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The Artifice of Beauty: A History and Practical Guide to Perfume and Cosmetics Hardcover – May 1, 2005
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Anyone interested in researching and/or recreating fashion, material culture, or personal life in history should have this book in her or his library. Those interested in homemade cosmetics and perfumes will also find it very useful.
Pointer first lays out "The Nature of the Evidence" in her introduction, then tackles the various ages of humankind in nine chronological chapters. While none is completely exhaustive-- the beauty regimens of the nineteenth century alone have filled multiple shelves of books-- each chapter provides a good groundwork for understanding cosmetics, perfumes, and ideas of beauty in the period. Her strongest suit is in the early evidence, Ancient World and Classical world sections, but those areas have previously been the subject of much archaeology but little reliable summary. Her information about the medieval through the seventeenth centuries is a treasure trove of facts and quotations.
Of special interest is Pointer's analyses of possible make-up trends based on pictoral representations of people in the period. Were pink cheeks admired? Highly accented eyes? What color of hair was in fashion. Information about hairpieces and false hair, washes, soap and other cosmetic preparations are also included.Read more ›