Indeed, the expression 'to save face'
and its opposite, 'to lose face'
derive from the 18th Century when bathing
was seen as a potential health hazard
and thus mostly avoided. With the taking of a bath
being an annual
s and copious amounts of makeup
were employed by men and women alike to maintain a veneer
As time passed throughout the year, the layers of makeup would build up. If the wearer sat too close to a fire, the mask of makeup was in danger of melting off, so a servant would have step in and move a firescreen in order, literally, to 'save face'.