OPEN THREAD: Can You Imagine Your Beauty Routine in a Different Time?

Hamilton has me wondering what it was like to be a total babe in the late 18th century.
Publish date:
June 17, 2016
open thread, historical beauty, 18th century, Hamilton, Broadway

On the off chance that you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that a) my dog is the cutest and b) I had the mind-blowing privilege and pleasure of attending the official Hamilton Tony party at Tavern on the Green this past Sunday.

Surrounded by friends and family of the cast and crew of the Broadway blockbuster, I got to watch the Tony awards on big-ass TV screens while drinking magical hibiscus-tea vodka cocktails, eating the greatest grilled-cheese sandwich in the history of either cheese or bread, and wrapping myself in one of the free pashminas they set out in baskets for the guests because it got a little chilly. (Remember when pashminas were a *thing*? I'm sure these were, like, $3 street pashminas, but I'm going to cherish my olive-green Tony-party pashmina forever.) Hamilton won Tony after Tony, and it was exhilarating and meaningful to watch, knowing everyone around me had either contributed to the production in some way or was very close with someone who had.

Congratulations #Hamilton!

A post shared by Marci Robin (@marcirobin) on

Right after the Tonys ended, the viewing party turned into the after-party. Questlove took to the DJ booth, and cast members, crew, and both Broadway and screen stars made their way over, allowing me to freeze up in the presence of Queen Mariska "Olivia Benson" Hargitay at a theatre-industry party for the second time in a single year. Awesome.

Alas, having to go to work the next day, I couldn't even stay long enough to see Lin-Manuel Miranda make his entrance. And honestly, the only thing that got me through my hangover on Monday was the rage I felt when I saw Barbra Streisand had eventually shown up and I missed it.

Even though I got to attend the Hamilton party, one thing I haven't attended is Hamilton the show itself. But, at long last, I finally got up the nerve to ask my connection to the show if I, an average person who does not run a country or movie studio, could get in to see it before much of the original cast departs. And I am currently making myself late for TONIGHT'S PERFORMANCE because I cannot leave you without an Open Thread.

But none of this is about beauty, Marci, you may be saying, perhaps with a few curse words and eye-rolls thrown in. Oh, but it is! Because it got me thinking about what beauty routines might have been like in the time of Hamilton — the late 1700s.

According to, "The key aspects of the 18th century cosmetic look were a complexion somewhere between white and pale, red cheeks in a large circular shape (particularly for French court wear) or upside down triangle, and red lips. There were two main cosmetics worn by most women and men: blanc and rouge."

So tempted to start a beauty brand called Blanc & Rouge right now.

"Red makeups were made of vermilion (ground from cinnabar and including mercury) or creuse (made by exposing lead plates to the vapor of vinegar); both are toxic."


"By mid-century, red pomades (some in stick forms) for lips were being sold."

The first lipstick?! Yay!

"Eyebrows were half moon shaped with tapered ends, and could be darkened with kohl, elderberries, burnt cork, or lampblack (soot from oil lamps)."

Let's make that trend happen on Instagram, you guys!

Based on the information available, I don't think I'd do very well with a late 18th-century beauty routine. I already need to use hypoallergenic stuff in order to not irritate my eyes, so adding creuse to the mix seems unwise, no?

I'll gladly try looks from a more recent era, like the '60s eyeliner Kristina taught us today. If I have time (which I don't) I'll even try to do that for tonight's show. (Or not, because I'll probably cry it off.)

So, for today's Open Thread, I ask:

  • What historical beauty look is your favorite?
  • Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong era, beauty-wise?
  • Has anyone here seen Hamilton? What's your favorite Broadway show?