Beauty lovers like me wear makeup almost every day to make me feel more beautiful, confident and to sharpen my creativity. But I must admit – I don’t how much about the past of these things that we’re wearing on our faces. Well, I did a little research to find out a bit more about some fun history tidbits and pieces of the history of cosmetics… And it’s crazy. You just have to read on!
Makeup has been here for thousands of year but not as we know it now. The ancient Egyptians didn’t have colorful palettes to paint their eyes with, or liquid liner in a convenient plastic pot to create their signature cat eyes. Keep reading for some facts about makeup you might not know.
The eyeliner has been around since ancient Egypt. At around 10,000 BC, ancient Egyptians used dark-colored powder made of oxidized copper, burnt almonds, crushed antimony, lead, ash, ochre, and malachite to wear above and below their lash lines as liner. They believed that the composition of their eyeliner would protect their eyes from the sun’s rays and eye infections.
In the Heian Era of early Japan, women shaved their eyebrows off. And quite frankly, my eyebrows are so hard to tame sometimes that I’m tempted to take my razor and shave mine off myself. Kidding aside, the women in Japan at the time shaved off their natural brows so they could paint on the eyebrows in the shape of a crescent moon. In fact, the closer it was to their hairline, the more fashionable it was for them. Surprised?
I hope you’re not sipping a cup of tea as you’re reading this, but Ancient Romans used a rather unusual method to whiten their teeth. No, bleaching trays and kits didn’t exist at the time, so they gargled with urine instead. It was believed that the ammonia in urine served as a bleaching agent. Uh, I think I’ll pass.
There was a time when it was the Parliament in England versus makeup. Well, in a way at least. In 1770, an act was passed wherein women should not betray or seduce men into getting married by “scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial teeth, false hair,” with another statement that said “the marriage, upon conviction, shall stand null and void.”
The icky history of lipstick involves crushed gemstones and blood of insects. It is believed that the women of the Mesopotamian era wore crushed gemstones on their lips and eyes, while in Cleopatra’s time, blood of crushed ants and carmine beetles were used.
Women of the Renaissance era thought it was desirable and extremely fashionable to have pale and unblemished skin. A mix of hydroxide, carbonate, and lead oxide was applied to achieve this look. If you’re thinking there must have been some side effects, then you would be right. Some even experienced muscle paralysis. No, thank you.
Coco Chanel was partly responsible for making the sunkissed look “in.” She made a sun kissed trip to the French Riviera and when she returned to Paris, her glowing tan look started the trend.
Mascara didn’t always come in a tube as you may already know. In the Victorian era, women created homemade mascara by mixing elderberry juice and ashes. They would coat their eyelashes with this concoction to achieve make them appear thicker and darker.
Ladies used drops of Belladonna extracts to dilate their pupils in the Roman times. Belladonna is a poisonous plant with inky, dark berries and purple flowers. It is poisonous and fatal to us humans but its medicinal benefits are still used to this day.
I’ve already mentioned that Renaissance women loved having milky white skin, but that only the tip of the iceberg. The women in the Renaissance era were also known to purposefully bleed themselves by slashing or using leeches. Nope, nope, no thank you.
Hope you liked or at least enjoyed reading these history tidbits about makeup but I sure hope I didn’t spoil your appetite or make you spit out your drink. But the more you know, right? 🙂
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