The history of cosmetics – from Egypt to Hollywood

The history of cosmetics – from Egypt to Hollywood

The evolution of makeup

Human nature to strive for perfection and self-expression has never truly waned. Makeup plays a significant role in our history, our present and certainly our future. From ancient civilisations to the high fashion runway of Milan, makeup is an integral part of our culture. The impact of cosmetics in society cannot be ignored, having helped us change/enhance the way we look and present ourselves. Cosmetics and makeup are not simply a tool for vanity and vanity alone. Makeup is an important part of many religions and cultures, has helped those with skin disease cover their blemishes and has helped to give confidence to those who suffer severe insecurities.

So when did it all begin?

12 000 years ago the Ancient Egyptians discovered the healing abilities of scented oils. Once this discovery was made, the cosmetic industry of Egypt flourished. Makeup not only became a part of their culture but rather became a part of their religion. When speaking to their Gods, the Egyptian people would honour the Gods by donning coal eyeliner, scented oils and other cosmetic products. The beauty products found their way to Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. It was here that these products were surprisingly shunned. They were seen as self-indulgent and vanity inducing – odd coming from a beauty focused civilisation. However, popularity grew steadily and makeup went on to become a costly investment.

The middle Ages saw cosmetics and beauty products become null and void in society. Cosmetics were all but abandoned by the public because of its association with ‘ladies of the night.’ Then the change came about…

When European soldiers arrived back from The Crusades they brought with them new, exotic and enticing cosmetic products. First it was European nobility who grabbed onto these innovative cosmetics and by the Renaissance era, the popularity of these products had spread throughout the population.

Early 20th Century is seen as the dawn of modern makeup and cosmetics. Many beauty and cosmetics brands became global business powerhouses.

The glamorous industry continues to evolve, as men and women now seek new trends and new forms of self-expression. From the 20’s cat-eye to 90’s dark smoky eyes… makeup is a part of everyday living and has grown right alongside us.