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The Artifice of Beauty: A History and Practical Guide to Perfume and Cosmetics Hardcover – 26 May 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sutton Publishing (26 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750938870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750938877
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,267,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Why did Egyptians wear so much make up? Were the Vikings really unwashed barbarians? How did the fashionable Elizabethan deal with bathing, lice and excessive facial hair? What happened underneath all that hairpowder and scented pomade in the eighteenth century? How did young women find out about the latest beauty products in the past? This fascinating and unique book traces the way in which we have adorned, perfumed and presented ourselves from the earliest prehistoric evidence right through to the dawn of the multi-million dollar cosmetics industry. We discover what the perfumes found in Tutankhamen's tomb would have smelt like, what made the medieval woman so synonymous with 'the lily and the rose', and where the most fashionable place was for a woman to buy perfume in the eighteenth century. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century the devil reputedly carried a looking glass, and the most expensive cosmetics could kill. A century later, Beau Brummel recommended the scent of freshly aired linen as an appropriate perfume for a gentleman, and Napoleon himself doused himself in quantities of cologne.

This richly illustrated book also includes a wide selection of modernised recipes for those wishing to experience some of the cosmetics or perfumes used by our ancestors.

About the Author

Sally Pointer combines an academic background in archaeology with a lifelong curiosity about how the everyday objects of the past were made and used. She lives in Mountain Ash, near Cardiff.

7 customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

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6 April 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
One person found this helpful
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10 December 2006
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
5 people found this helpful
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31 January 2017
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
3 September 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
19 January 2012
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20 December 2006
Format: Hardcover
7 people found this helpful
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9 October 2010
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