Civilizations always have used cosmetics for centuries of course not always recognizable and advanced compared to today’s products but in religious rituals, to enhance beauty, and to promote good health , people have used some natural and herbal stuff as make-up. Cosmetics usage throughout history can be indicative of a civilization’s practical concerns, such as protection from the sun, indication of class, or conventions of beauty for men and women. The timeline below represents a brief history of cosmetics, beginning with the Ancient Egyptians in 10,000 BCE !
So today we’re going to start at 10000 BCE until the early common era CE.
Cosmetics are an integral part of Egyptian hygiene and health alongside the beauty. Men and women in Egypt use scented oils and ointments to clean and soften their skin and mask body odor the used flowers and special ointment together. Handmade Oils and creams are used for protection against the hot Egyptian sun and wind just like a sunscreen . Myrrh, thyme, marjoram, chamomile, lavender, lily, peppermint, rosemary, cedar, rose, aloe, olive oil, sesame oil, and almond oil provide the basic ingredients of most perfumes Egyptians and they used dried fruits and flowers plants, or smoked nuts like almond to make handmade Blush powder, eye liner, rouge etc for many usages such as religious / magic rituals.
Egyptian women applied galena mesdemet (made of copper and lead ore) and malachite (bright green paste of copper minerals) to their faces for color and definition just like an eyeshadow or contour. They use kohl (a combination of burnt almonds, oxidized copper, different colored coppers ores, lead, ash, and ochre) to adorn the eyes in an almond shape. Cleopatra’s eyes were a hit trend with this method! Women carry cosmetics to parties in makeup boxes and keep them under their chairs .
The Chinese stain their fingernails with something named gum! Arabic, gelatin, beeswax, and egg! Yeah I know egg! The colors are used as a representation of social class: Chou dynasty royals wore gold and silver, with subsequent royals wearing black or red. Lower classes were forbidden to wear bright colors on their nails and doing it meant punishment!
Grecian women painted their faces with white lead completely white! And apply crushed mulberries as rouge. The application of fake eyebrows, often made of oxen hair, was also fashionable.
Chinese and Japanese citizens commonly used rice powder to make their faces white just like a baking powder or fix powder but whiter! Eyebrows are completely shaved off, teeth are painted gold or black based on the ritual classes etc and henna dyes are applied to stain hair and faces !
Grecians whiten their complexion with chalk! Or lead face powder and fashion crude lipstick out of ochre clays laced with red iron , you wouldn’t imagine but there is something exactly like this lipstick that have been selling in Morocco!
Cosmetics in the Early Common Era (the CE)
In Rome, people put barley flour and butter on their pimples! I know gross! Listen along… and used sheep fat and blood on their fingernails for polish , I mean ugh ! Then mud baths came into vogue, and some Roman men dyed their hair blonde.
Hmm I think the history goes back in time huh! Right now it’s a trend!
Henna is used in India both as a hair dye and in mehndi, an art form in which complex designs are painted on the hands and feet using a paste made from the henna plant called Mahuri especially before a Hindu wedding and also we have something like this in Iran called “ Hannah- Bandoon” that happens the night before the wedding, and it’s a traditional ceremony that each girl celebrates before her wedding they paint the hand of the bride with hennah and dance and believe it’s for a good fortune. Henna is also used in some North African cultures they use it for many rituals .