Physical beauty trends are changing constantly. In the 1950s, pudgy babies and toddlers were thought of as healthier. Commercial advertisements advertised drinks to help women gain weight and get beautiful curves. In the 1990s and 2000s, the popular trend was to be rail-thin, blond and buxom. In the last decade, this trend has gradually started to change.
Instead of looking for blonde, tan beauties, the new trends focus on darker hair and pale skin. Top celebrities like Zooey Deschanel, Katy Perry, Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway and Penelope Cruz have all been a part of this trend. While celebrities like Paris Hilton were once known for their tanned, beach-ready skin, this old trend is starting to change. Many people now believe that dark hair and pale skin is the “in” look.
Dark Hair and Pale Skin Were Popular 500 Years Ago
If you have ever taken English literature classes, then you may already know that this was “the” trend 100 to 500 years ago. Many different writers like Shakespeare, Eliot and Donne all wrote about snow white beauties with raven-colored hair and blushing cheeks. For centuries, dark hair and pale skin was the idealized image of beauty for women. It was only in the last century or so that this idealized image started to change.
One of the reasons why pale skin was once considered so beautiful is because it showed that the person did not have to work. If you work outside on a farm, then your skin will naturally tan. By keeping their skin pale, upper class ladies showed that they had no need to do physical labor outside to get by. It was a symbol of their class, education and wealth. Dark skin served to accentuate the paleness of their skin, and thus made them look even more like a wealthy member of the upper crust.
In more recent years, many people in Westernized nations have stopped working outdoors. Agriculture is still a huge industry, but many people work in an office or a similar building. Pale skin is what you automatically can get from working instead of what you get from not working. In addition to changing beauty ideals, this fact meant that people who had the money to take vacations or go hiking had tanner skin. Even artificially tanned skin costs money and takes time.
Why Is Dark Hair and Pale Skin So Attractive?
While the last section explains why some of these trends exist, it doesn’t detail why dark hair and pale skin is so attractive. One of the most obvious reasons is because of the contrast. Dark hair makes pale skin seem paler, while pale skin heightens the darkness in your hair. If you have pretty eyes, this look will make your eyes even more apparent in your face.
Basically, this combination is just extremely eye-catching. Even when this combo isn’t in style, it still looks pretty because of the stunning contrast between the different colors.
An Added Benefit
Before people really worried about skin cancer, there were tanning competitions in the 1950s and 1960s to see who could get the darkest tan. In the last two decades, tanning salons have cropped up for people who can’t go to a beach or who live in an area with very little sun. These tanning salons sell lotions that speed up the tanning process and theoretically keep the skin from becoming too damaged.
In reality, this entire approach is terrible for your health. While you should certainly enjoy some time in the sun and exercise outdoors, using a tanning salon to artificially darken your skin is dangerous. The time you spend under the salon lights can increase your risk of skin cancer and dangerous melanomas. At the very least, the extra artificial sun will damage your skin. You will have skin that ages and develops wrinkles or sun spots years before you would otherwise.
This isn’t just theoretical. In high school, I had a friend who religiously went to the tanning salon at least once a week and often more. When we started high school, she was considered one of the prettiest girls in the grade with her combination of tanned skin and blonde hair. By the time we graduated, she was no longer the prettiest girl in the grade. Her skin looked dried out, and she already had wrinkles at the age of 18. If you had to guess how old she was, you might have placed her age at at least 30 because of the damage she had already done to her skin.
Luckily, changing fashions and fads mean that you do not have to risk your health or get wrinkles to fit in with the popular look. Thankfully, dark hair and pale skin do not require any tanning salons or skin cancer risks to achieve.