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 event, wigs and copious amounts of makeup were employed by men and women alike to maintain a veneer of beauty.

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'.

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