A Royal Example: Queen Elizabeth I

A prime example of a woman during the Renaissance Period is Queen Elizabeth I. She held tremendous political power and was well suited for the role of monarchy, in which she reigned for 45 years.

In terms of her face complexion, she had “fair hair, bright eyes, snow-white skin and red cheeks and lips” (Leed). Almost every woman during her time looked like this too. Extremely pale was favored during this time, because it was a sign of nobility, wealth, and delicacy. Queen Elizabeth I not only applied white powder to her face but to her neck and bosom as well. It was believed that “the royal body was the most precious body in the kingdom, and hence deserved the greatest” (Ashenberg 170). She was offered the best makeup material and received the best remedies on how to cover up her blemishes, freckles, and spots. However, Queen Elizabeth I was careful not to “cake” her face on with too much makeup because then it could cause serious skin damage. Only the high class woman like the Queen could use donkey’s milk to help nourish their skin during baths and washes. For her eyes, she would use drops of belladonna to provide a bright sparkle and outlined them with kohl to make them appear wider. For her lips, she would choose rosy red or dark lipstick made of vermilion (mercuric sulfide).

For her hair, she plucked her eyebrows because this was common among the court ladies. A high hairline exemplified a sense of nobility, so she would pluck her brow hair back an inch to create a fashionably high forehead. Also, she would keep it bleached a strawberry blondish color, using a dozen recipes to give it red-orange tint. Surprisingly, urine was even a substance used to help make one of the recipes. To keep her hair beautifully curly, she would tightly curl the front portion and arrange it into rolls on either side of her head. Basically, Queen Elizabeth I had it all and every girl tried their best to emulate her gorgeous looks and curly red hair during the Renaissance Period.


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