All About Historical Makeup

woman in white dress standing beside lighted torch

Makeup remains a fascinating part of human culture. Today, we have the convenience of heading to Sephora to pick up our favorite waterproof eyeliner, but it has sometimes been different. Historical makeup involved things like crushed bugs. It often served a purpose, like how kohl eyeliner was used to help with the sun’s glare.

Ancient Civilizations

Makeup dates back to ancient civilizations like Egypt. Men and women frequently wore makeup in these cultures. Henna was used to give the cheeks and lips a pop of color. Kohl was worn around the eyes. Ancient Egyptians believed the kohl, made from crushed minerals, could easily ward off evil spirits, and it helped them deal with the sun’s harsh rays.

Ancient Greece

Cosmetics were popular in Greece and Rome as well. However, these historical cosmetics were a way to symbolize status. They often marked beauty. People would use anything they could, including crocodile dung, ashes, and crushed bugs. These things were used to achieve the ideal beauty standard. For example, these civilizations would use ash to make their skin appear lighter and various things for perfume.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, people began to quit wearing as much makeup or started wearing it in secret. The church began to have more power, and this organization often looked down on people wearing makeup. Sometimes, women would wear blush if they could wear it in secret. Many people started using bloodletting to have pale skin without using cosmetics. This lasted until around the 15th century.


During the Renaissance, people valued beauty more than in previous years. Historical makeup increased in popularity. Cosmetics became readily available. Both men and women wanted pale skin and a rounded face, considered the most beautiful at the time. Products like lip tints and perfume were trendy around this period. Men and women no longer hid their desire to wear cosmetics like they did in previous years.

18th And 19th

During these centuries, famous figures like Queen Victoria made the minimalist makeup look popular. Today, we call it the “no makeup” makeup look. Wigs were crafted to look like natural hair, even if they were large and clearly not realistic. Pale skin remained popular. The theme was simplicity.

Like many people today, historical makeup was traditionally used to achieve a certain aesthetic appeal. Now, we use cosmetics for everything from achieving a desired look to expressing creativity. Browse the rest of the website for more awesome information.

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