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Guthy Renker Corporation

Beauty Products Across the Ages

With all the billions of dollars spent per year worldwide on skin care products, often we might catch ourselves asking, How did it get to this ? When did this become the standard for me to awaken each morning and before I even go out the door have to paint my face from completely? Surely a lady way back in the past did not all of a sudden wake up one morning and decide to apply eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, base, and blush all at once. No, it was, like many things, a culmination of events from history.

Remember the Egyptians? That was over four millenia ago. Good hygeine and appearance were terribly critical to the people of Egypt. They believed the appearance was in direct link with the constitution of the soul. They strived to constantly look and smell good. And with a civilization who values their looks, they are inevitably going to have humans who are going to try and stand out. The Egyptians, being the inventive culture they were, had cosmetics for reasons that were even more intelligent than just attempting to look good.

A mixture of lead ore and copper known as Mesdemet was the earliest kind of eye shadow. The dark colors they thought would ward off evil eyes from their own. It was also an efficient cleaner and bug repellent. Kohl was a dark mixture that was put on 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 substance named henna.

Success was often measured by a person's pale skin tone. A person was not obligated to labor if they had enough wealth. So a white skin hue was very serious to some members of society. To get this look, women (and men as well) would use a mixture of hydroxide, lead oxide, and carbonate in a powder form to paint their faces and bodies. Unfortunately, this lead to a sometimes fatal side effect, lead poisoning.To cure this problem, chemists in the nineteenth century at last discovered a mixture of zinc oxide that made the skin able to breathe and kept people out of that aggravating lead poisoning sickness. It worked so well that it is still practiced today by cosmetics manufacturers.

As time moved on and cultures were exposed to each other more often, the Greeks began to learn more of the many habits of the Egyptians way with cosmetics. They would give themselves a pale hue with a foundation that had lead inside. More than once this ended up being fatal. As the Romans began to adopt the make-up habits, the effort to achieve beauty became less about practicality and turned into much more peculiar routes. The Romans would paint their nails with a mixture of sheeps blood and cooked body fat. An ancient Roman citizen once stated, A woman without paint is like food without salt.

Centuries after the Egyptian empire faded, the fashion norm across the world was a white complexion. Only women who were low-class and had to labor out in the field all day with their husbands had rough, sun dired skin. The upper echelon women of course did not participate in manual work like that therefore they were able to stay under the roof and had light faces.

Exttravagant and exotic parties were hosted by city women with disposable wealth in the Edwardian era of England. It was extremely important for a woman to be the most beautiful lady there, especially if they were the hostess of the function. Women in the past who experienced these excessive lifestyles did not eat well, would not work out, and breathed in the heavily polluted air that the cities of the past produced. Anti-aging and facial creams to disguise the blemishes were heavily relied upon by women in this time. They would also travel to the beauty salon. It was a little different in the past than it is in the present. Ladies would sneak into the back of the salons and cover their faces as they went in. One of the most famous of these discreet beauty parlors was the House of Cyclax, that would sell foams and rouges to ladies. Mrs. Henning, who was the owner, sold and came out with many products for her frenzied customers who did not want anybody to know that they were getting older.

Today's woman is the benefactor of years of experience with a virtually unlimited choice of beauty products for any look they want to achieve. The cosmetics business has become a billion dollar industry with literally thousands of competing companies. Cosmetic products sell year round and even in times of depression. So ladies, give thanks to your ancestors and their concern for their personal appearance for yours that you have today. There were possibly days when they woke up and didn’t really want to go through the hassle of putting on their face either.

Guthy Renker Corporation

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