Pride and Prejudice (1995 film)

The short answer is yes, lip stain existed during the Regency, and young ladies could make it at home! In deference to the simple and fresh looks preferred at the time, it was not for every day, and using lip stains in excess was frowned upon, no matter what level of society the lady belonged. The fairer a lady’s complexion, the more beautiful she was considered. However, she may have been considered ill if she was too pale.

Silver cachou box for lip rouge 1797, Regency Cosmetics and Make-Up

While some ladies feigned illness to wear rouge regularly without the censure of society, many ladies would wear a touch of rouge and lip stain, called lip pomade. This was certainly the case for special events, such as attending the theatre or dinner at the home of someone in a higher social circle than their own. The same powder a young lady might make for rouge in the stillroom would create a matching pomade with some fat, oil, or wax as the base. And that is not all! A young woman might have eye shadow or a white “paint” foundation to lighten the complexion. Similarly, an older lady who had grown up in the Georgian period would find the absence of paint unseemly and may continue the practice without it being frowned upon.

Pride and Prejudice (1995 film)

Those of the working class, working long and exhausting hours, who would have benefited from a beauty cream, rarely had funds for the expenditure. If the mistress of a house or a young lady made some in the stillroom, she might choose to gift the treasured cream to the housekeeper or her lady’s maid. Beauty has always been in the eye of the beholder and while this may now be a truth universally acknowledged, the fresher, more natural look of the early Regency was not widely à la mode.

Powders of vermilion, carmine, alkanna root, red sandalwood and saffron were used to colour rouges and lip pomades, from “Women’s Regency Makeup: An Overview”

Sources for She Wasn’t Born With Those Lips:

H&MUA Team “Women’s Regency Makeup: An Overview,” Hair & Makeup Artist Handbook, August 21, 2022

Dodge, Rachel “Regency Women: Beauty Behind the Scenes,” Jane Austen’s World August 9, 2021

Forsling, Yvonne “Regency Cosmetics and Makeup,” YvonneSapce 1999-2022

Walton, Geri “Cosmetics of the Georgian and Regency Eras,” Geri Walton September 12, 2014

4 responses to “She Wasn’t Born With Those Lips”

  1. Regina Jeffers Avatar

    As I have rarely used lipstick in my 75 years (ChapStick, but not even much lip gloss), I had never considered this issue. Thanks for the information.

  2. kimbelle1 Avatar

    It was a lot of fun to research and write this blog as I had not considered how it was done. And there are days a lady needs to add a little color to her cheeks to hide being tired from staying up all night with a good book ;)! Thank you, Miss Regina!!!

  3. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    Great post! I don’t wear a lot of makeup. Blush once in a while and lip gloss. I don’t know if I could be so handy as to make my own makeup!lol

    1. kimbelle1 Avatar

      Oh, I am certain I would not be so patient these days either! But I could not resist researching it given how plain so many JAFF novels always note that a girl would blush, I would use a little to hide them in company with Colonel Fitzwilliam or Colonel Brandon! Thank you for reading it~

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