The History of Cosmetics #MakeupHistory


The History of Cosmetics
Written By: Lyndsay Michelle

When you're batting your eyelashes into a wand dipped in mascara do you ever wonder why? Or better yet, where such a product came from? Shedding some light into the history of our modern day beauty products, let's start with the etiology of the word "cosmetics" - Derived from the Greek word kosmetikos, which in turn is defined as those who are skilled in the use of cosmetics, this art form was classified during the Golden Age of Greece in 500 B.C.

With a handle on the word itself, let’s bring into perspective just how long ago cosmetic tools and products were first used.Want to take a guess at the first period in time where evidence of the use of makeup and application tools were used? Well, if you said the Ice Ages you were right on the money! It's quite mind-blowing knowing that people alive 11,500 years ago were using shaped flints, oyster shells and bone to apply colors found in berries, tree bark, minerals, insects, nuts, herbs, and leaves. These products were also known to have been used for tattooing as well. A modern day approach on the practices of the Ice Age would be Stila's Lip Enamel in euphoria berry.

Ancient Egyptians were the first people in history to use beauty as a way to be fashionable. Ways which involved personal beautification, religious traditions, and burials in 3,000 B.C. Famous in this time were Queen Nefertiti and Cleopatra. Nefertiti would use custom blended essential oils to create her own signature scents, while Cleopatra went as far as to build and run her own cosmetics factory. It is said that at the time of her death, Cleopatra had as much as an inch or two of makeup on her face. True or not, you be the judge. Create a modern day twist on your own signature scent by layering Pink Sugar's Hair Perfume with your chosen body scent (my personal favorite is Especially Escada Delicate Notes Eau de Toilette Spray).

In China, the people would rub gum arabic, gelatin, beeswax and egg whites into their nail beds during the Chou Dynasty to color their finger nails crimson or ebony. This practice was common amongst aristocrats in 256 B.C. Those that were underclassman found to be tinting their nails were punished by death. Imagine being fined your life for getting a manicure! Today, you can find almost any hue to paint your nails to your liking. Try a color that speaks with an edge other than the expected red or black, like Nail Laquer with Hardeners - Cirque du Soleil World's Away Collection by China Glaze.

During the Golden Age of Greece, people would apply white lead to their faces as a form of foundation. They also used kohl on their eyes and vermilion on their cheeks and lips. A fun fact about this practice is: the border of your lip - where it meets your skin is called a vermilionborder. Furthermore, the Greeks would also grind cinnabar and mix it with ointments. Most of the products the Greeks were using are known today as TOXIC. Ironically, Grecian vanity was taking the lives of their people. Avoid death by vanity by using a modest and appropriate color matched foundation such as Magic Wand Foundation by Too Faced.

Back in 753 B.C. in Rome, hair color was used to illustrate one class status withint the community. Noblewomen were redheads, the middle-class were blond, and the poor had black hair. Thankfully we've come far since the days of coloring our hair with only three color choices. Step outside traditional color and customize your hair color with a color that is tonal color appropriate for you with Fanci-Full Temporary Color Rinse by Roux.

During the Middle Ages, 500 A.D., women would use colorful eye makeup to highlight the windows of their souls. This tradition was nixed during the Renaissance, beginning in 1837, as the women would shave their eye brows and hair lines to enlarge the appearance of their heads. This practice was thought to make them look more intelligent. The era spawned the first noted eyebrow beautification practices. At least, the over plucked eyebrows of today are a dying trend. Try the all-in-one brow kits by Anastasia, I recommend that all my lady friends have it, Beauty Express For Brows and Eyes.

The Nineteenth Century was breeding barbers who performed minor surgeries, haircutting, and dentistry. Think back to the classic barber's pole and its significant symbolism; a patient would grip the pole while undergoing a surgical procedure because it encouraged blood flow.

In the midst of the Twentieth Century where cosmetics and the use of them have grown rapidly, spawning hair extensions (modern forms of wigs), movies. A couple highly commended and beloved brands, Max Factor and Vidal Sassoon, made history with the inventions of stage/movie makeup and the geometric haircuts that we see today.

Now that our trip down memory lane is complete, I only ask one thing of you in return; share with us your makeup history and treat yourself to one or more of the products I recommend.

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