with the 1960’s era. I had a rethink of how I would find a suitable dress at a reasonable price.

I then remembered I had a range of simple old black dresses. One was an old new look buy – a kind of adjustable length body con maxi dress. It was simple, and needed some TLC to make it suitable.

If you don’t have any old black dresses or you don’t want to add anything to a current black dress try find a simple box or t-shirt style – a simple black dress can be very cheap!

The dress which Audrey wears in the film has a sort of fur edging, bringing dimension and texture to the bottom of the dress.

I used the local fabric shop, Boyes, which is a chain store and sells all kinds of fabric and materials for any craft! I managed to pick up some fur cut down to 20cm – which only cost me a grand total of £1.55!

I’m not going lie, my sewing skills are not amazing and I didn’t want to ruin both the fur and the fabric so I nicely asked my Mother House Elf to help. The fur was attached within minutes!

I am delighted with the result of this dress! Such a minimal edit and style however looks so elegant! I must add that if you do try this, make sure the fur is only attached at the top – this is to allow the fur to have some give while trying to get the dress on or off – or even walk!

I’ve recently done a hat post about handmade hats – but for this post I’ve reverted back to the easily accessible and affordable Primark hat at only £4 – which does an excellent job at channeling Audrey’s style! c0165-img_3073.jpg

The earrings I am wearing were a present given to me. They are a 1940s crystal style, but thought they woul
d suit this outfit! However, after observing the way they were made they are nothing more than opaque and silver beads, which are sewn circular around the earring clip. A super affordable and fun way to make crystal style earrings!

The shoes are my favourite sparkly kitten heels from Dorothy Perkins – they work so well with the sparkles in the hat and the earrings!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Outfit #1

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Okay, so here it is, the finale of my first Audrey Hepburn outfit!
I had real fun doing this look! My favourite bit would have to be the hair. It took a lot of practice but I think I have nailed it! Additionally there are various ways to do this style so lots of options if you get stuck or just aren’t feeling the hair do!
The necklace was also fun to make; a simple pearl necklace chain with a eye catching brooch!

 

 

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Dress: Boohoo, £12
Necklace: Homemade
(Brooches: Amazon, £1.40 – £3.00)
(Pearl chain:  Amazon, £1.69)
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