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Module 1: History of Cosmetics

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For centuries, various forms of cosmetics have been used to enhance beauty, promote better health and in religious rituals. The use of these products in the past may have been for more practical reasons, such as protecting the skin from the sun, for beauty and to establish class. They used the things they had to change their appearance and to make their features more appealing. It may have been more of a survival tool for young women who were born with thin lashes, to find a mate. It was a belief that women with full lashes were more fertile and therefore a better mate. It was used to exert one's status in society. Makeup played a huge part in the eyes of ancient civilizations. The great Pharaohs wore eye makeup to exert their power and women wore it to enhance their beauty. It was a sign of power and prestige. Makeup in modern times has not changed. People who are in power don’t have to wear makeup to be respected. However, many people in the limelight wear makeup almost everywhere. They have built a persona through the use of makeup and they now wear it whether they are going to the grocery store or they are going to a movie premiere. Those in front of the camera these days have to wear makeup, just to look like themselves on the big screen - men and women included. Makeup may have transformed from products using dangerous and deadly ingredients to safe ones, but the overall concept hasn’t changed. People have been altering the way they look for generations, to become more appealing, to assert their stature in society and to feel better about themselves. The positive thing about makeup is that it doesn’t physically change your appearance. In Thailand, metal rings are put around some childrens' necks each year they grow, so that eventually it makes their neck grow. In some African tribes, circles are put on people's lips to increase the size of their lips. In America, there is a slew of cosmetic procedures done each day to change everything from lips, eyes, nose, buttocks, waist and breasts. Makeup can make the face appear to be altered, without undergoing any physical change.