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You Got Me Seeing RED!

Why does the color red resonate so much with women? Could it be that passion’s color is red? Love is signified by the color red and so is anger. If strength, power, courage, resilience, and danger were colors they too would be red. Red is vibrant, it’s stimulating and exciting and it’s been touted that if we want to move up the corporate ladder and do well in life generally, then we should add an element of red into our wardrobe and makeup as well. Wearing red gives one confidence and sex appeal. It’s an emotional choice that also impacts what other people think and feel about us as well as having a psychological influence on ourselves and driving us to live our best lives. In short, when wearing red you’re more appealing, it boosts your own self-perceived sexual receptiveness and self-perceived importance level. Red gives you confidence when you wear it and red impacts rivals in business or in your personal life as well. It gives you an edge. Red is reserved for the best and most glamorous. But where did the color red enter into the lexicon of makeup? It again seems to go back to the ancient Egyptians. They wore a concoction made of animal blood, fat, and arsenic on their lips. However, modernly Lipstick was born in the year 1883 at the International Colonial Exhibition in Amsterdam. Paris-based perfumers had succeeded in producing a durable solid stick of color from beeswax, deer suet, and castor oil, wrapped in silk paper which was easy to carry. The French actress Sarah Bernhardt was the first famous convert calling this new red lipstick, ‘stylo d’amour” translated as “love pencil.”

Unlike today when an influencer can cause sales to surge overnight and a trend to become mainstream within months, it was not till the Roaring 20’s that red lipstick became widely accepted. It was the influence of Hollywood and film stars of the time that was the driving force. The heart-shaped lips on people like Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, and Marlena Dietrick created demand and people like the famous Max Factor were happy to satisfy and cash in. Just like all trends, once they become mainstream and there is a demand, the entire cosmetics industry followed suit. It was not long before they developed lower-cost, and better-performing lipsticks for sale to the masses. In 1935 Germaine Monteil introduced “Chinese Red” and companies like Elizabeth Arden offered up a set with different shades of red called “Lipstick Wardrobe.” Max Factor was still catering to the higher end of the consumer landscape when in the 1940s he had Rita Hayworth advertising his lipstick in a gold case. Advances came as well, with Factor claiming that his lipstick did not dry the lips and also did not smear, a vast array of similar benefits by many manufacturers are still touted today.  

By the time the 1950’s were upon us women did not leave the house without make-up on their faces and for touch-ups some in their purses. Unlike the 20s, 30s, and 40s, the use of lipstick and make-up, in general, became a bit more reserved than it had been. It was during this time that a new innovation gave us the twist-up lipstick case now taken for granted that allowed not only lipstick to be applied without fuss it also ensured it could just be tossed into your handbag and it would be ready when needed. The 1960s and 1970s saw eyeliner and eye shadow slowly become more and more prominent and the disco era made make-up glitzy and shiny leading to the introduction of products like lip gloss. In fact today young girls start their make-up journey with lip gloss. It’s relatively inexpensive price point and seeming innocence has lowered the bar of entry and it’s generally accepted that it’s appropriate for use when girls reach the age of ten.

The 1980s saw a more reserved and conservative look during the day and a much bolder heavily eye and lip-oriented make-up take over in the evenings to match the shoulder pads and the big hair made famous by television series like Dynasty with Linda Evans and Joan Collins. The 1990s saw lipstick used less than in decades past, with some women opting out, but even with the “au natural” look and lighter more transparent makeup of the 21st century 100 years later fully 80% of women today wear lipstick on a regular basis. The manufacturers of cosmetics also keep pushing the envelope by offering hypoallergenic, vegan, moisturizing, UV protection, smear, and smudge-proof, as well as long-lasting and plumping lipsticks and glosses. As women age their lips tend to thin prompting them to get injected with lip fillers to add volume. These injections fill the lips with synthetic Hyaluronic Acid. Will it ever go away? With the lip augmentation craze we are seeing today, it’s not likely. Though red and its various shades might wax and wane in popularity with offerings in 2023 such as Rosy Nudes and Mauve, it’s safe to say red in almost any shade is here to stay.

Mme V. Fontaine (Fashion Blogger for ChicChicChic.com)

Wishing You a Life of BeingChic Chic Chic

Want to be a fashion blogger for Chic Chic Chic? Contact Us – chicchicchicboutique@gmail.com

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Dah-ling You Look Radiant!

Rather than looking good, I would rather hear darling you look marvelous or more preferably radiant. When it comes to clothing, shoes tell you everything you need to know about a woman’s sense of style. When it comes to the actual physical person, it’s her complexion that is paramount. We all want smooth flawless skin without blemishes, dark spots, scars, and the like. What we see online and in pictures is not always the reality of the situation. Truth be told sometimes our favorite celebrities are wearing make-up by Photoshop. Image manipulation in Photoshop and other similar applications makes the most perfect concealer, the best foundation, the most full-proof highlighter, as well as the best bronzer and setting spray. 

Still modern make-up is a vast improvement and a far cry from what we have been subjected to since the idea of wearing make-up came to be. During the 1600-1700s known as the Baroque period it was believed that water spread the plague. Hence, using it to cleanse the body was avoided at all costs. You can imagine what life must have been like in that environment. Today if we exhibit the slightest smell it might be considered a huge turn-off and even though most people bathe daily if not more often we know that water is essential to an exceptional complexion. Back in the 18th Century women used powder and ointments that caused blackheads, pimples, and pustules. In addition, well into modern times (1977) smallpox (see below – picture of a child with a very bad case of smallpox) was a common disease that disfigured people and left hideous scars on their bodies and faces. Women covered these scars (if they had them) and any pimples or skin anomalies under a heavy layer of makeup.

By the early 1900s, pale white skin was considered chic. It meant you were ladylike and did not engage in outdoor activities like work and sports. This gave rise to bleaching products which contained rice powder and arsenic. The lightening of skin even today is practiced and believed to increase attractiveness, and social standing and improve one’s potential of being successful within populations with darker skin tones. Skin lightening is very popular on the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. On the islands lower-end creams are used to fade the darkness of the skin, unfortunately, they contain elevated levels of mercury and arsenic and pose a serious health risk to the people in the Caribbean that use them. To this day in places where cosmetics are not regulated and/or are manufactured by ersatz cosmetics companies people are unaware that they are poisoning themselves.

In the early part of the 20th Century, women did not generally purchase cosmetics but rather followed recipes to make their own. They also used ingredients such as mercury, glycerin, and borax as well as alcohol (which are still used today in much smaller quantities). The final products were not easy to apply and once on the face and dry, with a smile, wince, or even the slightest facial expression the makeup crumbled and fell off.

Fast forward to the 1920s and great strides had been made in the development of powder and liquid foundations. Make-up was accepted as the norm synergistically leading to the founding of companies such as Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein. Sports and outdoor activities had also become fashionable and ladylike to participate in; though a white complexion was still en vogue. Thus products like after-sun lotions (Ambre Solaire) were developed and became best sellers. In 1935 Max Factor launched a compact powder foundation which was at the time revolutionary and because he was based in Hollywood, he had the biggest stars in film such as Lana Turner (still gorgeous by today’s standards) as spokespeople for his line of cosmetics. Not only was the foundation easy to apply, but it also covered up small skin defects and according to the advertisements promised a “lovely new complexion.” Wearing make-up soon became an obligation for women and even through the otherwise austere war years its use did not wane. 

Make-up and fashion trends soon were inextricably linked. In the 1960’s the trend was to present a much lighter complexion and less makeup than in the 1950s. The tanned look became popular in the 1970s and a larger palette of colors used for eye shadow became the norm. The 1980s continued the trend of eye shadow with bold colors but has since transitioned into a lighter natural more transparent look in general. Today with advances in skin procedures, acne scars, and other anomalies can be done away with in just a few sessions. Combination skin with oily and dry areas is tackled with relative ease. Advances in chemistry and nano-technology are being used to hydrate the skin while still protecting it against the sun’s harmful rays. It’s done by either blocking or reflecting light while at the same time being light, easy to apply, and almost transparent. With that said we are well into the 21st century and on our way to even more exciting discoveries and breakthroughs that will have you looking your best all through life. 

Mme V. Fontaine (Fashion Blogger for ChicChicChic.com)

Wishing You a Life of BeingChic Chic Chic

Want to be a fashion blogger for Chic Chic Chic? Contact Us – chicchicchicboutique@gmail.com

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Red Faced?

Simply put Rouge is French for Red. It is derived from the Latin rebeus meaning reddish. As a cosmetic rouge is also known as blush and has a checkered beginning as its use was generally associated with prostitutes and loose women. Today of course it has transcended its fallen past and is an indispensable part of a lady’s cosmetics case. Its proper use makes a woman look radiant, warm, and youthful. Overuse it, however, and one is quickly relegated to the category of either adolescent naïveté or back to its roots of purse swinging down on the corner of walk and don’t walk.

 

At one time rouge was used mostly by men. In general older guys who were starting to get long-in-the-tooth and who had lost that flushed, fresh younger look, whose pale skin made them look as if one foot was already in the grave and the other one, firmly planted on a banana peel. These men would apply theatrical make-up or even a concoction of either beet juice or strawberry juice to “bring back” that youthful look of vigor. 

It was only after World War I that rouge became a mainstay in the women’s makeup arsenal when a few manufacturers introduced make-up sets that contained blush along with eye shadow and foundation. Today blush is not just a synonym for the color red but rather a term describing color that is applied to accentuate the cheekbones, give contour to the face and also eliminate that dreaded pale ghost-like skin look. Modernly it’s available in all colors and countless shades of red including but not limited to pink, violet, and even brown. You’ll also find it available in powder, gel, and in cream form. Generally, the shade, the amount used, etc, is dictated by current trends, personal preference, and of course whether it’s being applied for day use or for going out at night. 

Mme V. Fontaine (Fashion Blogger for ChicChicChic.com)

Wishing You a Life of BeingChic Chic Chic

Want to be a fashion blogger for Chic Chic Chic? Contact Us – chicchicchicboutique@gmail.com

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The Body’s Largest Organ – Your Skin

Skin Care

As far back as 10,000 years ago ancient Egyptians were known to have used herbs, oils and spices like marjoram, thyme, rosemary, lavender, saffron, lily, peppermint, cedar, rose, aloe, olive oil, sesame oil, and almond oil to protect their skin from the harsh arid conditions of the desert as well as the damaging rays of the sun. Humanity has been well aware that oils and botanicals not only help replenish and retain moisture in the skin helping to keep it fresh, supple, young looking, and elastic but also to perfume, color, and soothe it as well. 

The genesis of modern skin care in America came in 1886 when a lady by the name of Harriet Hubbard Ayer acquired the formula for a face cream during a trip to Paris. This cream was marketed by her husband as being used by the beautiful Madame Juliette Recamier (1777-1849) an internationally known socialite. Her adopted daughter described her as having “an incomparable brilliant complexion, that outshone all others”. Thus the cream was named Ayer’s Recamier Cream. Madame Recamier passed away in the year of Mrs. Ayer’s birth so there was no way Ayer’s claim could be disproven. The cream ended up being a huge success and led to the introduction of a line of skin care products which in addition to the cream included lotion, balm, soap, and powder. Under the umbrella of Recamier Toilet Preparations, you could even send for a circular and a free sample of Recamier Powder. Later on, different preparations were also introduced for various skin conditions such as Moth and Freckle Lotion for pigmentation and Honey Almond Cucumber Lotion for irritation or sunburn and Muscle Oil, Special Astringent, and/or Wrinkle Eradicator for lines and sagging contours with names like Luxuria and Ayeristocrat. Thus skin care, as we know it in America, was born. Years later in 1938, Ayer was forced to rename some of its preparations and cease making a number of claims about its products to comply with the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Though there is better oversight today, few things have changed in the last 10,000 years. To this day you can find all of the botanicals and herbs listed above still used to reverse the ravages of time and the damaging rays of the sun. In fact, even the Almond Board of California touts the skin benefits of eating their product. 

Skin Care Takes a Giant Leap Forward (1911)

In Germany after many years of research three men, Oskar Troplowitz, Issac Lifschutz, and Paul Unna, an entrepreneur, chemist, and dermatologist respectively discovered Eucerit. This is an emulsifying agent derived from Lanolin which is a semi-solid wax (some people call it a fat, but it’s not a true fat because it lacks glycerides) composed of long chain esters secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals such as sheep. Why was this discovery so important? Because Eucerit is an emulsifier that can be combined with water to create a smooth cream that does not separate. At that time creams were semi-permanent emulsions made with animal and plant fats that not only separated into oil and water but also quickly became rancid. 

In 1890 Carl Beiersdorf sold his company to Oskar Tropolwitz. Tropolwitz under the Beiersdorf company name (which it still remains to this day) using this newly found emulsifier launched a brand new snow white cream under the name of Nivea. (from the Latin nix, nives meaning snow). The rest as they say is history. Since the day it was introduced in 1911, Nivea was branded with the modern woman in mind. At the time the image they wanted to create was one of a fragile, soft, and delicate lady. The original packaging did not look like it does modernly. The iconic blue and white was the result of a re-launch in 1924. 

Unlike many brands, Nivea succeeded in side-stepping the Nazi regime propaganda machine thanks to Elly Heuss-Knapp who worked as a copywriter for the brand starting in 1934. After World War II, Heuss-Knapp free of the stain of the Third Reich became the first lady of the Federal Republic of Germany at the side of her husband President Theodor Heuss.

Nivea’s pre-war success saw the addition of various products under the Nivea brand. This continues today with Nivea not only keeping up with advances in modern skincare but also representing today’s modern woman and man, not only in Germany but in every corner of the world. Just as the desire of women to keep their skin looking young, soft, and supple the original Nivea cream with its unforgettable nostalgic scent remains literally unchanged. 

Skincare companies have always introduced new products touting various benefits and/or ingredients. Here is a very short list of definitions of words you may have heard used but might not know what they mean or do.

AHA – Alpha Hydroxy Acid, is an acid that has a peeling effect on the skin.

Allantonin – Found in wheat germ it is used to soothe rough cracked skin.

Ceramide – Lipoids that hold the cells in the layer of the skin together, promoting moisture retention.

Collagen – The connective tissue of the skin, it consists of 70% collagen; water-soluble collagen in cosmetics stimulates the formation of new collagen fibers.

Elastin – Fundamental substance of the elastic connective tissue; applies externally, elastin promotes the formation of new elastin fibers that make the skin more elastic.

Hyaluronic Acids – Extremely Hygroscopic (tending to absorb moisture or humidity) these are acids with high moisture retentiveness; they help keep the skin moist in very dry conditions. 

Lipids – Fat and fat-like substances used to counter or stave off wrinkles.

Liposomes – are small artificial vesicles of a spherical shape that can be created from cholesterol and natural non-toxic phospholipids. 

Panthenol – Vitamin B5, speeds up healing and has regenerative properties.

Retinol – Vitamin A, stimulates the skin’s self-protection and has regenerative properties. 

Mme V. Fontaine (Fashion Blogger for ChicChicChic.com)

Wishing You a Life of BeingChic Chic Chic

Want to be a fashion blogger for Chic Chic Chic? Contact Us – chicchicchicboutique@gmail.com