What cosmetics did women use in the time of Porfirio Díaz and why they avoided makeup

What cosmetics did women use in the time of Porfirio Díaz and why they avoided makeup

The ideals of fashion and beauty in the Porfiriato are characterized by a strong French influence.  Photo: MEDIA THECA INAH
The ideals of fashion and beauty in the Porfiriato are characterized by a strong French influence. Photo: MEDIA THECA INAH

The ideals of fashion and beauty in the Porfiriato are characterized by a strong French influence. To meet the standards and be considered beautiful, theWomen of the time had to have a narrow, hourglass-like waist and fair complexion.

in high society women’s clothing consisted of a corset-tight blouse, with long sleeves, a high, narrow neckline trimmed with lace to match a floor-length bell skirt. High society ladies completed their outfit with accessories such as large feathered hats, fans, umbrellas and bags, but makeup never used.

The only cosmetics used in Porfiriato were creams, soaps and powders for face care.  Photo: MEDIA THECA INAH
The only cosmetics used in Porfiriato were creams, soaps and powders for face care. Photo: MEDIA THECA INAH

European taste popularized faces without a noticeable tint, so the only cosmetics were creams, soaps and powders for face care. In addition to the prevailing trends in Europe, warnings about counterfeit products and the ambiguity in the benefits they have grantedwhich dominated the advertising discourse until the end of Porfirio Díaz’s mandate.

Twentieth-century prostitutes have been portrayed with exaggerated makeup in films such as Nazarín (1958).  Photo: Web Archive
Twentieth-century prostitutes have been portrayed with exaggerated makeup in films such as Nazarín (1958). Photo: Web Archive

The low popularity of cosmetic products was partly due to the fact that, for a long time, the use of makeup was associated with prostitution. The prostitutes of the twentieth century have been portrayed in the cinema with exaggeratedly made up facesAn example of this is the film Nazarino (1958), in which Luis Buñuel tells the story of a humble priest who decides to help Beatriz, a prostitute.

It is worth mentioning that cosmetics have historically been censored. Religious groups were among the most critical and Christian writers have managed to establish the idea that makeup was synonymous with deception. One of the famous people who criticized the use of cosmetics was Saint Cyprian, who said that painted cheeks “obliterated the whole truth”.

During the last decade of Porphyrism there has been a boom in the use of toiletries for skin care.  Photo: MEDIA THECA INAH
During the last decade of Porphyrism there has been a boom in the use of toiletries for skin care. Photo: MEDIA THECA INAH

Therefore, due to aesthetic and social values, Mexican women who lived during the Díaz regime did not wear makeup. However, in the last decade of the Porfiriato there is a boom in the use of bathroom products for skin care, when newspapers began advertising beauty products that offered benefits such as sun protection, blemish, wrinkle and acne removal. One of the most important means The illustrated worldit displayed advertisements with phrases such as: Nature’s Great Remedy for Skin, Eternal Freshness and Perfect Beauty, Beauty Can Be Cultivated, Withered Woman’s Salvation, or Lack of beauty in women is unforgivable.

The increase in the consumption of cosmetic products is also due to the emergence of commercial cosmetics, which added quality and values ​​associated with the brand. Brands of German, American and French origin arrived in the country, such as Rieger and Kaloderma, Barclay & Co, Lanman & Kemp, Gerhard Mennen Company and Amour and Company, which had a wide range that included crystalline and white tar soaps, magnolia powders , cologne and perfumes of various kinds.

To combat the fear of buying counterfeit products, companies have resorted to including quality seals on packaging. Some companies have even run advertisements to boost their reputation, one with an image of a dwarf man in front of the word Reuters, the brand name, and the text that reads, “It’s not legit without the name SOAP REUTER Y WITH THE. BARCLAY & CO. BRAND.

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