5 Fun Facts about Makeup History
Are you a beauty lover?
Do you love makeup?
Have you ever thought about the history of makeup?
Makeup has existed for centuries, and its history is filled with interesting facts. Here are four fun facts about makeup history that will be sure to surprise you:
1. Makeup first became popular in Egypt.
The ancient Egyptians used copper and lead to create green and black eye shadows. They also used red ochre to make a lipstick-type product and kohl as eyeliner. This is a look that still continues today, with the use of black kohl rimming the eyes and a red lipstick.
The Egyptians are usually credited with first using cosmetics, around 4000 BC. The word "cosmetics" itself is derived from the Greek word kosmetikos, meaning skilled in adornment, or to decorate.
The ancient Egyptians and Greeks used cosmetics, but to a lesser extent than the Etruscans and Romans.
Makeup was widely used by both men and women throughout ancient Egypt, although women did not use as much as they did in later periods such as the Byzantine era. They used their makeup to enhance their beauty, but also for protection against the sun's rays. For example, many Egyptian women darkened their eyes with kohl eyeliner to protect them from the desert sun. Some even went so far as to use lead paint on their faces, which would have been extremely harmful to their health.
2. Queen Elizabeth I of England was known for her signature pale white face, red hair and red lips.
She achieved this look by using a toxic mixture known as Venetian Ceruse, which was created with a base of white lead and vinegar. The most common recipe for this concoction called for "one ounce of white lead, one drachm of powdered alkermes and one ounce of rosewater." Alkermes is a toxic dye that actually contains arsenic, which is known to cause cancer.
While many people associate Venetian Ceruse with Queen Elizabeth I herself, it was actually used by both men and women alike in the 16th century. Although it's become popularized as the "Queen Elizabeth I look," history shows that men used it just as much as women did. In fact, Venetian Ceruse was so popular during the Renaissance period that it became an almost-daily ritual for both genders.
The idea behind wearing Venetian Ceruse was to mimic the appearance of a porcelain doll — pale skin, rosy cheeks and shiny red lips. As noted by The Guardian, there is speculation that the lead in Venetian Ceruse was also intended to cover up syphilis sores.
3. The American Civil War greatly influenced the makeup industry.
Many women were saddened by their husbands leaving for war, so they started wearing black armbands on their arms or around their necks as a sign of mourning. Cosmetics companies saw that women were wearing these dark colors and decided to create new colors for their products so women could achieve more colorful looks when they wanted. This is how companies like Cover Girl, Revlon and L'Oreal came to be.
While the makeup industry was growing, so was the fashion industry. As time progressed, it became more acceptable for women to wear makeup in public. With this new found freedom, many women began experimenting with different looks using the new cosmetics available to them.
Max Factor, who worked in a cosmetics company before opening his own salon, used his knowledge of chemicals to invent mascara in 1914. He developed a cream that was applied with a brush and then set with powder. This method made the lashes appear longer and thicker without looking unnatural or heavy.
4. In the early 1900s,
a company called Guerlain introduced lipstick in tubular form - the type we use today - which was named Rouge Automatique (Automatic Red). Its sleek packaging helped it become a global sensation, as it could be slipped into a handbag without making too much of a mess.
World War II brought rationing, and cosmetics were considered nonessential items. Nevertheless, some women turned to bright red lipstick as a sign of defiance. It was also used to boost morale among the armed forces - in 1941 the US government asked all women to stop wearing makeup so that more could be sent to soldiers stationed overseas.
In the 1950s and 60s Marilyn Monroe's dark red lips and cat eye flick were de rigueur for most women. But by the 1970s it was all about brown shades and natural looks.
Today there are hundreds of shades of lipstick on offer, from traditional reds to fluorescent pinks.
5. "Lipstick" earned its name from the fact that it was originally made from crushed up bugs!
Yeah, that's right. People used bugs called cochineal beetles to create bright red pigment for their lips - yuck! Thankfully modern lipsticks are made without bug extract anymore, so you can enjoy your favorite shades without worrying about any creepy crawlies in them.
Lipstick has been around for thousands of years, and is one of the oldest types of makeup still used today. Originally lipstick was used by both men and women, but eventually came to be viewed as a women's product in the Victorian Era. In that time period, lipstick was actually seen as dangerous and somewhat immoral. This is why we see ads for lipstick during that time period with "evil" imagery like snakes, demons and even devils on them. The more glamorous Hollywood starlets were wearing lipstick however, the less taboo it became, until it became a staple of women's beauty routines everywhere.