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Guthy Renker Corporation

Beauty Products Across the Centuries

With all the billions of dollars spent annually globally on beauty products, sometimes we may find ourselves asking, How did it get to this point? When did it become the par for me to have to wake up every morning and before I even leave feel obligated to paint my face from completely? It is certain a woman way back in old times did not just wake up one day and decide to apply eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, base, and rouge all at once. As you might have guessed, it was a combination of thousands of years and a lot of mistakes.

The Egyptians were the first to use cosmetics. That was four thousand years ago. Good hygeine and looks were very important to the Egyptians. Egyptians had faith that the appearance had a direct connection with the constitution of the soul. They tried to always look and smell pleasant. And with a culture who values their appearance, they are assuredly going to have humans who are going to attempt to stand out. But the Egyptians, being the inventive society they were, implemented cosmetics for reasons that were even smarter than just trying to look great.

Mesdemet was the most original type of eye shadow- a substance made of copper with lead ore. The dark hues they thought would ward off evil eyes from their own. It was also a great disinfectant and insect repellent. Kohl was a dark mixture that was applied around the eyes in an oval shape. Kohl was a mixture of lead, ash, ochre, copper, and burnt almonds. A combination of red clay and water was added to the cheeks to further enhance their appearance. They would also paint their nails shades of orange and yellow with a chemical named henna.

Success was often measured by a person's light complexion. A person was not obligated to labor if they had enough wealth. So a light skin tone was extremely serious to some people. To achieve this appearance, ladies (and men also) would apply a combination of hydroxide, lead oxide, and carbonate in a powder form to put on their faces and bodies. Unfortunately, this lead to a sometimes lethal side effect, lead poisoning.To remedy this problem, chemists in the nineteenth century at last invented a mixture of zinc oxide that made the skin able to breathe and kept people out of that irritating lead poisoning death. It worked so well that it is still practiced today by cosmetics makers.

A light skin tone was the style around the world after the Egyptian civilization faded. Only women who were impoverished and had to work out in the field all day with their husbands had rough, sun dired skin. The upper echelon women of course did not have to do hard labor like that therefore they stayed inside and had pale faces.

As time past and civilizations mixed with each other more often, the Grecian people began to learn more of the various practices of the Egyptians use of cosmetics. They would give themselves a pale shade with a base that had lead in it. On more than one occasion this ended up being deadly. As the Romans began to adapt the cosmetics practice, the effort to achieve beauty became much less about practicality and took a turn into much more exotic routes. They would adorn their nails with a combination of sheeps blood and heated body fat. An old Roman man once stated, A woman without paint is like food without salt.

In the Edwardian era of London, about the time of the turn of the century of 1900, society women with a recreational income would have lavishextravagant parties and do a lot of entertaining to exhibit their wealth. It was extremely important for a woman to be the most attractive lady there, especially if they were the hostess of the gathering. City and ritzy lifestyles with factors like dirty air produced by the cities at that time, poor diets, and very little or no exercise aged the women quickly. Women would need products like anti-aging foams and face creams to mask their blemishes. They would also go to the salon. It was a bit different back then than it is today. Women would go into the back entrance of the salons and cover their faces as they entered. One of the most famous of these discreet beauty parlors was the House of Cyclax, who would sell foams and rouges to ladies. Mrs. Henning, who was the owner, sold and created multiple products for her frenzied customers who did not want anybody to know that they were getting on in the years.

The modern day woman is the benefactor of all these years of mistakes with a virtually unlimited choice of beauty products for any look they want to get. There are thousands of companies who create products in this now billion dollar yearly industry. Cosmetic products sell all year and even in times of financial hardship. So ladies, give thanks to your ancestors and their concern for their personal looks for your own that you have nowadays. There were probably mornings when they woke up and didn’t really feel like going through the hassle of applying their face either.

Guthy Renker Corporation

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