Event—Adult Education

Of Paint & Powder: Early Modern Beauty & Cosmetics


Doll yourself up with the cosmetics of yore in this class exploring early modern beauty.

Portrait of a Woman by Michael Dahl, 1696-1743. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art via Wikimedia Commons.

Class Description

Explore Western European conceptions of beauty as well as hygiene and cosmetic practices from approximately 1400 to 1800. Come discover how pimples were treated, how wigs were worn and cared for, and how contemporary notions of beauty shaped ideas regarding race. Together, we will make our own cosmetics based on early modern recipes during an online “cooking” demonstration. Participants will also receive other modernized cosmetic recipes to try at home at the conclusion of our class.

A cultural historian and lecturer, Emilie M. Brinkman holds a PhD in European history from Purdue University. She specializes in the history of British politics, queenship and fashion.

Materials List


  • Instructor-Distributed Materials

Cost and Registration

4 sessions, $226 ($203 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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