An overview over makeup and hairstyles for men in the 17th century, a companion post to A beautiful visage- 17th century female beauty. The focus is on European upper class gentlemen. I have chosen paintings that are good examples to give a sense of what kind of looks that were popular. Click on the links under each picture to see the whole painting.
Karl X of Sweden
embodies quite well the ideal man of the 17th century. Short and
rather less than slender, he was a hugely successful man. Winning a throne that
it was by no means certain that he would, his cousin Kristina could have
married and have children instead of abdicating, he was also very attractive to
the ladies. And here are a few other Swedish poster boys, men known at the time
for being very handsome.
But Lois XVI who fits in better with the beauty standards of today, was also considered a handsome man.
On the other hand, Charles II who doesn't look half-bad either were not seen as handsome by his contemporaries.
In the early 17th
century, men could use white paint, though one rarely sees such blatant
examples as the one below. The almost metallic white sheen looks very similar
to the effect Bismuth has on skin.
As the century went
on, some men used makeup, but in a more discreet way with flesh-coloured powder
and a dab of rouge. Bulwer, the old miser, seems to have missed that more
natural application of cosmetics and just moans over the fact that both men and
women paint their eyes. And, of course, the
awful habit of wearing an ear ring.
Hairstyles grow longer
and longer as the century progressed..
With some rather peculiar versions that mixed hair lengths, the long locks were called love locks.
For several decades it
was common to wear one’s natural hair long and flowing. The facial hair disappeared, first the beard and eventually the moustache.
The hairstyle became
curlier and fuller and though some may have been made from natural hair, the
Allonge wig entered the stage and by the end of the century, really big wigs were the
There were also a shorter wig, the periwig, suitable for travels, hunting or warfare.
Corson, Richard, Fashions In Makeup, 1972
Kipar, Nichole, Male hairstyles
Pointer, Sally, The Artifice of Beauty, 2005
I'm wondering if handsome man = had teeth and no disfiguring scars or boils - that simple. ;)ReplyDelete
I think that would be to over-simplify it. :) Good teeth and skin have always been considered neccesary for beauty, but each century always have trends when it comes to which kind of looks that was more attractive than other.Delete
I believe that uneven hair-length style is called a "love-lock."ReplyDelete
Yes, so it is, which I missed when I wrote this. :)Delete