Cosmetology In: Renaissance Era

Posted on

Welcome back to our Cosmetology In series where this week we will be looking at the beauty trends during the Renaissance era.


The Renaissance era was a cultural movement which began in Florence, Italy, and dealt with the idolization of the art and literature from ancient civilizations, namely Greece and Rome. The general image and influences are well documented as we admire the art which was created during this period.


Between the 14th and 17th century, a fuller figure was praised. Women and men viewed a voluptuous figure desirable, and this is perhaps the most definable beauty standard of the renaissance era.


However, similarly to other historic era’s, lighter skin was prized. In fact, women would go to extreme lengths to ensure their skin was at its lightest. As we’ve discovered in Ancient Rome and Greece, ladies would apply lead, mercury, hydroxide and other harmful compounds to their skin. Over time, the constant application of these toxic substances led to various health problems such as muscle paralysis, and even death. That’s not all, some women would even attach leeches to their ears and as they sucked, the blood would slowly drain from their head giving them the pale look they were so painfully striving for. This certainly sounds like a grotesque way of reaching beauty standards, however it was healthier than applying toxic chemicals!


Strawberry Blonde hair was the most sought after, along with large foreheads and a high hairline. To achieve this essential trait during the era, many women would pluck their hairline to get the desired effect, yep, we’re wincing at the thought, too. In order to lighten the hair colour, often women would use saffron and onion dies whilst sitting in the sun to bleach the colour. If this method failed, women usually opted for a jeweled turban to hide their darker locks.


As for skincare, cold creams were used to moisturise the skin and although a lot were made from oil and olives, some were also made using chemicals such as sulfur and mercury.


Having looked back on the Renaissance era and read about their beauty standards, it’s refreshing to hear that curvy bodies were favourited! They seemed to take their appearance pretty seriously although we love the fact they generally stuck to a natural looking face! We hope this gave you a little more insight into their interesting way of life.