CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: The ultimate chic haircut, with a dollop of bear fat and lard!
Make Up: A Glamorous History (BBC2)
Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-up Star (BBC1)
The hairdressers are open again, which is a grace for several million guys whose wives haven’t been able to finish their frizzy ends since January.
What can a guy say, other than a nervous and compassionate, “I know, honey,” when his lover is raging over her roots? It’s enough to make your last tufts fall out.
It could have been worse. We may be living in the 18th century, when a weekly visit to the salon took six hours and would cost you the equivalent of £ 200,000 a year.
Historian Lisa Eldridge’s glorious overview of Georgian-era beauty treatments, Make-up: A Glamorous History (BBC2), was full of archive excerpts to make your hair stand on end.
Make-up: A Glamorous History (BBC2), was full of archive excerpts to make your hair stand on end
Before the French Revolution of 1789 scared aristocrats to show off their wealth, the fashion in this country was for beauty treatments that reeked of money.
That mainly meant 2-foot Pompadour haircuts covered in ostrich feathers. These mountainous crests were built with beeswax and lard – bear fat was particularly effective.
That must stink. Imagine it melting your face on a warm night. Lisa visited Chatsworth House to study a Gainsborough portrait of the superstar Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. She paid her personal hairdresser, Gilbert, £ 1 a week – the equivalent of a hundred thousand dollars a year today. Gilbert again received a weekly expense allowance. He must have been a miracle with the bear fat.
Lisa hasn’t tried the popular Georgian skincare treatment, which involves spitting wine on a scoop of melted myrrh and dipping your face in the fumes.
It was meant to erase wrinkles. I would think it stripped the skin to the bone.
Pictured: Lisa Eldridge, presenter and makeup guru
She tried to make Venetian ceruse, a white foundation with face paint so drenched in poisonous lead that women became sterile. A devotee, the celebrated beauty Maria Gunning, Countess of Coventry, stuck on her face so much that she was dead at the age of 28.
We had a short lesson in the use of heart-shaped beauty spots. The one on the right cheek meant you were married, the left on sexual availability.
Stick one to your eye and you told the world you were someone’s mistress.
All these historical anecdotes and oddities were made memorable by the clever trick of getting Lisa to make up a Georgian-style teenage model, Queenie, during the show.
The models on Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-up Star (BBC1) had no choice but to sit stiff as eight amateurs used their faces as blank canvas for bizarre creations
She started with the monumental hairstyle, adding layers of (non-toxic) alabaster and rouge, using burnt cloves for mascara, and offering fake eyebrows made from mouse skins. Queenie, who was admirably patient the entire time, was shocked at this point.
The models on Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-up Star (BBC1) had no choice but to sit hard, as eight amateurs used their faces as blank canvas for bizarre creations. I don’t know how anyone can hold their nerves while a novice splashes glue along their eyelids to create ‘lumpy lashes’. This knockout bout is back with a new host, Maya Jama replacing Stacey Dooley.
It doesn’t need a presenter at all, as Maya has little to do but start the clock and call out the times in each round.
All the entertainment comes from Judges Val Garland and Dominic Skinner, who are furious. “I am totally disappointed,” they gasp. Where’s the symmetry? What’s she doing? It’s a beautiful car accident. ‘
My favorite disapproval, said of a boy who painted his own face to resemble raw meat, was, “It’s the talking tree in a pantomime.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but thank goodness I bet it got stung.