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Brush Up On These 10 Facts About Blush

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As with most things makeup, ancient Egyptians set the trend. To offset their kohl-lined eyes, both men and women would dab on a reddish-brown pigment called ground ochre. (They also patted the powder onto their lips, perhaps creating the first two-in-one cosmetic.) Ancient Greeks followed suit, using the juice of crushed mulberries. And that was just the start of face rouge’s colorful history. Read on to discover more.  

1. GETTING THE PERFECT ROSY GLOW COULD BE DEADLY.


Wealthy Romans used lead compounds to lighten their skin, and then added a pigment called vermilion, made from a powder form of the mineral cinnabar. The look was costly: both materials were incredibly toxic.  

2. THINGS DIDN'T GET MUCH SAFER DURING THE MIDDLE AGES.

To score the coveted pale complexion—seen as sign of wealth—European women would undergo a process called bloodletting to drain out their blood. To highlight their hard-earned pallor, the ladies would dab on a cheek tint made from a mix of strawberries and water.

3. QUEEN ELIZABETH I WAS BIG ON BLUSH …

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Unfortunately her coverage of choice had some downsides (to say the least). To achieve that coveted lightened complexion (yup, still in), women would apply something called ceruse, made from mixing lead paint and vinegar. Then they added a dab of rouge, derived from mercury sulfide. The combination of toxic products would eat away at skin, forcing the wearer to apply even more coats in order to cover up the damage she'd done.

4. … BUT QUEEN VICTORIA BLASTED IT AS UNSEEMLY.

In the 19th century, Britain’s monarch declared makeup as vulgar—only to be used by actors and prostitutes. Behind closed doors, however, young women would pinch their cheeks and dab on beet juice for a more subtle flushed appearance.  

5. FOR ONE WOMAN, ROUGE WAS THE PERFECT RUSE.


In 17th century Italy, Palermo-born Giulia Tofana peddled a so-called complexion aid she dubbed Aqua Tofana. The mix of arsenic, lead, and belladonna (a deadly plant) was marketed to women trapped in unhappy marriages as a way of dispensing with their spouses. Disguised as either a powdered makeup, or hidden in a tiny vial, the flavorless poison could be mixed into any food or drink and left no trace in the bloodstream. Tofana later claimed to have helped poison roughly 600 men between the years of 1633 to 1651, though some of her clients said the deaths were accidental, insisting they really thought they were purchasing makeup. 

6. NON-DEADLY INGREDIENTS (FINALLY) CAUGHT ON IN THE 19TH CENTURY.

The 1825 British guide The Art of Beauty criticized both harsh red shades—“With very few exceptions, ladies have absolutely renounced that glaring, fiery red, with which our antiquated dames formerly masked their face,” the tome stated—and the “dangerous reds” made from lead and cinnabar. Instead, the book advised readers to make use of what they called vegetable reds: “Red sandal wood, root of orchanet, cochineal, Brazil wood, and especially the baster saffron, which yields a very beautiful colour, when it is mixed with a sufficient quantity of talc.”

7. THE FRENCH HELPED PERFECT IT.


Alexandre Napoleon Bourjois whipped up the world’s first powder blush—an alternative to the greasy stage makeup used in the theater—in 1863. By 1879, his little round pot of blush became available to the public. It’s still one of the French brand’s bestselling items today.

8. COCO CHANEL MADE BRONZE FASHIONABLE.

After bronzing herself during a Mediterranean yacht trip, the fashion icon declared in 1929, “A girl simply has to be tanned.”

9. TODAY'S BLUSH FORMULAS STILL HAVE SOME INTERESTING INGREDIENTS.

Cochineal beetle extract, often referred to as carmine, is a bright red dye made from ground-up beetles. It can be found in both blush and lipstick.

10. IN SOME COUNTRIES, BLUSH ISN'T JUST FOR CHEEKS.

Beauty addicts in Japan apply rosy blush just under their eyes. The trend—which got its start in the Harajuku community—is said to make features looks rounder, softer, and younger. 

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David Lynch's Amazon T-Shirt Shop is as Surreal as His Movies
Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images
Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images

David Lynch, the celebrated director behind baffling-but-brilliant films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and Twin Peaks, is now selling his equally surreal T-shirts on Amazon.

As IndieWire reports, each shirt bears an image of one of Lynch’s paintings or photographs with an accompanying title. Some of his designs are more straightforward (the shirts labeled “House” and “Whale” feature, respectively, drawings of a house and a whale), while others are obscure (the shirt called “Chicken Head Tears” features a disturbing sculpture of a semi-human face).

This isn’t the first time Lynch has ventured into pursuits outside of filmmaking. Previously, he has sold coffee, designed furniture, produced music, hosted daily weather reports, and published a book about his experience with transcendental meditation. Art, in fact, falls a little closer to Lynch’s roots; the filmmaker trained for years at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before making his mark in Hollywood.

Lynch’s Amazon store currently sells 57 T-shirts, ranging in size from small to triple XL, all for $26 each. As for our own feelings on the collection, we think they’re best reflected by this T-shirt named “Honestly, I’m Sort of Confused.”

Check out some of our favorites below:

T-shirt that says "Honestly, I'm Sort of Confused"
"Honestly, I'm Sort of Confused"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with a drawing of a sleeping bird on it
"Sleeping Bird"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt that says Peace on Earth over and over again. The caption is pretty on the nose.
"Peace on Earth"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an image of a screaming face made out of turkey with ants in its mouth
"Turkey Cheese Head"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an odd sculpted clay face asking if you know who it is. You get the idea.
"I Was Wondering If You Know Who I Am?"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an image of a sculpted head that is not a chicken. It is blue, though.
"Chicken Head Blue"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with a drawing of a lobster on it. Below the drawing, the lobster is labeled with the word lobster. Shocking, I know.
"Lobster"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an abstract drawing of what is by David Lynch's account, at least, a cowboy
"Cowboy"

Buy it on Amazon

[h/t IndieWire]

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Meet the Feather Artisans Who Adorn Paris's Cabaret Dancers
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You can't have cabaret without the feathers. In Paris, one business has been making the plumed and bedazzled costumes for Moulin Rouge and other music halls since 1929. Maison Février has adorned the likes of Josephine Baker and French ballet dancer Zizi Jeanmaire, painstakingly attaching hundreds of feathers to headdresses, skirts, and other costume elements by hand. They use only feathers from birds specially bred—and not killed—for their colorful feathers. The results, as shown in the Great Big Story video below, are a delight to behold.

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