Review: Face Paint The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge

Hey Beauties!

Ever since Lisa Eldridge (makeup artist extraordinaire) announced that she wrote a book about makeup, I wanted to get my hands on. Fortunately, I got it for my birthday from my boyfriend. History is not my forte or even something that I like, but history of makeup is a whole other thing. I enjoyed reading this book and today I'll tell you a bit more about it and I'll also share with you my favorite thoughts and quotes from the book.

The book is divided into two sections. The first is The Ancient Palette and the second is The Business of Beauty. Ancient Palette talks about the first makeup products in Ancient Egypt up to the 20th century. It's divided into three themes: Red, White and Black. The Business of Beauty talks more about the fist beauty brand pioneers and how the beauty industry has evolved through the years. From home made recipes to ultra technologically designed makeup products for every need. 

The book has a paper cover with artistically made up face. It looks like pigments were scattered all over the model's face. It has a simplistic, but powerful design. If you take off the paper cover it has the same image, but without the title. It's a hard cover, so the quality is great.

On the inside of the cover you'll find image with vintage makeup packaging. It's a stunner to look at and compare with today's packaging. Reading through this book, I realized that the first makeup products had even more luxurious packaging than some high end brands have now. Obviously high end brands still like to flaunt their intricate designs, but drugstore makeup is a lot more simplistic and it just reflect different era in my opinon. 

On the last page or rather on the inside of the cover at the back, you'll find the opposite - modern day makeup products. The range includes high end, drugstore makeup as well as some from Asian market. 

The book is easy to read and very intriguing. I especially like the side stories in each theme that tell you interesting stories about certain people or state interesting beauty facts. In between the chapters are also pages of Makeup Muses. Those are the famous women that inspired generations to copy their look and a lot of those are still quoted by today's celebrities as the ultimate beauty icons. These muses go from Nefertiti, Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn all the way to Madonna and Amy Winehouse. 

I have to say one of my favorites from the book are stories of first beauty pioneers. It's a funny inside into the battles between brand pioneers and funny stories of how they came into the beauty business. 

Now, let's see some of the thoughts and quotes that I really liked from this book. The first are facts from the Ancient Palette section. I would like to state that obviously the thoughts are not mine and that everything I write from now on is adopted by what Lisa Eldridge has written in her book.

Ancient Palette

Painting our faces is as much part of a human nature as the need to eat and sleepThe first reason for painting our faces was to protect from the elements, to camouflage or it was part of ritual. Nature provides us with pigments.

Rouge is the longest-standing makeup item in existence.

"Painting on a red mouth has the uncanny knack of seeming to belong to antiquity and tradition whilst simultaneously appearing decidedly modern and daring."

Egyptians, who lived 10.000 BC, were most experimental and accepting of makeup. They used moisturizer, khol, lip and cheek rouge as well as nail color.

Makeup was most unexpected when women were the most oppressed.

In Ancient Greece only courtesans, professional mistresses and prostitutes had more freedom with makeup, although all women wore makeup.

Pompadour Pink was the shade of blush named by Madame de Pompadour by Boucher (mistress of King Louis XV).

Women are naturally paler than men. They have less hemoglobin, which is red pigment in blood and less melanin, which is brown pigment in skin and hair, in their body. Women are lighter during ovulation. Hair and skin is permanently darkened after the first pregnancy.

One of the first skin whiteners was rice powder in East Asia. 

Renaissance women asked physicians to put a leech behind each ear. This made their faces paler. It was probably used as a pre-party routine.

The most enduring product through the years is kholHumans have defined, protected and emphasized their eyes with black lines for thousands of years.

Khol is Egyptian invention and was worn by women and men.

At the end of sixteenth and in seventeenth century black patches were popular. They could be cut in desirable shapes like hearts. Placement of these patches had a meaning. If you wore it on right cheek it meant you are married, if you wore it on left, it meant you were engaged. If the patch was by the mouth you were up for grabs and if it was by the corner of the eye, you were a mistress.

In Egypt khol was used as medicine to protect the eyes from infection and strong sunlight. In 2010 scientists proved that it was medicinal. They researched khol from some grave.

In Japan, China and south-east Asia they dyed their teeth black. It was considered beautiful. 

The Business of Beauty

"True lovers of beauty do not attempt to paint the lily or add perfume to the rose; but as rose and the lily need rain and sunshine to blossom forth in pristine freshness and fragrance, so do we mortals require the little accessories of the toilette to look our radiant best." - Advertisement

Skin care was well represented, but not makeup. Even companies like Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein did not advertise the use of makeup. Makeup ads started in the late 20s

In the beginning it was all about negative advertising. They were selling products to women by playing on their insecurities. The advertising was overtly negative, sexist and patronizing all from 20s to 60s.

One of the most interesting facts that I found out in this book is the fact that a lot of beauty pioneers were from Europe, but started their business in USA. Also, those that were not from Europe, lied about being from there as it meant that they were in a way superior or it helped their status as a beauty pioneer.

Here are some examples: Max FactorMaksymilian Faktorowicz from Poland, Helena Rubenstein from Poland, Elizabeth Arden born in Toronto as Florence Nightingale Graham, Estee Lauder born as Josephine Esther Mentzer in Queens and RevlonCharles Revson born in Boston.

Max Factor was the first to start manufacturing makeup on large scale for regular women. 

Helena Rubenstein was less than five feet tall. Her famous mantra was: “With the right pair of shoes a woman can conquer the world.” and “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.” Her advertising was harsh. She was also the first beauty pioneer to discuss different types of skin.

Estee Lauder's mother was Hungarian and her father was Czech. The name Estee Lauder was suggestive of a European Identity. In 1968 she launched Clinique the first dermatologist tested, fragrance free cosmetic brand. It was a three step care routine. Estee Lauder owns more than 25 companies among which are MAC Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, Aveda, Smashbox and Tom Ford Beauty.

Charles Revson created Revlon. He created first opaque and fast-drying nail polish with the help of editor Diane Vreeland, who gave him the bottle of her nail polish from Europe. He pretty much owes his success to her. Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein hated Charles. Rubinstein called him "the nail man" and Arden called him "that man". It is said that Charles brought out a men's fragrance called That Man just to annoy her. 

Charles saw Estee Lauder as his real rival. He also painted his own nails to test it and went out like that to sell it. Revlon was also the first to match lipstick with the nail polish color. 

Makeup is term from theater and comes out of phrase “making up”.

Gabrielle Chanel: "Lipstick is a woman’s prime weapon of seduction."

Rosie the Riviter was a wartime icon with her red lips. Women were encouraged to paint their lips red to keep up the moral.

In 20s women’s public bathrooms were known as “powder rooms”.

Max Factor made first creamy version of foundation. Chanel made first tanning oil and Revlon made the first kind of fake tan for legs called Leg Silk. The bronzer came to the market as a way of adopting makeup to your tan. 

Makeup companies that started out in theaters:

  • Bourjois - rice powder
  • Leichman - stick greasepaint 
  • Kryolan - Kryolan is unique, because they’ve never discontinued colors. They still have recipes from all the colors and can reproduce it for you, if you wish to.
Makeup companies that started out as perfume houses:

  • Guerlain - one of the oldest perfumeries in the world 
  • Coty – now under Bourjois and are the market leader in creating affordable celebrity fragrances
  • Lancome - (founder Armand Petitjean was executive at Coty). Lancome name was inspired by the Chateau de Lancosme and their rose logo represents roses that surround the ruins of chateau.
Makeup companies that started out as couture houses:

  • Chanel – packaging is key, chic branding, known for lipsticks and nail polishes (Rouge Noir shade) 
  • Dior – known for lipsticks
Some makeup brands started out as toiletry giants They mostly started by producing soaps.

  • Procter&Gamble - started selling soap. They own fragrance, beauty, hair and skin companies, including Max Factor. 
  • Boots - a household name in United Kingdom. It’s high street pharmacy chain and it started out as herbalist store. No.7 is their makeup range. They merged with Walgreens. 
  • L’Oreal - the world’s largest cosmetics company. It was started by Eugene Schuller. L’Oreal owns Vichy, Lancome, Body Shop, Helena Rubenstein, Maybelline, Urban Decay, Shu Uemura and YSL Beaute.
Some makeup brands were founded by makeup artists:

  • Shu Uemura - created first oil-based cleanser. It’s known for its eyelash curler. 
  • MAC (Make-up Art Cosmetics) - known for limited editions and huge range of products. It was bought by Estee Lauder. 
  • Bobbi Brown - was also bought by Estee Lauder. It’s one of the first brands to regularly use black models. 
  • Trish MvEvoy 
  • Laura Mercier 
  • Francois Nars 
  • Kevyn Aucoin 
  • Charlotte Tilbury

Trends are technology led. Most of innovations come from Japan. Apart from glitter, all makeup innovations are no less than 20 years old. Nowadays brands use synthetic glitters and pigments, because they are more predictable.

Mica is mineral and it’s a Latin work micare which means "to flash".

Glitter was invented as a mistake. Henry Ruschmann was machinist and cattle rancher from New Jersey. He was cutting colored plastic and created sparkled fragments. This was in 1934. It is still the biggest manufacturer of glitter. Their slogan is: “Our glitter covers the world.”

Use of pearl in cosmetics was inspired by car industry and iridescent car paint. Very fine satin-finish synthetic pearls are often used for highlighters, blushers and foundations and they give subtle, glowing sheen. Next came pearl made from glass particles called borosilicate glass. It had power of reflection. Glass particles are coated with metallic silver and gold and act like a mirror. They are used in lipsticks, eye shadows and eyeliners.

Silicone came from medical industry. They used it to coat the instruments to ensure they glide smoothly during operations.

Cosmetic-grade silicone was first used in lipsticks to make them long-wearing. New lipsticks are made using silicone oils with small level of plant oils. Silicone is also used in foundations. It’s combined with oils and polymers for a flexible mesh-like film on the skin. First to use this technology was Revlon Colorstay, Lancome Teint Idole and L’Oreal Color Resist. These days they add more water for freshness and thinner formula.

Makeup today is about sexual attraction, instinct to produce and group identity. We want to feel like we belong to out tribe.

Historian Madeleine Marsh says: “The makeup business today is all about the quest for perfection combined with ruthless commerce.”

Today peer-to-peer recommendations are the most powerful impetus to buying a product – forums, blogs, YouTube...

Makeup can be bonding and confidence-boosting experience. Application can be relaxing and fun.

Makeup is what you make of it. It is a choice.” - Slater

Cosmetics can be a means of empowerment, as long as we don’t confirm to just one ideal.

I really like Lisa Eldridge's though on make up. She said: “Ultimately, nothing empowers a woman more than the right to a good education, and the freedom to choose whether to wear a red lip and smoky eye…or not.

I think I provided you with a lot of interesting facts and I absolutely loved this book. Apart from being well written and full of many interesting facts, it also has stunning photography. Some of historically famous persons, first makeup products and amazing modern makeup creations. It's my first beauty book and I think it's appropriate that it's by Lisa Eldridge. She is my favorite makeup artist, because she has a range of creating the most natural flattering makeup and also doing some very unique artistic cover makeup. Her vision of enhancing natural beauty fits well with my perception of how I think makeup should be used daily. Of course, you can go all out and crazy, but for the most women, makeup is a good tool to enhance their naturally pretty features and to feel empowered. 

I'll leave you with this funny, but true, quote from the book.


  1. I just found out about your blog and it's amazing!
    I love Slovenia, I've been to Maribor for 4 times and LOVE it!!

    I'll keep following you :*

    Sanja's Burgundy Blog
    Sanja's Burgundy Blog on Facebook

    1. Oh thank you :). I studied in Maribor, so I like it too ;).

  2. Uh, všečna knjiga (sodeč po tem, kar si izpostavila)! :) Oglaševanje pa sem in tja še vedno preferira negativno oglaševanje. Torej, to da nastavijo nek problem (bodisi aknasto kožo, lomljive lase, itd.), ki ga njihov ponujeni produkt lahko reši. Ne samo reši, pač pa dotičnega posameznika celo osreči. Oglaševanje vedno apelira na željo posameznika. Produkt pa je nikoli ne zadovolji popolnoma. Kar privede do tega da hrepenimo po vedno novih izdelkih, ki bodo "tisti pravi". Celotna kozmetična in še marsikatera druga industrija je zgrajena na takšnem delnem zadovoljevanju želje. :D No, malo sem zatavala. :D
    Slike so mi zelo všeč. Čudovite so! Si bom ob priliki sposodila tole knjigo ali pa našla kako free-pdf verzijo, da malo preletim :)

    1. Vidim, da ti je zanimiva tema :). Jaz se tudi rada spotikam ob oglase. Sploh vse "oh in sploh" trditve - torej očitno pretiravanje, ki je celo dovoljeno, če kao kupec ve, da to ne more biti res. Hah! Ampak veš kako negativno je bilo prej...da so prav pisali v oglase, če ne boš skrbela za svojo kožo, te bo mož zapustil, odšel k drugi, ki še nima gubic. Jaz sem se smejala, čeprav je žalostno, kako so "pritiskali" na ženske negotovosti. Prav nesramno..
      Itak..čisto dobro si opisala. Pa nove Barila testenine bodo rešile vse spore v družini, ker jih rabiš, da se vsi zberejo skupaj za kosilo in družijo :D.
      Res je zanimiva, sploh če te zanimajo take stvari. Pa na sploh je tako preprosto napisana, da ni težka za branje in vmes je toliko zanimivih dejstev, ki popestrijo golo zgodovino :). Od slik pa so najbolj zanimivi oglasi z tono besedila. Prav vidiš besedišče, ki so ga takrat uporabljali in večina oglasov je bila narisanih (ne fotografije) :).

    2. Ja, absolutno! Študiram takšno smer, da takih tem, kot so potrošništvo in oglaševanje ni moč zaobiti. :D Ja, se strinjam, prej so bile te oglaševalske kampanije res hardcore. Zdaj smo za takšne stvari preveč politično korektni.
      Jaja, in CocaCola happy family. Pa madeži, ki jih odstrani Persil in posledice, ki jih ima na medsebojne odnose etc. To je sila zanimivo preučevati, ali pa vsaj spremljati s "kritičnimi očali" :D
      Vsekakor bom pregledala tole knjigo :)
      Ja, jaz sem gledala serijo Mad Men, ki govori o oglaševanju v 50. in 60. letih, če se ne motim in je fenomenalna. Res vidiš kako pridejo do ideje in uresničitve oglasov in kako to vpliva na potrošnike.

    3. Moram pogledat ta Mad Men, sem že slišala za to serijo, samo sem pozabila pogledati :).

  3. Ni fer- moj brat je trenutno v Londonu in predn je šel sem se komaj prepričala, da mu nisem naročila da mi nazaj prinese to knjigo.
    In po tem ko sem tole prebrala, sem mu takoj pisala če mi jo lahko poišče...
    Bye bye money -.- :D

    (Ampak kul review, sm excited da jo preberem! :D )

    1. Hehe, ojej :D. Upam, da ti jo vseeno prinese in ti bo zanimiva, da ne bo škoda denarja ;). Hvala :)

  4. Super objava, me veseli, da si izpostavila toliko stvari in nam približala vsebino knjige. Sem pa kar več minut bulila v te fotografije v knjigi, ki so odlične. Definitivno moram prebrati, xx

    1. Mi je bila tako zanimiva, da sem si mislila, da bo vam tudi všeč, če izpostavim vsaj ta zanimiva dejstva. Kdor bo bral knjigo, pa bo itak izvedel še več podrobnosti o tem :). Fotografije so pa res paša za oči. Pa tudi tiste z vintage makeup šatuljicami in oglasi so hecni :D.

  5. Great, now I really, really want it <3
    Sem si jo kar shranila na WL na Book Depository :D

  6. I NEED this in my life, ASAP! :p

    1. For sure. Must have for every beauty lover :D