Cosmetic History – Makeup Now and Then

With the introduction of so many amazing new products in the world of cosmetics, you will think that these makeup and other beauty products were discovered just now. But then, the history of cosmetics can be traced back to ancient times, from the era of ancient Egypt to be exact.

With this said, we can then say that this cosmetic history is truly very rich. To begin with, makeup had already been used by both men and women thousands of years before, and this can be proven by the Archaeologists’ discovery of numerous jars of makeup items inside the Egyptian tombs that dates back to around 3000 BC.

We all know that in the past, Egyptians worked hard and were exposed to the heat of the sun in the desert for long periods. And so, in order to fight off the scorching heat, they formulated a product which is very similar to the lotions that we have today, specifically, the lotions that relieve dry skin and help in preventing wrinkles at the same time.

The Egyptian women also started using kohl to line their eyes. Kohl is a chemical element that contains antimony or lead sulfide. This eyeliner was typically used by both men and women as an eye shadow. The most commonly used color for this was green.

Though we are aware that lead has some toxic properties, sadly, the people in the early times did not have any clue that their makeup or cosmetics were slowly poisoning them. Furthermore, in the relics of Babylon, experts had unearthed white lead that was most likely applied as a foundation in order to make the face look lighter or whiter. The Greeks were also found to have been using the white lead for the mere purpose of enhancing their skin tones.

This fad of having a paler look had escalated until the middle of the 19th century. During this time, most women and some men wanted to have a pale looking face. They thought that this look was a mark of aristocracy, particularly for people who did not have to bake under the sun while tilling the fields and eventually get a darker complexion in the process.

And as proof that people went totally gaga over this lighter skin tone thing, women even went to such extremes of making themselves bleed just to make their faces appear pale. But of course, the habit of using white powder and paint was still there to go with the bleeding practice.

By the dawn of 1600, the trendy look did not just comprise of pale skin tone, as there was already the addition of red lips, pink cheeks, and brighter eyes. A blusher or makeup of either red or brown shades was commonly put on the cheeks and lips as well. However, in attaining the big eyes, women once again resorted to another toxic element which was arsenic. They also rinsed out their eyes with certain acidic juices like lemon and orange. In exaggerated instances, women even used hallucinogenic belladonna which came from the lethal nightshade plant. This is usually dropped in the eyes so as to enlarge the pupils to achieve dreamy gentle looking eyes.

At last, after thousands of years, people have become wiser and more concerned about the things that they put on their body and this is how they were able to find out that they are actually getting poisoned little by little and that the culprit is the toxic ingredients in makeup or cosmetics. As a result, in this present century, medical experts have finally started to attempt to regulate the ingredients of cosmetics so that users will be safer and will avoid getting toxic lead, mercury, aluminum, coal, etc., to run inside their bodies with the skin or mouth as the entry point. However, in the US, the Cosmetic Industry continues to fight the regulation of ingredients used in the manufacture of personal care products.

In conclusion, this is not the end of the history of cosmetics as it is certain that there will be more new products to come and we all know that anything goes in the 21st century. Take the wrinkle fillers, non-surgical cosmetic procedures, and the creation of facial enhancers like Botox as examples. All of these cosmetics, to beautify a person, are gaining huge followers, but continue to be filled with toxins.

With this, we can say that all the products that are yet to come in the future will all be directed at making us look as if 15 years has been subtracted from our original age, but at what cost! Interesting indeed, right?

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