Venetian ceruse

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Pale-faced Elizabeth I of England has been thought to wear Venetian Ceruse

Venetian Ceruse, also known as Spirits of Saturn, was a 16th-century cosmetic used as a skin whitener. It was in great demand and considered the best available at that time.

The cosmetic's use of white lead as a pigment caused lead poisoning, damaging the skin and causing hair loss. Usage over an extended period could cause death.

People thought to have worn it[edit]

Elizabeth I of England is popularly imagined to have been a notable user, although critics Anna Riehl and Kate Maltby have argued that little historical evidence exists to support this claim.[1][2][3]

Ceruse was what killed Maria Coventry, Countess of Coventry, aged 27, in 1760. Ceruse caused blemishes, which she applied more makeup on, which in turn caused more blemishes. Eventually she died of lead poisoning.

See also[edit]