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A Makeup History Lesson

January 24, 2017

 

The history of cosmetics spans across at least 6000 yrs and is present in almost every society. Some argue that cosmetic body art is the earliest form of ritual in human culture, dating over 100,000 yrs from the African Middle Stone Age.

The evidence for this comes in the form of utilised red mineral pigments (red ochre) including crayons associated with the emergence people in Africa. Evidence of cosmetics certainly dates from ancient Egypt and Greece. According to one source, early major developments include the use of castor oil in ancient Egypt as a protective balm and skin creams made of beeswax, olive oil, and rosewater described by the Romans. The Ancient Greeks also used cosmetics. Cosmetics are mentioned in the Old Testament—2 Kings 9:30 where Jezebel painted her eyelids—approximately 840 BC—and the book of Esther describes various beauty treatments as well. Cosmetics were used in ancient Rome, although much of Roman literature suggests that it was frowned upon.  It was women in ancient Rome invented make up including lead-based formulas, to whiten the skin, and kohl was used to line the eyes.

 
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