How you ever wondered what traditional beauty regimens looked like thousands of years ago?
While many things have changed or improved, one thing seems to have remained the same. Let’s time travel to see how natural products have played a pivotal role in make-up and beauty treatments in history.
Egyptians use natural oils as cosmetics and health products. They love peppermint, rose, cedar, olive, almond and sesame oil. Eyes are painted to look almond-shaped, and kohl eyeliner is made from a mixture of malachite, lead and oil. Perfumes are pressed from henna leaves, cinnamon or lilies, and their oils protect the skin from harsh sun and flies.
Queen Shub-ad of ancient Ur (Mesopotamia), a Sumerian queen, colors her lips with a paste of red rocks and a white lead base. On the other side of the world, Chinese women use ingredients like eggs and beeswax as nail polish. Only upper-class dynasties are allowed to paint their nails in bright colors. Royalty wears lip balm made from plant juices and minerals to moisturize and protect from cold weather and the wind.
Ancient Rome, 100 A.D.
Ancient Romans make beauty masks infused with rose water, honey, anise or olive oil. Frankincense is a popular aromatic perfume, and deodorants are pressed from rose petals.
Baths are a social gathering in Rome, and ancient Italy has many natural springs with thermal waters. To preserve skin elasticity, Romans infuse bath ointments into the water. Fragrant oils and perfumes boost the cosmetic industry and economic traffic.
Lanolin, which comes from the Latin for “wool and oil,” is used on the skin. It is essentially wool grease secreted from sheep.
The Elizabethan period in England sees a dramatic trend in women’s makeup: Aristocratic women achieve a glazed, plastered look with egg whites.
In England, light skin indicates affluence and wealth, since those individuals who work long hours outdoors are subject to the sun’s harsh rays. Country women use herbs, flowers or fruits such as strawberries in their beauty routines. Parasols are popular for those who can afford them, since they’re effective at shielding delicate skin from the sun.
To enhance their complexion, women mix flour with wine and lime water to make a mask before bedtime. General society also believes that an essence of honey, whey, lilies and rose water helps remove wrinkles. Victorian Era women achieve a healthier, rosy-cheeked look with red beet juice on their faces.
T.L. Williams mixes petroleum jelly with carbon soot to invent the first modern mascara. He names it after his sister, Mabel. (Today, we know the drugstore brand as Maybelline.)
At the same time, Elizabeth Arden and Max Factor launch their cosmetics. Commercial makeup also soars as the film industry takes off.
Pressed powders with mirrors and puffs become all the rage, along with liquid nail polish.
Everyone loves Max Factor’s new lip gloss product. Actress Rita Hayworth uses oil in her hair and washes it out with hot water and lemon juice. Mae West praises the benefits of coconut oil.
The “Anti-aging” term shifts from being part of the medical industry to taking front stage on the wellness, beauty and cosmetic markets.
2000 and Beyond
Natural oils are just as on trend as they were centuries ago.
Hollywood embraces vegan lifestyles and bio-cosmetics: Megan Fox loves grapeseed oil for tightening and vitamin E for toning. Katy Perry combats acne with tea tree oil, and Teresa Palmer uses avocado oil in her nightly routine to remove makeup and achieve glowing skin. The secret to Blake Lively’s beautiful blonde hair is found in coconut oil, while model Miranda Kerr bathes in rosehip oil before a big runway event.
The beauty concept of women though history with makeup, fashion and hair trends may come and go, but clearly, the benefits of natural ingredients in our beauty routines are here to stay.
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