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Guthy Renker Corporation

Skin Products Through History

How did we as people arrive at the point where we spend billions of dollars annually on cosmetics and it became the social norm for women to wear make-up everyday It is certain a lady way back in history did not simply wake up one morning and make the decision to apply eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, foundation, and blush all at once. As you might have guessed, it was a combination of thousands of years and lots of mistakes.

The Egyptians were the first to use cosmetics. That was over four thousand years ago. Good hygeine and appearance were very critical to the Egyptians. Egyptians had faith that the appearance had a direct link with the well being of the spirit. They attempted to constantly appear neat and smell pleasant. And with a society who values their looks, societies are inevitably going to have people who are going to make themselves stand out. The Egyptians, being the innovative culture they were, used cosmetics for reasons that were even smarter than just trying to look good.

A combination of lead ore and copper known as Mesdemet was the earliest kind of eye shadow. The dark colors they thought would avert evil eyes from their own. It was also a great cleaner and insect deterrent. Kohl was a dark mixture that was put on around the eyes in an oval shape. It was a mixture of lead, ash, ochre, copper, and burnt almonds. To further boost their appearance, Egyptians would put a combination of water and red clay to the cheekbone area. They would also paint their fingernails shades of orange and yellow with a substance called henna.

As time past and societies mixed with each other more often, the Greeks began to learn more of the many practices of the Egyptians way with cosmetics. They would give themselves a pale color with a foundation that contained lead inside. This ended up being lethal more than once. As the Romans began to adapt the make-up practice, the effort to achieve beauty became less about functionability and turned into much more peculiar routes. The Romans would paint their nails with a combination of sheeps blood and cooked body fat. An ancient Roman citizen once stated, A woman without paint is like food without salt.

Prosperity was often measured by a person's pale skin tone. If people had enough wealth, then you did not have to do anything. So it was extremely important for some people to have a white complexion. To achieve this look, ladies (and men as well) would apply a combination of hydroxide, lead oxide, and carbonate in a powdered form to paint their faces and bodies. Unfortunately, this lead to a sometimes lethal side effect, lead poisoning.To remedy this, chemists in the early nineteen hundreds finally found a combination of zinc oxide that made the skin able to breathe and kept people out of that aggravating lead poisoning sickness. It was so effective that it is still used today by cosmetics producers.

Many years after the Egyptian empire crumbled, the fashion norm across the world was a pale complexion. Only women who were poor 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 endure manual work like that so they stayed out of the sun and had pale complexions.

In the Edwardian era of London, about the time of the change of the century of 1900, society women with a recreational income would host lavishextravagant parties and do a bunch of entertaining to display their wealth. As hostesses of the function, it was necessary for them to be the most beautiful woman at the event, so it was terribly important for them to look the youngest they possibly could. Women in the past who lived 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 hide the imperfections were heavily depended upon by women in this era. Regular trips to the salon were also a regular part of the day. It was a bit different back then than it is today. Ladies would sneak into the back entrance of the salons and hide their faces as they entered. One of the most famous of these secret beauty houses was the House of Cyclax, who would sell creams and blushes to women. Mrs. Henning, who was the owner, sold and invented multiple products for her desperate customers who did not want anyone to know that they were getting older.

The modern day woman is the benefactor of years of trial and error with a practically unlimited choice of beauty products for any look they want to get. There are thousands of companies who produce products in this now billion dollar per year industry. Cosmetic products sell all year and even in times of financial hardship. Therefore ladies, thank your ancestors and their concern for their own looks for your own that you have today. There were probably days when they woke up and didn’t really want to go through the trouble of putting on their face either.

Guthy Renker Corporation

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