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The Origins Of Cosmetics

Makeup Through the Years

It may seem like using cosmetics is a recent thing that only women tend to obsess over for beauty purposes, but the history of makeup tells us different. In fact, using makeup and cosmetics have been a practice in nearly every culture, and has been important to people for nearly 6,000 years.


The Early Years

When you think of the word “cosmetics” or “makeup,” you may instantly think of a woman applying foundation, blush, eye liner, mascara and lipstick. But cosmetics can be so much more.

Cosmetics Used For Healing

People in places such as ancient Egypt and other places in Africa were known to use cosmetics for healing purposes. They chewed specific herbs and plants such as frankincense to freshen their breath. Mixtures and ointments were created from plants and oils to rub on burns, to diminish the appearance of scars and even wrinkles.

Today chemicals are added to these ointments in most of the world, but they are still around for the same purposes. However, many people are quickly learning the benefits of natural healing, as was done in ancient times, and are using things such as herbs and essential oils to cure their ailments instead of modern medicines. This has been proven to work – in some cases better than medications – and is growing quickly in popularity.

Cosmetics Used For Beauty

It has been documented that many different countries throughout history would use cosmetics for beauty purposes. In the Middle East, they were used for medicines as well, but they also made scented sticks as a kind of roll on perfume, and used a black powder called kohl as eyeliner.

More and more people in the Americas during the very early 20th century became interested in using cosmetics for beauty as the popularity of ballet and theater grew. Women and even men wanted to look like the stars, so they began to use makeup and cosmetic products at home. Then, as the roaring 20s came about, women started to don heavy, dark eye makeup and bright red lips in fashion with the flappers. It was also around this time when the first nail polish was released.

Cosmetics Used For Status

In China people would make a mixture of gelatin, beeswax, egg whites and other ingredients to make a polish that would stain their nails. The different colors would signify different social classes. During the middle ages it was a sin to wear any type of makeup. However, people were set apart not only by social status, but by their looks as well.

Simply glancing at an individual could tell you if they were low or high class. Low class people had to work outside, and their skin was rough, calloused and tan. Those who were of high social standings rarely had to be outside in the sun, so they were pale and soft. The latter would even try to make themselves paler to look even more important by using white powder on their faces. Men and women actually died because of this, due to the fact that arsenic and lead paint were both ingredients used during this time. This didn’t stop people from using the makeup, though. To this day, people in Asia use face powder to whiten their skin for beauty.

How Makeup Has Changed and Improved

In the past few hundred years, all sorts of makeup and cosmetics have been released for public use. Deodorant was made in the late 1800s. In the early 1900s nail polishes in different shades of pink were created. in the 20s the eyebrow pencil was a big hit, and men and women alike could buy a product to give them a fake tan. It took cosmetic companies years – until the 1970s – to create makeup for people of African American descent.


Makeup In Today’s World

Over more recent years, makeup is used for beauty, to even out skin tone, make eye lashes longer and darker, put color into pale cheeks and lips and to cover up blemishes. Men and women alike use cosmetic products by the handfuls to smooth wrinkles, lessen breakouts, stop hair growth, bleach, darken or change hair color, plump thin lips, soften dry skin or chapped lips, and so on. The list is ever growing.

There Are Many Brands and Many Types

The list of cosmetic and makeup brands is much too long to list, and having so many to choose from makes it extremely difficult for someone to decide what will work for them and what won’t. Many are also very expensive, making it a frustrating and costly task to purchase item after item until you find something that you like, that doesn’t make your skin break out, that makes you look the way you want it to.

When shopping for cosmetics and makeup, be sure to follow these tips:

  • Stay within your price range. It will save you money if you end up having to buy something new if what you purchased didn’t work out.
  • Listen to trusted friends and family members. Just like word of mouth recommendations help us grow at Affiliated Dentists, they can and will help you in product purchases, too.
  • If you find something that irritates your skin, be sure to ask the store if you can return it. If you can’t, contact the manufacturer to see if you can get a partial or full refund, especially if you have an allergic reaction.
  • Know your skin tone and your skin type. Many beauty supply stores keep track of this information for you in their system after they take a shade of your skin, which helps you buy products that will work for you.
  • Consider purchasing animal-cruelty free or organic products. They are much safer for the world and for your skin.
  • Get a makeup tutorial. Many places offer these for free while explaining what they are using for you and giving you free sample products to try as well.


Taking Care of Your Skin and Lips

Many products can dry out your skin, which can be especially bad for you during the winter, when the air is already dry and skin and lips are more prone to chapping. Caused by licking your lips too often, dehydration, certain medications and the weather, chapped lips can crack and bleed and are often very painful. It is extremely important to take care of your skin and your lips as well. Stores all over sell simple lip balms such as the popular Chapstick. Lip balm is a waxy substance that contains ingredients to, when applied to the lips, seal in moisture and protects them from dry air, cold temperatures, wind and the sun, as many have a low SPF in them as well.

You Are Beautiful

In the end, regardless of if you use makeup and cosmetics or prefer to be completely natural in your look, you are beautiful. Make sure you take care of yourself – all of yourself – from head to toe. Looks aren’t what’s important, your health is. Having a healthy body leads to a happier, better feeling future, and your body will thank you.

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