Makeup: A look at the History of Beauty

3/07/2017 Osmosis Skincare 0 Comments




Do you ever wonder just how old makeup is? No, not your expiration date, the actual use of and art of makeup? It's literally ancient! In honor of National Women's History Month, we thought it would be fun to teach a little "her-story" lesson in makeup through the ages and honor those who brought this revolutionary tool of women (and men's) confidence to the forefront of our time.

In the ancient Egyption ages, both men and women would protect their skin from the scorching sun by using oils, homemade ointments and the now-known Kohl which was made up from burnt almonds, oxidized copper, different colored coppers ores, lead, ash, and ochre. This is the first known use of 'cosmetics.' Kohl later became not only a representation of looks (it was quite desirable to have almond-shaped eyes) and a protection ritual from evil. From that point forward, oils, plant pigments and fruit pigments became a popular use to signify class, status, and ritual uses around the globe.


Moving forward in time to the Elizabethan Era when lead, arsenic, and egg whites were utilized to maintain a pale complexion, which let others know your status (the paler you were, the less time you spent outside, hence the opulence of being wealthy enough to own a roof!) and the egg whites were applied on top of the skin to give a glossy, tight look. Beets and other red fruits were used to stain the lips and cheeks and lead or ochre to line the eyes. With time, it became apparent that their use of these cosmetics were indeed leading to poison and even death... Death by liner anyone?!? The use of makeup grew rapidly between men and women of stature.


The Victorian age experienced a decline in the use of makeup as it was not deemed a suitable form to present yourself, unless...of course you were a woman of the night. The most that a woman or man would do is apply one drop of lemon juice in their eyes with the belief that they would appear bright and awake (ouch)! This is the era that cheek-pinching became popular as well. In private (of course) women would pinch their cheeks in order to bring blood to the surface for a natural, reddish glow.

It wasn't until the early 1900's that makeup started to resurface as acceptable and boy-oh-boy this is the time that history-makers emerged. Helena Rubenstien, Elizabeth Arden and Max Factor came to the scene around 1914, bringing fresh products (without poison) to the scene. Let's also not forget that 1914 also saw its first mascara ad, the mascara aptly named Mable, after the sister of its inventor which later became known as Maybelline. Helena Rubenstien was really the first female cosmetic entrepreneur showing the importance of skincare and makeup to men and women in Europe and the US. This is where commercial beauty as we know it today was born!

Moving forward through time, the 1920's is a pivotal moment in makeup history as it now was widely available to women of all statures and it was more commonly used to express one's self. Painted nails, smokey eyes, thin brows and dark, vampy lips made their appearance to the beauty stage and luckily (aside from the thin brows) have yet to make their exit! This brief history lesson brings us to today!

We are incredibly fortunate to have skincare and makeup at our disposal, in forms that we can afford and learn to use via YouTube and other technologies. We bet Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstien would be dancing through the streets if they could see just how far their quaint passion all those years ago has grown. Now living in an age where makeup continues to better itself, becoming safer, cleaner and greener (thank goodness we don't use arsenic anymore), we have to say that we are honored to be apart of an industry that cares about your skin, your feelings, and your confidence. Take a look at looks from the past, add a little modern flare (and personal style) to them, and go out and thank the ladies of the past for having the know-how and gumption to put their best face forward!

Check out our makeup products to create your timeless look here.

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