Get the Ancient Roman Look: A Hair & Makeup Video Tutorial

Remem­ber ear­ly April, when we threw our­selves into the Get­ty Chal­lenge, turn­ing our­selves into his­toric art recre­ations in lieu of climb­ing the walls?

Seems like ages ago, doesn’t it, that you wrapped a show­er cur­tain around your head and rifled through the but­ton box, rabid to make your­self into a mas­ter­piece.

While it’s not accu­rate to say we’ve col­lec­tive­ly set­tled into a new nor­mal, many of us have accept­ed that cer­tain alter­ations to our every­day lives will be pro­longed if our every­day lives are to pro­ceed.

First it was depress­ing.

Now it’s just bor­ing (with the occa­sion­al thrum of anx­i­ety).

Per­haps it’s time to shake things up a bit, and Crows Eye Pro­duc­tions’ tuto­r­i­al on achiev­ing an Ancient Roman look using mod­ern hair and beau­ty prod­ucts, above, is an excel­lent place to start.

While Crows Eye spe­cial­izes in build­ing his­tor­i­cal­ly accu­rate peri­od dress from the unmen­tion­able out, it’s worth not­ing that styl­ist Liv Free takes a few lib­er­ties, adding a bit of mas­cara and lip­stick despite a dearth of evi­dence that Roman women enhanced their lips or lash­es.

She also uses curl­ing irons, pony­tail hold­ers, and a hair donut to cre­ate a crown of ringlets and braids.

If you’re a stick­ler for authen­tic­i­ty who won’t be able to live with your­self if you’re not sewn into your hair style with a bone nee­dle, you may be bet­ter off con­sult­ing the YouTube chan­nel of hair arche­ol­o­gist Janet Stephens.

But, if your goal is mere­ly to wow your co-work­ers with a full-on Fla­vian Dynasty look dur­ing your next Zoom call, by all means grab some pale lead-free foun­da­tion, some expend­able Hot Buns, and some light blush.

Don’t wor­ry that you’ll appear too done up. Free notes that Roman women of both high and low birth were devot­ed to make­up, but in def­er­ence to their men, lim­it­ed them­selves to the nat­ur­al look.

That’s a tad anachro­nis­tic, huh?

These days, any­one who wants to remake them­selves in the image of Empress Domi­tia Long­i­na should feel free to take a crack at it, irre­spec­tive of gen­der, race, or extra hands to help with the parts of the hair­style you can can’t see in the mir­ror (or a Zoom win­dow).

Once we have mas­tered our new look, we can see about anoth­er muse­um chal­lenge. Here’s some inspi­ra­tion to get us start­ed.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How a Bal­ti­more Hair­dress­er Became a World-Renowned “Hair Archae­ol­o­gist” of Ancient Rome

Roman Stat­ues Weren’t White; They Were Once Paint­ed in Vivid, Bright Col­ors

How to Bake Ancient Roman Bread Dat­ing Back to 79 AD: A Video Primer

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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