Beauty – The Art of Making Others Beautiful
We often use the word beauty in different ways. Most often, beauty is described as the aesthetic quality of certain objects which makes these objects aesthetically pleasurable to see. Such objects may include sunsets, landscapes, beautiful humans and artistic works of art. Beauty, along with art and aestheticism, is probably the most significant theme of aesthetics, among the major branches of psychology. According to some psychological theories, the definition of beauty is determined by genetic predisposition and biological adaptations.
According to a famous art historian, Charles Leiter, the aesthetic quality of a face is determined genetically by the iris, or colored part of the eye, which reflects the color of the iris, or skin pigmentation. Thus, a brunette beauty is said to be more attractive than a red-head beauty. Arthistorians, on the other hand, claim that beauty is subjective; it depends on what the viewers think of it, on the way it affects the person’s emotional state, and on the degree to which it satisfies the person’s need for beauty. For many people, beauty surrounds them at all times; when they feel good about themselves they let their attractiveness shine through. For other people, however, beauty is something they strive for, and are conscious of until they have attained a particular standard of it.
In recent years, archeologist have found evidence for the existence of a ‘halo effect’, whereby a person’s attractiveness is influenced by the kind of clothes they wear, and the kind of environment they are in. Thus, gothic clothes give way to classical clothes; jeans give way to long pants; biker shirts give way to elegant tank tops. The archeological finding concerning the influence of hair color on beauty can be explained through the color theory of fashion: bright colors make the skin glisten; pale colors give way to tanned skin; dark colors are associated with hair-less bodies; the idea is that light colors give way to darker ones. This may explain why gothic haircuts give way to hipster haircuts. If this theory is correct, then we can attribute the Gothic/emo styles of hair color to the need of looking ‘cool’.
Another explanation of the emergence of beauty cults can be traced to the growing role of cosmetics in our lives. People used to use herbs and plants to apply make-up on their faces, bodies, and hair; this made natural beauty attainable. But as makeup became more affordable, more women started buying cosmetics to enhance their natural beauty. Cosmetics, in today’s language, usually refers to non-harsh cosmetics like eye shadows and blush. In the beginning, cosmetic manufacturers only concentrated on four areas: face-firming cream, lipsticks and glosses, body lotions, and concealers.
After several attempts to apply chemicals to natural beauty processes, chemists developed an inexpensive yet efficient whitening agent: the white lead. White lead was chemically synthesized from sulfur and tin, and its primary ingredients were lead sulfide and tannic acid. These ingredients combined were highly effective against dark pigments, which gave birth to mercury as one of the first permanent cosmetics. From then on, beauty products containing mercury became commonplace. This was the era of Toothpaste and Stains, and mercury poisoning from the teeth became a serious threat to society.
Cosmetics in the modern age hasn’t gotten simpler; people use numerous kinds of makeup, from loose powder to lipstick, eye shadow, and blush. Moreover, many makeup artists combine different effects, using gourmet herbs for example to soften eyebrows or add a sparkle to cheeks. Thus, it is no surprise that Greek women are considered to be among the most beautiful in the world; Greek women have mastered the art of makeup artistry, using numerous ingredients from herbs to cosmetics. Their faces show off their unique style: they are not afraid to be photographed, and they know how to turn even the dullest faces into striking works of beauty with makeup and colors.