Facial makeup was an elaborate process for Tang Dynasty women. It began with a foundation of face powder, followed by rouge and a dusting of light yellow powder. Bluish black eyebrows were then painstakingly painted in, lipstick applied, and dimples either added or accentuated. Last was an ornamental design either pasted or painted on the forehead.
Although facial makeup had not been invented in the Tang Dynasty, it advanced during this progressive era.
Eyebrows have always taken precedence within Chinese facial aesthetics, each style with its own name. Tang Dynasty eyebrows painted in bluish black were called daimei, long, fine eyebrows were emei, and guangmei eyebrows were short and thick. Eyebrow modes seen in the imperial palace included the yuanyang, xiaoshan, sanfeng, chuizhu, yueleng, fenshao, hanyan, fuyun, daoyun, and wuyue. Popular folk eyebrow styles included the liuye, queyue, kuo and bazi.
The ornamental designs Tang beauties pasted on their foreheads were often of bird feathers or black paper, and possibly of shell, goldleaf, fishbone or mica. Or they would simply paint on a motif.
The scope for innovation in these fashionable make up trends had been exhausted by the late Tang Dynasty, when women stopped using face powder and colored their lips black, in the “Sad” or “Tear” gothic mode that gave a more dramatic emphasis to feminine beauty.