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Viking Makeup : Among Norse Men & Women

Viking Makeup : Among Norse Men & Women

The Vikings were a formidable people, known for their love of battle and intricate tattoos. But what about Viking makeup?

Keep reading as we delve into the world of Viking makeup and show you the makeup you can use to dress up as a Viking!

Did Vikings Wear Makeup ?

It is believed that Vikings did wear makeup. Specifically, historical evidence suggests they used kohl as eyeliner. It’s also proven that they painted their faces in certain situations, although it may not necessarily fit our modern understanding of makeup.

According to research on Viking appearance, there is evidence that they wore makeup as early as the 8th century. Face makeup for various reasons was common during that time. In some Nordic tribes widespread in present-day Germany, makeup was used to highlight a person’s status and probably wasn’t reserved solely for Viking women.

The influence of wearing this dark-colored eyeliner traces back to ancient Egypt and the Middle East, as it’s been confirmed that Vikings had contact with these peoples (which might even lead to the existence of Black Vikings). However, the reasons why Vikings and ancient Egyptians wore makeup may vary depending on their geographical situation at the time.

What Did Viking Makeup Look Like ?

The primary example of Viking makeup is that their eyes were often lined with kohl, a black-colored powder. Although kohl could be made from various materials, it’s assumed it was shaped into sticks used to draw thick, dark lines around the eyes.

It’s common to come across Vikings with facial makeup (or even Viking tattoos) including blue hues of face paint and dark eyes. Yet, there isn’t much evidence of what Vikings with makeup looked like due to the lack of photographs from that period. Nonetheless, it’s assumed the kohl used was a combination of the following elements:

  • Ash and lead
  • Burned almonds
  • Ochre
  • Oxidized copper
  • Malachite

This suggests, sorry to say, that Viking makeup used in modern television should be attributed more to entertainment value than historical accuracy, at least based on the available evidence.

Why Did Vikings Wear Makeup ?

Pourquoi les Vikings se maquillaient-ils

The reasons why Vikings wore makeup aren’t conclusive, although when looking closely at Norse Viking makeup for women, it seems it was primarily used to enhance their appearance. However, as they didn’t leave written records, it’s challenging to confirm a deeper purpose for this use.

The primary uses of kohl were derived from aesthetic aspects as well as protection against harmful sun rays. Other sources claim it was also an effective way to repel insects that could irritate the eyes during sleep. What’s not often discussed is why Vikings wore makeup as part of a wartime strategy.

The benefits of using kohl eyeliner :

  • It cleans the eyes.
  • It keeps the eyes fresh and strengthens them.
  • It’s been used to prevent and treat certain eye diseases like cataracts.
  • It can help improve eyesight.

One might also argue that it contributes to making someone more formidable, which was probably a valid concern for Vikings given their reputation. It’s also for this reason it’s assumed they used face paint in times of combat: to instill fear in the hearts of their enemies (which Vikings seemed particularly adept at, according to accounts from other societies of the time).

(In fact, the fact that they were known for their fierce activities in wartime is also why it’s believed Vikings didn’t wear piercings).

Medieval Viking Women Makeup :

maquillage viking femme blonde
maquillage viking femme ethnique
maquillage viking femme sauvage

Meaning of Viking Women Makeup :

maquillage viking femme yeux bleu

There’s no concrete evidence on the types of makeup Viking women used, or their precise meaning. However, it can be assumed that Viking women used natural materials to create makeup shades, similar to those used by men, such as soot or charcoal.

In general, Viking women held an important place in Viking society and were known for their independence and courage. They often participated in activities traditionally reserved for men, such as hunting and fishing, and were respected for their strength and intelligence.

Thus, it’s possible that Viking women’s makeup was used to enhance their natural beauty while reflecting their strength and independence. Viking women could also wear jewelry such as brooches, fibulae, or bracelets to adorn their appearance.

In summary, while we don’t have precise evidence about Viking women’s makeup, it’s possible that their appearance was a reflection of their strong and respected position in Viking society.

Medieval Viking Men Makeup :

maquillage viking homme avec tresse
maquillage viking homme visage

Which Viking Makeup to Choose ?

There are many examples online of makeup you can use for Viking costumes for both men and women or simply to mimic Vikings. Most of them have very strong eyes, using historically accurate kohl eyeliner, as well as additional face paint to enhance the overall image.

For most Viking costumes you see today, including on TV shows, Viking makeup is very effective while being remarkably simple.

Simply buy eyeliner and create a thick line around the eyes (both men and women). Using eyeliner, eyeshadow, or even some face paint, you can accentuate the line with additional details.

Lagertha Makeup, The Shieldmaiden :

There are several ways to give Viking makeup a modern and historical look. Let’s say you want to look like Lagertha, the famous Swedish Viking from the TV series Vikings, even more famous. I strongly advise using as much eyeliner as possible to get the dark, dramatic eyes she has.

I love that this style is so easy to achieve for a Viking-themed party. Plus, if face paint isn’t something you want to deal with, you can always skip it. Besides, not having face paint as part of your Viking makeup seems to be more historically accurate based on what we know so far.

Easy-to-Use Viking Makeup :

If you want to recreate easy Viking makeup, here are some simple steps you can follow:

  • Start by applying a light foundation to your face, making sure it matches your natural skin tone.
  • Use eyeshadow in dark earthy shades, such as black, dark brown, or olive green. Apply the color on the eyelid and lightly blend it upward.
  • Use a black pencil or eyeliner to draw tribal patterns on the face. You can draw simple shapes like triangles or straight lines or more complex patterns if you feel comfortable with that.
  • Use black mascara to lengthen and volumize your lashes.
  • Finally, add a touch of lipstick in a natural shade, such as beige or light pink.

It’s important to note that Viking makeup was often practical rather than aesthetic. If you really want to draw inspiration from the Viking era, you can also use soot or charcoal to create a more authentic makeup. However, if you just want to create a Viking-inspired look, the above steps should be sufficient.

The History Of The Viking Knife

The History of the Viking Knife

Want to Know More About the Historical Viking Knife? How Was It Forged and What Materials Were Used ? Young Vikings, you’ve come to the right place for that. We

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