Purpose of cosmetics
It is a common desire in any society of individuals to improve the perception others have of them. This urge is often born of a desire to create sufficient attention to draw a mate or at least be appealing to improve your prospects. Different societies and cultures have always held different ideas of beauty and throughout the centuries, these ideas have changed according to the changes in the society itself.
The rate of change in fashion and beauty ideas closely parallels the increase in information dissemination through our media sources. Fashion trends changed slowly in those days where the only newsreels were at the cinema and monthly magazines. As televisions emerged and grew in popularity, people were suddenly able to see images in their homes and the need to keep the viewers interested meant that television stars were constantly appearing with new looks to maintain their appeal. This gave our society a constant stream of new looks to envy and emulate.
Brief History of Cosmetics and MakeupANCIENT EGYPTIANS: Ancient Egyptians and Cleopatra were believed to be some of the first to use cosmetics as far back as 400BC. Egyptians would fill in their brows and line their eyes with KOHL (a cream made from the fat of sheep mixed with powdered lead or antimony and soot). Ancient Egyptians were also known to take baths in milk and honey to soften and beautify their skins from head to toe.
ROMANS AND GREEKS: Around 100AD, the Romans stayed beautiful by using wine as a cheek stain and painted their faces and bodies with chalk to achieve a pale whitish look. They created acne treatment by combining barley flour and butter. The Romans also dyed their hair, but they used lye (a strong solution of sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide in water) causing many people to lose their hair and forcing them to wear wigs. The Greeks stained their lips and cheeks using vermillion and the juice from berries. They darkened their lashes with black incense.
THE MIDDLE AGES: unlike today where looking tanned is not healthy in the middle age being pale in vogue. Women wanted to look pale so badly that they allowed themselves to be painted or even bled in order to achieve the colorless look. Tattoos became popular during this age and time in addition to colored eye shadow such as blue, green, gray, and brown.
THE 1800's: by the 1800s almost all social classes wore cosmetics but many products still contained toxic ingredients. Eye shadows and lip stain contained poisonous ingredients like mercuric sulfide and belladonna. Zinc oxide, which is still used today, was introduced as a facial powder to replace deadly arsenic versions.
THE 1990s: During the 1900s, the commercial cosmetics industry began to grow substantially. In 1913 mascara that's packaged as we know it today was developed by the French chemist and perfumer EUGENE RIMMEL. This product was a bit messy and not consistent, but was non-toxic and became popular across EUROPE. In the late 1900s makeup became a way for women to express themselves. Women wore makeup that suited their style and taste, and didn't strictly stick to the trends.
PRESENT DAY: The cosmetics and beauty industries total over $20 billion in annual sales and is consistently growing. Emphasis is placed on anti-aging and looking young. Many different makeup looks from natural to dramatic, theatrical looks. Although cosmetics have changed drastically throughout the course of history, the goal to look our best remains the same. Most of us would be lost without the brilliant invention known as makeup.
Written by: Opara Faith Oluchi
Organization: FX Xculsive Hairs & makeovers