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The history of make-up

Updated on May 10, 2012

How I came to know about the history of make-up was part of my idea it came from me since I like make-up a lot it was a question that popped out from my head so I would ask my self what is the history of make-up? when did make-up first exist? and who invented it? so once I had those questions in my head I decided to get some answers online. While doing my own research I came across this article that was on the tittle of it was "The mode and history of make-up thru time" and as I read it I rather found the article somewhat interesting because the article contained each year and then it also explained on each year how make-up was growing and how it has changed from Egyptian civilization till the present and after I finished reading the article I was impressed by how much I had learned that I decided to write a hub about it.

A depicting image of Egyptians using their make-up.
A depicting image of Egyptians using their make-up.

I have found out that when you learn about this you may come to realize about the cosmetics woman would use before were different they were natural which means that their cosmetics were safe and healthy to use. But sadly through the years all of that changed making the chemicals from make-up not good for your skin as well as being toxic. Discovering the past has made it possible for companies to come up with rather excellent natural products which can make us feel comfortable beautiful in our own skin. The history of make-up began in the Egyptian civilization they were the ones to invent a whole sort of different cosmetics they not only wanted to have a good appearance but they wore make-up for spiritual reasons also one of their beliefs was that it was something positive to the gods in other terms it would make the evil spirits get away.

For the eyes

A natural ingredient that was used widely in the Egyptian times was a dark type powder called kohl it was created by just grinding the almonds that were burned and using lead with copper ores another thing that they put on their eyes I believe was ash and ochre they used a stick in order for them to make their own eyes almond shaped like to them back then it was a popular style having their eyes like that.

What they would wear on their lips

The people of Egypt instead of using lipstick like now they used red clay with water kind of similar to lip stain if you think about it. In the cheeks they wore henna which is a plant material that was also in good use to dye the nails and hair for example just think of Cleopatra and you will see what I'm talking about. In fact many of the nut, seed , and the essential oils were the most used in their time and these are also being in use up to today they helped prevent dryness when the scorching sun was up in Egypt during the hot summer months plus the winds.

Among other natural products they also used almond olive with sesame oils and essential oils for example the flavors of lavender, peppermint,chamomile, rose, and myrrh, thyme which were widely used. As you keep on exploring more about ancient make-up you may find out that each culture had it's own ways and techniques. The dyes from plants, blood, fat, insects, clays and mineral ores were utilized. Each of the looks and the times had to do with where the items were locally. Tracing of the veins was also a famous practice for this they used the blue paint for the temples and breasts then blue paint was in good use for the tip of their nipples with some gold color.

The eyes have it

Another make-up material that people from back then started using was called the eyeshadow all of you woman from today may know what this is except if you don't wear make-up at all or you have never seen it well now you are going to read about it but in a historic perspective of course. The ancient eyeshadow was green worn by both men and woman they used to use it on the top and bottom of their eyelashes and the brow enhancers which contained carbon, black oxide (toxic chemicals) which helped to make a look on someone's eyes seem dark it was a part of their culture to be like that.

Some of the first of the earliest findings was otherwise also known as modern beauty that were found by the babylon ruins. A few tools for example were:

  • Tweezers
  • Brow brushes
  • Toothpicks

Before both the men and woman would do a lot of stuff to themselves it was not like before that only woman wear make-up and they fix their hair to look beautiful so a lot of this has changed for some fact they would curl their eyelashes plus make -up their eyes with eyeshadow, eyeliner, and eyelash with a brow enhancer. White lead and henna were both used to color the nails it was considerd fashionable to them at that time with the start of christianity make-up was mostly used to identify a culture during the middle ages the woman wanted a more pale style look to achieve this they would stay out of the sun which makes sense because if you are not in the sun at all then your skin cannot darken.

The Roman empire

Woman of the roman empire used the following things: pastes of narcissus, lentils, honey, wheat and eggs for pale or either a chalk and white lead that were put on to the skin with rouge. An old trick that used to be widely known in the old egyptian era was how blue paint could help you enhance your veins better a few of the people would also massage their teeth utilizing a pomice stone if you were wealthy at that time you had the chance to own a slave and they would become ur cosmetician. For the 19th century- make-up that was natural was seen as more fashionable and woman that were seen with make-up were considered to have a more loose personality for the fact that wearing lip, cheeck rouge were some of the scandalous cosmetics ever made many woman would bite their lips and pinch their cheeks hard and as many times as they could in order to look well before being with other people. Although there was a vast number of medical knowlede there was still a lot of use dealing with not so safe and healthy beauty products like zinc oxide, mercury, lead, nitrate of silver , acids a few of the woman actually ate chalk or they either drank a dose of iodine to get that full whiteness.

Cosmetics in the 20th century

In this time the safety of using cosmetics finally came due to the fact that medical proffessionals started working with make-up companies to make some safety rules and procedures in the products from that point on the subject of health and well being became the most important part of selling and advertising. On the other hand the change of the century gaved people the chance to have some freedom on what they wanted to wear and how they wanted to wear it was up to them the ladys that called themselves flappers in the 20s and 30s would wear heavy eyeliners, bright lips, cheek colors to look preetty in their own way. In this era make-up also seemed to change when the first lipstick kiss proof type was invented and it is still in good use today the liquid nail color polish kind plus other forms of normal modern day make-up for example powder blush and the power compact still exist.

Something else that people looked froward to was tanning women did not want anything more to do with looking pale anymore. The reason why women before in the past liked being pale was because it showed that they were wealthy and they showed their pride for not working by staying inside their houses. When the 1920s came around it was the opposite the rich individuals were now more outside laying in the sun and getting a tan which made their skin get that golden brownish look. 


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    • fjohn profile image

      fjohn 5 years ago from india

      good article ... informative... great,

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 6 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Very informative article about makeup. I don't really fancy on makeup but I get to know how the makeup craze started is a good knowledge to me. Thanks for sharing.


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