History of Cosmetics


10,000 BC

A woman with out paint is like food without salt – Roman Philosopher, Plautus.

Cosmetics have been around for a long time.  The first cosmetics known were in Egypt in 10,000 BC.  Men and women used oils and ointments to mask body odour and to soften the skin.  Egypt has a hot dry climate so the oils were used to soften the skin and to protect against the hot sun.

If you go to Egypt today you can still purchase the same oils that were used all those years ago.

4000 BC

Again in Egypt women started to use make up to protect their faces from the hot dry climate.  They used Udje made from Malachite and Mesdemet of lead ore.  Galena Mesdemet made of copper and lead ore and Malachite a bright green paste of copper minerals.  They used a combination of burnt almonds, oxidized copper, lead, ash and ochre when added together called a Khol to enhance their eyes.  This is the first documented occasion of women using makeup boxes.

3000 BC

Women in China began to stain their finger nails to make them rise above the working class.  The royalty in China the Chou Dynasty wore bright colours on their nails so the working classes were forbidden to wear bright colours on their nails.

1500 BC

The first foundation and plucked eye brows, only they were actually shaved off.   Gradually different stains were being introduced to the face and cosmetics was beginning to evolve.

100 AD

The Roman men start to dye their hair blond and mud baths start to become the rage.

In the Middle ages the Church frowned upon cosmetics but many women still wore cosmetics.  Women would have a pale complexion by applying pastes of lead, chalk or flour or by removing large quantities of blood know as bloodletting.

Cosmetics has been frowned upon in many times in Western history.  In the 19th century cosmetics were used by prostitutes mainly.  Queen Victoria declared makeup was only to be used by actors.  Its use anywhere else was improper and vulgar.

Face painting is for clowns and not for the women of the master race said Adolf Hitler.

As you can see cosmetics have been in use for thousands of years.  Like most early industries there was no regulation and the side effects were not understood.  This lead to many deformities, blindness and death.

 History of Cosmetics.

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