100 Years of Philippine Beauty

Produced by Cut.com, their adaptation film covers the diverse hair and make-up trends in the Philippines from 1910 to 2010. Just like any other videos, there is research made before this video was produced and the researcher behind the scenes would be Christopher Santo Domingo Chan. He claimed that he wanted the viewers to see how the skin tone from the 1910’s to the 1930’s changed and this was because of the Filipino beauty standard. The Filipino beauty standard would always include the person’s skin tone because of the colonial mentality that European aesthetics were beautiful. More on Christopher Chan’s research, he explained in detail where he got his inspirations from.

1910s: “Ethnologists documented women’s tribal tattoos. No makeup. Hair is natural, straight, parted in the middle and pulled back. These women wear traditional beads as necklaces and hairbands.”

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1920s: “Caught between Spanish and American aesthetic trends, women in the 20s wear heavily adorned dresses but adopt Jazz Age-style hair… Pale skin is emblematic of health and beauty.”

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1930s: “Carnivals—precursors to the modern-day beauty pageant—are popular in Manila. These feature beauty fashions imported from the West, exercising Hollywood-inspired glamour (soft blush, powdery faces, darkened eye creases)… Women maintained long hair but approximated the look of a bob for the Carnivals.”

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1940s: “During the Japanese occupation, images of Filipina women were generally either propagandistic or tragic. A holdout of nationalist defiance—the Huk Rebellion—did feature Filipina patriots who took arms to defend the archipelago from the Japanese. Hair: side rolls; for shape and stability, possibly backcombed and pinned into a mid-length bob.”

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1950s: “Iconic actresses during this time are mestiza. Makeup: heavy foundation covers all imperfections, pink blush, cherry-colored lip, eyeliner with a winged effect. Hair: long curls with some shine.”

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1960s: “American influence is clear here, particularly with the influx and movement of US troops throughout the Philippines. Makeup: The face looks clean, young, and dewy, emphasizing very light skin, naturally dark and thick eyebrows, and long lashes. Hair: an updo—cropped, sleek, and tight on the head with plenty of shine. Young Imelda Marcos’ hair is famous for its shape, sculpted into a smooth bouffant.”

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1970s: “Hair: lots of updos, and even when worn down is teased up. Susan Roces’ hair is multilayered, multidirectional, and certainly celebrates volume; the iconic Karilagan models have a variety of looks… smooth, straight hair in a variety of styles. Makeup: thicker, darker eyebrows, long lashes, dark eyes and heavy (almost textural) eyeshadow. Emphasis on the cheekbones.”

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1980s: “Makeup: getting very colorful. Vivid hues like magenta, lavender, and coral in eyeshadow and lipstick. We also begin to see lip gloss—very shiny, wet lips. These looks are high-contrast. Hair: Bangs are in.”

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1990s: “Hair: I’m highlighting two trends here: butterfly clips and the zigzag. Makeup: the thin, pencil-happy eyebrow makes an appearance. Nude lip, or in Glydel Mercado’s case, the brick brown color. Makeup is generally more subtle and natural-looking than in the ‘80s, but skin is still milky white.”

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2000s: “KPop is taking a stronghold in the 2000s, and the Korean look becomes very desirable in urban Philippines.”

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2010s: “Hair: Glamour in our decade is signified through long, healthy, wavy hair in layers. We also see bright dyed hair inspired by U.S. and Korean pop. Makeup: we are beginning to see a celebration of natural skin tones, so use of bronzer, blush and lipstick accentuate natural coloring.”

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When asked what my favorite was, I would prefer the 1940’s Japanese look. During this time, women were allowed to go into battle, and it would oppose the stereotyped “women should stay in their homes to do chores” which always bothered me because I believe that we should all have the freedom to make decisions for ourselves. Allowing the women to fight was a big step towards achieving that freedom because it allowed the Filipino women to decide for themselves whether they are going to help protect their country or not. Overall, even if the video only took a minute, it pictured precisely the Filipino culture every decade in a century. It is a great watch specially for people doing researches on the Philippines or the Filipinos.


Watch the whole vid here.


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