We apply makeup on a daily basis without much thought, it’s such a regular part of our daily lives now that it’s almost habit. Having said that, do you give much thought to where your products came from?
We are not talking about which company or country they are shipped from, but about where makeup came from in general. It’s really interesting to read about the kinds of cosmetics that women used to use back in the days before the products we know now were even invented.
The very first mention or record of any kind of makeup being used was back in the time of the ancient Egyptians. Those who were rich enough and vain enough to show up their social competition were happy to try out pioneering trends. The first mention of makeup dates back to 3100 BC. Think of the iconic representations of Cleopatra, with her heavily kohl lined eyes and dark green eye shadows; this certainly began a new trend. Following Cleopatra’s example women began to use soot to get the appearance of eyeliner that is so common these days. Thankfully, these days we line our eyes without the use of soot!
The emergence of the first makeup products really set off a cosmetic revolution, though unfortunately some of the makeup application methods of the old days were questionable at best. Women used berries picked from trees to give their lips a stained appearance. Many homemade cosmetics were considered extremely dangerous to health like the use of leeches to achieve a paler complexion, which was considered to be the look of an affluent woman. Lead paint was even used during Renaissance and some forms of makeup even contained arsenic which we now know is poisonous to humans.
Though makeup ingredients and application methods began to improve over time they do so slowly. Light skin seemed to constantly be in vogue since it gave off the impression of wealth. Chalk was used quite widely as a makeup medium to achieve this pale look. Can you imagine what would happen in a rain storm if you had a face full of chalk? Not pretty! Rouge made an appearance around the first century and henna also began becoming incorporated into beauty regimes as time moved on. Rouge of course was the precursor to blush and henna was usually used to stain skin but also used as an early form of hair dye.
Despite the growing makeup trend, many still saw makeup as something to avoid, often considering it to be something that prostitutes wore and that proper ladies avoided. During the Victorian era many people, especially those of high society, looked down upon people who used makeup.
Obviously this stigma did not last long because by the early 1900’s, the makeup industry began to take shape. The first mascara was developed by the company we now know as Maybelline. Max Factor was hot on their heels with the introduction of their cosmetic brand not long after. Pressed powders were next on the block and from then on product lines spiraled. By the early 1920’s the range of makeup being offered was growing quickly with lipstick as the most popular product, the brighter the better.
These days we have a myriad of appropriate makeup choices to choose from, now that makeup ingredients are strictly regulated. We no longer need to turn to leeches to give us a more even skin tone, and chalk has thankfully gone by the wayside as far as makeup is concerned!