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Module 1: History of Cosmetics

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10,000 B.C.: Both men and women in Ancient Egypt used ointments and scented oils, to mask their body odour and soften their skin. Ointments and oils were a major part of the health and hygiene system. Perfumes were used as part of religious rituals. Natural substances such as: thyme, myrrh, marjoram, lavender, lily, peppermint, chamomile, rosemary, rose, aloe and cedar and oils such as sesame, almond and olive oil, were used to make perfumes. Oils and creams were used to protect people's skin from the hot sun and the dry winds. Castor oil was likely used as a balm, to protect the lips and skin and was used in many of the skin creams. 4,000 B.C.: Women in Egypt used Galena Mesdemet on their faces, for definition and color. It was a bright green paste, made of lead ore, copper and malachite. To create the appearance that their eyes were an almond shape, they used a combination of oxidized copper, burnt almonds, various copper colored ores, ash, lead and ochre. They would bring the makeup to parties in boxes. 3000 B.C.: People in China used gum Arabic, beeswax, eggs and gelatin to stain their fingernails. This would represent their social class. For example, the royals of the Chou dynasty would wear silver and gold. Other royals would use red and black. The lower class, were not able to wear nail colors. Grecian women would use white lead to cover their faces and then use crushed mulberries as blush. Oxen hair was used for fake eyebrows. 1500 B.C.: Rice powder was used to make the faces of Japanese and Chinese citizens, white. Henny dyes stained the face and hair, teeth were painted black and gold and the eyebrows were shaved off. 1000 B.C.: Lead powder or chalk were used by Grecians to whiten their faces. Ochre clays with red iron, were used as lipstick. 840 B.C.: Ancient Greeks used cosmetics. They were mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. Jezebel had painted eyelids and the book of Esther also speaks of beauty treatments. 100 A.D.: Barley flour and butter were used by the Romans for pimples. They used sheep fat and blood to paint their nails. Mud baths became popular and some men dyed their hair blonde. Lead-based formulas created whiter skin and the eyes were lined with kohl. 300-400 A.D.: Henna was used for drawing intricate designs on the feet and hands and was also used to dye hair.1200 A.D.: Perfumes were imported from the Middle East to Europe, during the Crusades. 1300 A.D.: People in Elizabethan England dyed their hair red. They also used egg whites spread on their faces, to create the look of a paler complexion. 1400-1500 A.D.: Cosmetics were used by the aristocracy in Europe. France and Italy began manufacturing cosmetics. The Renaissance period saw the tweezing and shaving of the eyebrows, in an effort to expand the forehead. 1500-1600 A.D.: White lead paint was used to whiten the skin of European women, along with other methods. Queen Elizabeth I used white lead to create “The Mask of Youth”. Blonde hair was considered to be "angelic" and became popular. They would mix alum, black sulphut and honey, which would be painted onto the hair and then dried in the sun. 1800 A.D.: A major transformation occured through the use of zinc oxide, instead of copper and lead in facial powders. This improved the health implications of wearing makeup, since previous mixtures were found to cause muscle paralysis, tremors and even death. 1900 A.D.: Pressures to create a younger look for middle-aged women in Edwardian Society, lead to the increased use of cosmetics. Salons began to increase in acceptability and popularity.