Egyptian Makeup history gives us an idea of how long people have been wearing cosmetics. In Egyptian art, men and women often have big, dramatic eyes. Both men and women in ancient Egypt used cosmetics. In this post, we take a close look at the Egyptian makeup history from Egyptian women applying makeup to the purpose of makeup in ancient Egypt. Discover how much of our makeup comes from ancient Egyptian beauty…
The History Of Egyptians Applying Makeup
Egyptians from the 1st Dynasty (3100–2907 B.C.) are thought to be the first people who left evidence that they used makeup. Jars of perfumed ointment have been found in tombs from this time in history.
Unguent was a material that both men and women wore to keep their skin moist and keep wrinkles from forming. Pomade was another name for unguent.
During this time, women would decorate their eyes by putting a dark green pigment on the lower lid and using kohl, which was made by mixing soot and antimony, to darken their eyelashes and upper lid. This was done to make it look like the eyes were bigger.
The Egyptians thought that cleanliness and beauty were both things that the gods liked. So, they used different dyes to color their skin, bodies, and hair.
Waxing With Sugar And Honey
At this point, who hasn’t heard of Cleopatra? Even though she has been dead for thousands of years, her legacy lives on, and there is a good reason for this. She broke the rules by becoming one of the most respected pharaohs of ancient Egypt at a time when women didn’t have much or any say in how society worked.
Cleopatra is known not only for what she did in politics but also for taking care of her beauty in unique and unusual ways. History books talk a lot about her luxurious milk baths and her love of putting toners on her face, so almost everyone knows about these habits.
Few people knew that she liked what is now the latest beauty trend, sugar waxing.
Even though it’s hard to say where sugaring came from, many historians agree that this ancient way of getting rid of hair was used in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece as far back as 1900 B.C.
Honey was the main sweetener used to make this waxing paste back then because sugar wasn’t available outside the areas around Persia until 1000 A.D.
Sugaring has mostly stayed the same over the years. But now that sugar is easier to get, it has taken the place of honey as the main ingredient in the sugar waxing paste.
Hydrating Face Masks
It is believed that applying facial masks as part of a cosmetic routine first emerged during the reign of Queen Cleopatra in ancient Egypt.
Milk and honey baths were a favorite of the Egyptian rulers Cleopatra and Nefertiti. For a good reason: combined two ingredients produce an excellent cleanser that leaves the skin feeling smooth and velvety.
In the modern world, however, neither of those things is feasible nor good for the environment. You might make do with a substitute, such as coconut milk diluted with hot water.
Lactic acid, found in abundance in milk, is an ingredient in a wide variety of skin care treatments (AHA). It encourages the formation of new skin cells while also assisting in removing dead skin cells.
The ancient Egyptians are believed to have invented the earliest exfoliation techniques. They employed a combination of pumice stones and scrubs made from sand or plants like aloe vera.
As a scrub, sodium carbonate (Natron) combined with water was utilized. Baking soda is a gentler alternative to Natron than modern baking soda. Even though it is a gentle exfoliant, you should only do it once per week.
Ancient Egyptians made significant strides in the field of skincare that has continued to have an impact throughout history.
Because they were so preoccupied with their outer looks, the first face masks they created were made of clay. They quickly expanded their repertoire to include milk, honey, and the more dubious option of crocodile dung.
In addition to taking baths in exfoliating donkey’s milk, Cleopatra was known to apply a mask prepared with mud from the Dead Sea twice a week to cleanse her skin and maintain her complexion. She also added egg whites to masks to give her skin a youthful glow.
Makeup Worn In Ancient Egypt
The ancient Egyptians used various materials in their makeup, some of which took a long time to put together. Minerals, rocks, plants, animal fats, and other naturally occurring things were used to make cosmetics.
However, researchers have found that some parts of cosmetics don’t happen naturally and must have been made on purpose. Here we have highlighted some of the notable makeups worn in ancient Egypt.
It is said that carmine beetles and ants were crushed to make the red lipstick that Cleopatra wore. This is what made the lipstick red.
The ancient Egyptians thought makeup, like lipstick, had healing powers. This traditional belief was held for makeup in general.
Cat eyes became popular with the ancient Egyptians, who were thought to have been the first people to wear them. By mixing lead salts with other things, they made their eyeliner.
Ancient Egyptians used mortar and pestle to mix malachite, a bright green mineral, lead, and oil or fat, to make their usual eyeliner. The main ingredient was malachite. The liner was then put away in a pretty container.
The person who wore kohl eyeliner used a thin stick to put it on. A line was drawn that went all the way to the ear, following the shape of the upper and lower eyelids.
Many people see eyeliner as a sign of holiness because they are committed to wearing it. This association with religion and the sacred also makes eyeliner a sign of holiness in addition to status and fashion.
People used to think that the Egyptian gods Ra and Horus could protect them from sickness if they wore eyeliner made of lead.
Ancient Egyptians used black eye makeup not just for looks but also to help them see. More so, the applied dark paint around the eye protected it from the harsh glare of the midday desert sun, which was reflected off the sandy desert floor.
Malachite was ground up to make a thick, bright green paste. This paste was used in ancient Egypt as the oldest eye paint.
Ancient Egyptians always did this, but Cleopatra used a bright green malachite paste on her lower eyelids.
She used powdered lapis lazuli stone to make a dark blue eye shadow with gold-colored pyrite particles. She put it on the top of both of her eyelids.
She made black kohl by mixing powdered lead sulfide and pig fat. She used this to make her eyebrows look thicker and her eyelashes look longer.
The Purpose Of Makeup In Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptians cared a lot about their appearance and safety, so they used cosmetics. They had many different kinds of makeup used for different things and were different depending on the social class of the person wearing it. Here are some of the purposes of makeup in ancient Egypt.
Dark Kohl Eyeliner Helped With The Glare Of The Sun
Egyptian women put kohl on their eyes daily as part of their makeup. Putting on kohl made their eyes stand out and look more beautiful.
It was also used for its medicinal properties, like protecting the eyes from sand and the sun and keeping infections away. They wore bold designs made of both green malachite and black galena. Kohl made their eyes look bigger and more beautiful.
Protective Function Against Evil
In ancient Egypt, cosmetics and the paraphernalia associated with them were used not merely for aesthetic purposes but also bore significant spiritual and ritual importance.
Animal pigments were frequently crushed into cosmetics, believing that doing so would bestow upon the user the same physical and spiritual qualities attributed to the respective animal.
Several cosmetic palettes and containers were adorned with images and motifs connected with youth restoration.
Even the makeup application process was thought to have some preventive effect against possible harmful impacts.
The significant role that cosmetics and beauty had during life was also carried over into the afterlife.
It is clear from the burial sites that date back to the Predynastic period that the ancient Egyptians were well-prepared for their voyage to the afterlife by possessing a variety of beauty aids.
Various personal items such as combs, jewelry, fragrant ointments, and cosmetics have been discovered in the graves of men, women, and children.
The depictions of ancient Egyptian beauty on mummies and death masks offer further insight into the country’s past.
The striking appearances that are frequently accomplished with the use of makeup are displayed on the idealized images of the departed.
Instead of accurately portraying the subject’s actual characteristics, the artist gives them glowing, youthful skin and eyes that were heavily lined with kohl.
In addition, the mummification followed several of the traditional beautification practices Egyptians practiced while they were still living.
When used to anoint the deceased’s body, for example, ointments normally employed for soothing the skin took on a religious connotation.
Fish Shaped Palettes Were Popular
Palettes in the shape of fish were very popular in ancient makeup history because fish have been seen as a sign of good luck for a long time.
A palette in the shape of a tilapia fish could be a symbol in and of itself since tilapia has been linked to fertility, rebirth, and new starts in the past.
Archaeologists have figured out what pigments and compounds were used in ancient Egypt by looking at the residue on these vessels.
All Classes Wore Makeup
Everyone in ancient Egyptian society thought wearing makeup was important to their overall look.
People from many different races, classes, and social groups wore makeup. The only thing that set men’s makeup apart from women’s was how complicated it was.
Men’s makeup was usually light and easy to put on, while women’s makeup was often heavier and took more time.
Ancient Egyptian women paid more attention and care to how they took care of their skin and what they chose to put on their bodies as makeup.
Even the dead had some makeup on. It is common to put makeup on a dead person’s body before mummifying them so their appearance will still look good in the afterlife.
The most recent archeological evidence shows that cosmetics were often put on statues of gods and other mythical figures.
But the kinds of things a person used in their makeup routine showed a lot about their social status.
For example, members of the nobility and the royal family could buy expensive cosmetics like lead, bronze brushes, and kohl. Still, the peasants used materials that were cheaper and easier to find. Red clay was one of these things.
Kohl Eyeliner Was More Expensive, And Usually, Only The Wealthy Could Afford It
In ancient Egypt, men and women applied kohl to their upper lips. Even though it defined and complemented their eyes, they used kohl to highlight several features.
Historians think that some cultural reasons for wearing kohl included showing respect to deities, lessening the sun’s glare, and even keeping one’s cleanliness in check.
Although Egyptians of all socioeconomic statuses wore kohl, many lower-class people were forced to use lead or other minerals instead of fire soot as eyeliner. This was because kohl eyeliner was more expensive and typically could only be afforded by the wealthy.
Most Houses Had Jars And Pots To Make Makeup
Ancient Egyptians used a wide range of pigments and chemicals. Most of what we know about how their makeup changed over time comes from the many artifacts linked to these pigments and chemicals.
Ancient Egyptian cosmetics would have included, among other things, jars for kohl, stones for grinding minerals like azurite into powder, thin tools for applying makeup, jars made of alabaster for ointments, and a makeup spoon.
Containers for cosmetics were some of the first things found in ancient Egypt. They were also used in art as early as the First Dynasty. Jars made of granite, basalt, alabaster, and even ivory have been found in places like Saqqara.
Henna Was Very Popular
Cleopatra and other ancient Egyptians used henna as nail polish when it was first made. Henna was put on their fingernails, and it not only gave them color but also kept them healthy and safe.
Ancient Egyptians thought that putting on makeup was religiously important. Ancient Egyptians used cosmetics often because they thought doing so would protect them from the bad energy of bad gods and evil spirits.
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