How did we as a people get to the point where we spend billions annually on cosmetics and it became the social standard for women to wear cosmetics everyday It is certain a female way back in old times did not just wake up one morning and decide to put on eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, base, and rouge all at once. No, it was, like many things, a combination of things from ages past.
The Egyptians were the first to use cosmetics. That was four thousand years ago. Good hygeine and appearance were extremely meaningful to the people of Egypt. The Egyptians had the belief that the appearance was in direct juncture with the well being of the spirit. They strived to constantly look and smell good. And with a civilization who values their looks, societies are inevitably going to have members who are going to attempt to stand out. But the Egyptians, being the inventive culture they were, implemented cosmetics for reasons that were even more practical than just attempting to look great.
A combination of lead ore and copper known as Mesdemet was the origin of eye shadow. The dark shades they believed would ward off evil eyes from their own. It was also a great disinfectant and bug repellent. Kohl was a dark substance that was also put on around the eyes in an oval shape. It was a combination of lead, ash, ochre, copper, and burnt almonds. A mixture of red clay and water was added to the cheeks to further enhance their appearance. They would also paint their fingernails shades of orange and yellow with a substance named henna.
As civilizations started to interact with each other more often, the art of make-up was picked up by the Greeks from the Egyptians. They would give themselves a pale shade with a base that contained lead in it. This ended up being terminal more than once. As the Romans started to pick up the cosmetics practice, the pursuit of beauty became much less about functionability and took a turn into much more unusual routes. They would decorate their nails with a combination of sheeps blood and heated body fat. An old Roman citizen once said, A woman without paint is like food without salt.
Centuries after the Egyptian empire faded, the fashion standard worldwide was a white complexion. A dark, rough face was associated with being a plebeian who worked out in the field all day beside her spouse. The upper class women obviously did not participate in hard work like that so they stayed under the roof and had light complexions.
Wealth was often measured by a person’s white complexion. If people had enough money, then you did not have to work. So a light skin tone was very crucial to some members of society. To get this look, ladies (and men as well) would use a combination of hydroxide, lead oxide, and carbonate in a powder form to paint their faces and bodies. Unfortunately, this caused a sometimes lethal side effect, lead poisoning.To cure this problem, chemists in the nineteenth century at last created a mixture of zinc oxide that did not block the skin from being able to breathe and kept people out of that aggravating lead poisoning death. It was so effective that it is still used today by cosmetics manufacturers.
Lavish and glamorous parties were held by urban ladies with disposable wealth in the Edwardian era of London. As hostesses of the party, it was important for them to be the most attractive woman at the event, so it was very important for them to look as youthful as they possibly could. City and excessive lifestyles with factors like smoggy air produced by the cities at that time, unhealthy diets, and very little or no exercise aged the women quickly. Anti-aging and facial creams to hide the imperfections were heavily relied upon by women in this era. They would also travel to the salon. It was a bit different back then than it is in the present. Ladies would go into the back entrance of the salons and cover their faces as they went in. One of the most famous of these discreet beauty houses was the House of Cyclax, that would sell foams and blushes to ladies. Mrs. Henning, who was the owner, sold and came out with multiple products for her desperate customers who did not want anybody to know that they were getting old.
The modern day woman is the benefactor of all these years of mistakes with a virtually unlimited choice of beauty products for any look they want to achieve. There are thousands of companies who create products in this now billion dollar yearly industry. Skin Care products sell all year and even in times of recession. Therefore ladies, give thanks to your ancestors and their concern for their own looks for yours that you have nowadays. They probably didn’t feel like putting on their face some mornings either.