Making Up

Girls and young women have used makeup to change their looks for centuries. But while girls once kept their makeup practices private, they now share those techniques openly online.

Talk about makeup secrets! Dressing tables from around 1800, such as this one, hid cosmetics in an effort to pretend that girls didn't use them.

By 1900 early mass-produced makeup catered to racist views by whitening skin with unlisted ingredients such as toxic lead powder. The process of getting "made up" has long reflected hidden agendas related to gender and race.

Dressing Table, around 1820

Gift of Miss Elsie Howland Quinby in memory of her mother, Mrs. Duncan Cameron

View object record

Makeup, 1890–1920

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