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Be inspired by tradition with Downton Abbey's Elizabethan beauty look

06 NOVEMBER 2012

When Mrs Patmore, Downton Abbey's trusty and traditional cook exclaims "Is that rouge on your cheeks Missy", she is promptly reminded that, for women, times are changing.

Not only has the turn-of-the-century drama brought us the trials and tribulations of an upstairs-downstairs household and the horror of the First World War, but the dressing rooms of Downton Abbey have also played host to the history of a cosmetic revolution. 


Michelle Dockery / Lady Mary

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As the third series of ITV's English costume drama marked the beginning of the 1920's, flapper-style dresses came on the show in full force with glistening headbands and tightly permed curls.

In fact, invented in the early 20th century the Marcel wave machine which to uses hot irons to curl hair was shown off on the show as Anna, the ladies-maid, practices styling her mistress' up-do with the new device to create billowing waves throughout her pinned-back locks.

Indeed the clothes, hair and backdrop of this progressive time are all presented to be utterly desirable. Effortlessly elegant, you would be hard pressed to find any fake tan on any of the Downton beauties as a naturally luminous, fair complexion would have been en vogue during the Edwardian age.

Makeup artist behind the scenes, Anne Oldham revealed her secret to perfecting that fresh-faced and almost translucent complexion by using the lightest of illuminating foundations, such as those by Chanel and Armani, which wouldn't be noticed on film.

 

Laura Carmichael / Lady Edith

 


And, in real life, actresses Michelle Dockery and Laura Carmichael who play Ladies Mary and Edith, both maintain their look of a classic English rose, often being spotted with very little makeup yet immaculately presented.

However, naturally blessed with striking dark eyebrows and hair, Michelle announced that the show stuck to its historical value as much as possible:

"No mascara is allowed at all on set. Historically, women wouldn’t have been introduced to those kind of products then, so we can’t use them."

Before this time women would have used soap mixed with soot to darken their lashes. But despite cosmetic brand Maybelline having produced the first mascara in 1913, aristocratic ladies such as the Crawley sisters would have ditched the smokey eye for a more classic finish to their flawless skin with a soft dusting of blush and just a slick of light rouge.

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