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Nefertiti bust with eye shadow applied ~1320 BC

The history of cosmetics spans at least 6000 years of human history, and almost every society on earth.

Contents

The ancient world

Egyptian cosmetics box from the Bronze Age

See Cosmetics in Ancient Rome.

The first archaeological evidence of cosmetics usage is found in Ancient Egypt around 4000 BC.[citation needed] The Ancient Greeks and Romans also used cosmetics.[citation needed] The Romans and Ancient Egyptians, not realizing their dangerous properties, used cosmetics containing mercury and white lead.[citation needed] Fragrances, particularly frankincense and myrrh are mentioned in the Christian Bible: Exodus 30: 34, Gospel of Matthew 2:11. Ancient Egyptians had a wide extent of make-up utensils. One of them is kohl, which was used to outline the eyes. It is made up of lead, copper, burned almonds, soot, and other ingredients. It was believed that eye make-up could ward off evil spirits and improve the sight. Even the poor wore eye make-up in ancient Egypt. The production of cosmetics during ancient Rome was usually done by female slaves called Cosmetae.[1]

Africa

The cosmetic uses of kohl and henna have their roots in north Africa.[citation needed]

The Middle East

Cosmetics were used in Persia and what is today the Middle East from ancient periods.[citation needed] After Arab tribes converted to Islam and conquered those areas, in some areas cosmetics were only restricted if they were to disguise the real look in order to mislead or cause uncontrolled desire.[citation needed]. In Islamic Law, there is no prohibition on wearing cosmetics, but there are requirements as stated above. And that the cosmetics must not be made of harmfull substances as to harm ones body.

An early teacher was Abu al-Qssum al-Zahrawi, or Abulcasis, who wrote the 24-volume medical encyclopedia Al-Tasrif.. A chapter of the 19th volume was dedicated to cosmetics. As the treatise was translated into Latin, the cosmetic chapter was used in the West. Al-Zahrawi considered cosmetics a branch of medicine, which he called "Medicine of Beauty" (Adwiyat al-Zinah). He deals with perfumes, scented aromatics and incense. There were perfumed stocks rolled and pressed in special moulds, perhaps the earliest antecedents of present day lipsticks and solid deodorants. He also used oily substances called Adhan for medication and beautification.[2]

China

A Beijing opera performer with traditional stage make up.

Chinese people began to stain their fingernails with gum arabic, gelatin, beeswax and egg from around 3000 BCE.[3] The colors used represented social class: Chou dynasty royals wore gold and silver; later royals wore black or red. The lower classes were forbidden to wear bright colors on their nails.[citation needed]

Japan

A maiko in the Gion district of Kyoto, Japan, in full make-up. The style of the lipstick indicates that she is still new.

In Japan, geisha wore lipstick made of crushed safflower petals to paint the eyebrows and edges of the eyes as well as the lips, and sticks of bintsuke wax, a softer version of the sumo wrestlers' hair wax, were used by geisha as a makeup base. [4] Rice powder colors the face and back; rouge contours the eye socket and defines the nose.[5] Ohaguro (black paint) colours the teeth for the ceremony, called Erikae, when maiko (apprentice geisha) graduate and become independent.[citation needed] The geisha would also sometimes use bird droppings to compile a lighter color.

Europe

1889 painting Woman at her Toilette by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

In the Middle Ages it was thought sinful and immoral to wear makeup by Church leaders, but many women still adopted the fad . From the Renaissance up until the 20th Century the lower classes had to work outside, in agricultural jobs and the typically light-colored European's skin was darkened by exposure to the sun. The higher a person was in status, the more leisure time he or she had to spend indoors, which kept their skin pale. Thus, the highest class of European society were pale resulting in European men and mostly women attempting to lighten their skin directly, or using white powder on their skin to look more aristocratic.[citation needed] A variety of products were used, including white lead paint which also may have contained arsenic, which also poisoned women and killed many.[citation needed] Queen Elizabeth I of England was one well-known user of white lead, with which she created a look known as "the Mask of Youth".[6] Portraits of the queen by Nicholas Hilliard from later in her reign are illustrative of her influential style.[citation needed]

The Americas

Some Native American tribes painted their faces for ceremonial events or battle.[citation needed]

The 20th century

Audience applying makeup at lecture by beautician in Los Angeles, circa 1950

During the early years of the 20th century, make-up became fashionable in the United States of America and Europe owing to the influence of ballet and theatre stars such as Mathilde Kschessinska and Sarah Bernhardt. But the most influential new development of all was that of the movie industry in Hollywood. Among those who saw the opportunity for mass-market cosmetics were Max Factor, Sr., Elizabeth Arden, and Helena Rubinstein.[7] Modern synthetic hair dye was invented in 1907 by Eugene Schueller, founder of L'Oréal. He also invented sunscreen in 1936.[8]

Flapper style influenced the cosmetics of the 1920s, which embraced dark eyes, red lipstick, red nail polish, and the suntan, invented as a fashion statement by Coco Chanel.[citation needed] Previously, suntans had only been sported by agricultural workers, while fashionable women kept their skins as pale as possible. In the wake of Chanel's adoption of the suntan, dozens of new fake tan products were produced to help both men and women achieve the "sun-kissed" look.[citation needed] In Asia, skin whitening continued to represent the ideal of beauty, as it does to this day.[citation needed] During the 1960s and 1970s, many women in the western world influenced by feminism decided to go without any cosmetics. The anti-cosmetics movement was an outgrowth of this; feminists in this movement object to cosmetics' role in the second-class status of women, making them mere sex-objects who must waste time with cosmetics. Cosmetics in the 1970s were divided into a "natural look" for day and a more sexualized image for evening.

Modern developments in technology, such as the High shear mixer have facilitated the production of cosmetics which are more natural looking and have greater staying power in wear than their predecessors.[9]

Cosmetic deodorant was invented in 1888, by an unknown inventor from Philadelphia,[citation needed] and was trademarked under the name Mumm. Roll-on deodorant was launched in 1952, and aerosol deodorant in 1965.[citation needed]

References

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See also








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