Raising the Tone: Color, an addictive book about the history of color palettes

Now, thanks to Barbie dolls, pink has permeated everything and our wardrobes are filled with color like every summer, maybe now is a good time to discover what’s behind the paint and make the world a better place. Also in the beauty universe, because from the origins of eyeliner to cosmetics that poison women,

History of Palettes Covers all areas of life.

British journalist Victoria Finlay reflects this in her book Color, published in our country with Captain Swing, a book for those driven by boundless curiosity to People who act rejoice.Because, as she herself commented in the preface to her work, “Many times

Art History Dedicated to looking at those who make art” But “there are also stories to tell about those who make art”.

Like John Goffe Rand, he designed the first collapsible paint tube, enabling artists around the world to take to the fields, streets or beaches to paint.As Finley pointed out, without

painting There would be no Cézanne, Monet, Sisley or Pissarro in tube oil. Something similar happens in the world of beauty, someone discovers or designs something that allows us to find everything we need in our makeup bags today.

lethal powder

Many materials are used to make white paint, but the best of these is white lead, or basic lead carbonate. Finley said European painters considered it one of the most important pigments: it was used to prepare canvases,

Color layers, stippling eyes or adding highlights. But of course, since it contains lead, it’s toxic whether it’s inhaled when grinding it up or absorbed into the skin when it’s handled. Or when it’s used as a cosmetic.

At the end of the 19th century, cosmetics company George W. Laird released a series of advertisements suggesting that the beauty secret that would allow a woman to conquer a man was her “Flor de Juventud.”

base makeup. Back then, white lead had been used in face creams and cosmetics since Egyptian times, was also used by geisha, and was a beauty essential in Rome.

Luckily, the beauty industry has evolved a lot, and pressed powder isn’t what it used to be. / Edz Norton – Unsplash

But it wasn’t until 1877 that the case of a housewife who bought several bottles of Flor de Juventud became more famous, “which she used seriously and died of

lead poisoning«. Oddly enough, in order to avoid this dire outcome, the remedy discovered by the French toxicologist Georges Petit came in handy when he passed by a white lead factory and saw the factory workers drink three meals a day of milk. Healthy Target milk and its calcium counteract the effects of Unhealthy Target lead dust.

Protective Pencil, War Pencil


eyeliner They were called ‘kohl’, a name some people still retain to this day, which comes from the Arabic ‘kahala’ meaning ‘dyed eye’. It is a powder derived from antimony and is today considered an ornament in the West, but in Asia it is often used as a spiritual protection and health remedy.

In the chapter devoted to black, Finley points out that black was already used in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, and that in Taliban-ruled Kabul, fundamentalist soldiers always stood out because they wore black

outline the eyes Black to show that Allah protects them. It also has antiseptic properties and is sometimes used to prevent conjunctivitis.

Today, a century after archaeologists discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt, their use is so decorative that we can see it in

liquid formGel Or Crayons.

Children in West Asia use powdered eyeshadow to protect them from evil spirits and conjunctivitis. /

Srimathi Jayaprakash / Unsplash

Speaking of pencils, Finley argues in the same chapter that the pencils that some of us still use weren’t invented until the 16th century.The most heroic version is colored pencils

green Manufactured in Great Britain during World War II.

Charles Fraser-Smith, who inspired the Q character in the James Bond films, added a silkscreen map and a small compass below the map.

eraser For use by pilots flying over enemy territory.

The external color of the pencils was important, and in British territories during the war only those pencils that were to be used for military use were painted.it was given the color nearly a century ago

yellow It is popular in Spain and most of the west.

Choose yellow to paint

pencil After a Frenchman discovered high-quality graphite ore in China. The company that sells them in the US decided to paint them that way, mimicking the colors of Manchu clothing. His pencils may not be made of graphite, but the psychological association of the color makes buyers think they are.

red from spain

In the chapter devoted to red, Finley recalls that one of the atrocities Vasco Núñez de Balboa and his men perpetrated in America was their control of red.

land lice, essential in the preparation of lipsticks. Half a century later, they shipped 80 tons of the dried brown balls of the red cochineal insect, carmine. In one year, the quantity reached 160 tons.

Because of the industry he held in his hands, this intense color was associated with his “ancestry” and became known as the “Spanish red”.In the world of fashion, crimson became the most popular color, and the Venetians sent it to the Middle East for use in rugs and fabrics, while the Venetians kept a certain amount

cosmetic use.

The cover of Victoria Finley’s book Colour. / Captain Swain.

Although the whole world wants it, in Spain they keep it secret as if from where

the gold be treated. Until a twenty-something Frenchman launched the most dangerous and brilliant raid of the 18th century and told the world the story of cochineal. Finley recounts the hardships of Thierry de Menonville, who had to survive in the desert, was evicted by the governor of Oaxaca, and had to camouflage the carmine plant among others.

After managing to keep her alive on board for three months, the ambitious Frenchman’s achievement was to be named

plant real. For all his efforts (which could well have been made into a movie), he got nothing out of the industry that he helped make so rich that even today, when Red has While ubiquitous, it still touches millions of people around the world.

“The civilization and culture of the people depend on the education of women” – Author Carmen de Burgos

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