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Module 1: History of Cosmetics

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Egyptians cultivated beauty and were the first to use it extravagantly. The use of cosmetics to enhance natural beauty was thought to have originated there. In Ancient Egypt henna and kohl were used and this tradition may have roots in North Africa. Berries were used on the skin, lips and eyes. Kohl makeup was created by mixing a black mineral called galena with animal fat and sulfur. It created the heavy lines around the eyes, protected the eyes from the glaring sun and worked as a remedy for eye inflammation. The Egyptians had treatments for wrinkles that used fresh moringa and gum of frankincense. Ointments used for burns and scars were made using kohl, sycamore juice and red ochre. Circa 1400 B.C., Queen Nefertiti used henna to stain her nails red and wore lavish designs on her face. Circa 50 B.C., Queen Cleopatra erected a cosmetics factory near the Dead Sea, for her personal use. Ancient Africans chewed on licorice root sticks, frankincense and herbs for better breath. In Ancient Persia, kohl was used to make the edges of the eyelids darker, by smudging it like eyeliner. The Arab tribes that converted to Islam, restricted cosmetics in some areas, if they were used to disguise one's appearance or to appeal to be desired. There is no prohibition today, that specifically relates to cosmetics, if they are not made of harmful substances. A tenth century teacher, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, considered cosmetics a medicine branch and coined it the “Medicine of Beauty”. His teachings refer to perfumes, incense and aromatics. Sticks were rolled and put into molds - similar to our modern day deodorants and lipsticks. In China, Princess Shouyang who was the daughter of The Emperor Wu of Liu Song, started a new tradition when a plum blossom fell onto her forehead. It enhanced her beauty and soon became a new trend. In Japan, crushed safflower petals created lipstick, paint for the eyebrows and eyes and the lips. The sticks of bintsuke wax were used as a base by geisha. To color the face, rice powder was used, the eye sockets were contoured with rouge and the teeth were colored with Ohaguro, a black paint. To lighten the color, bird droppings were even used. Circa 1600 B.C., the Chinese aristocrats of the Shang dynasty, colored their nails an ebony or crimson color, using a mixture of gum Arabic, beeswax, egg whites and gelatin. The evolution of makeup has come a long way. New methods have been developed and the old ones that were unhealthy have been removed. Altogether, the concept remains the same. The industry has developed ways to enhance beauty. Makeup is a way of eliminating imperfections and accentuating natural beauty. The evolution to improve the technology is not over. Today, companies are working hard to develop products that are even better. They work to make it more convenient and to eliminate common problems. For example, mascara companies are continually changing their formulas and brushes, so that mascara can be applied to add volume to the lashes, whilst eliminating clumps. They are also designing products that will last the whole day. Companies are working to build products that ward off the signs of aging. This increases the self-esteem of women (and sometimes men) from all over the world and from all walks of life. Products are also designed to achieve the "look" makeup artists want and to make it easier for them to work. Many people apply makeup every day, to achieve looks, such as the appearance of large eyes, lusher eyelashes, plusher lips and rosy cheeks. There are many different styles. People have the desire to look better and continuously strive to better themselves.