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Guthy Renker Corporation

Beauty Products Across History

With all the billions of dollars spent annually globally on skin care products, sometimes we may catch ourselves asking, How did it get to this point? When did this become the par for me to awaken every morning and before I even go out the door feel obligated to paint my face from completely? Surely a female way back in history did not all of a sudden wake up one morning and decide to put on eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, base, and blush all at the same time. No, it was, like many things, a combination of events from ages past.

Do you remember the Egyptians? That was over four thousand years ago. Good hygeine and looks were very vital to the Egyptians. The Egyptians had the belief that the appearance was in direct juncture with the health of the spirit. They tried to always look and smell pleasant. And with a culture who values their looks, they are assuredly going to have people who are going to attempt to stand out. But the Egyptians, being the cutting edge civilization they were, used cosmetics for reasons that were even more intelligent than just attempting to look great.

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

Prosperity was often measured by a person's light skin tone. If you had enough wealth, then you did not have to labor. So it was very important for some people to have a white complexion. To get this look, ladies (and men as well) would use a combination of hydroxide, lead oxide, and carbonate in a powder form to apply to their faces and bodies. Unfortunately, this lead to a sometimes fatal side effect, lead poisoning.To cure this, chemists in the nineteenth century finally found a combination of zinc oxide that made the skin able to breathe and kept people out of that irritating lead poisoning sickness. It was so effective that it is still practiced today by cosmetics manufacturers.

A pale skin tone was the style around the world after the Egyptian empire faded. A tanned, rough face was associated with being a commoner who worked out outside all day beside her husband. The upper class ladies of course did not have to do manual work like that so they stayed under the roof and had pale complexions.

As time moved along and cultures mixed with each other more and more, the Greeks began to pick up on the multiple practices of the Egyptians way with cosmetics. Greek women would give themselves a pale shade with a base that contained lead in it. This ended up being lethal on more than one occasion. As the Romans started to adopt the make-up habits, the effort to achieve beauty became less about practicality and took a turn into much more unusual routes. The Romans would adorn their nails with a combination of sheeps blood and heated body fat. An old Roman citizen once said, A woman without paint is like food without salt.

Exttravagant and exotic parties were thrown by city women with throw away money 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 gathering. Women in the past who lived these extravagant lifestyles did not eat well, would not exercise, and inhaled the heavily polluted air that the cities of the past produced. They would rely on products like anti-aging foams and face creams to help hide their imperfections. They would also go to the salon. It was a bit different in the past than it is in the present. Ladies would go into the back of the salons and cover their faces as they went in. One of the most famous of these secret beauty houses was the House of Cyclax, that would sell creams and blushes to ladies. Mrs. Henning, who was the owner, sold and came out with many products for her frantic customers who did not want anyone to know that they were getting on in the years.

Today's woman is the benefactor of years of experience with a practically infinite choice of products for any look they want to accomplish. There are thousands of manufacturers who have products in this now billion dollar yearly industry. Beauty products sell all year and even in times of depression. Therefore ladies, give thanks to your ancestors and their concern for their own looks for your own that you have nowadays. They probably didn't feel like putting on their face some mornings either.

Guthy Renker Corporation

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