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Guthy Renker Corporation

Make-up Across the Ages

With all the billions of dollars spent yearly globally on skin care products, sometimes we may find ourselves questioning, How did it get to this ? When did it become the par for me to wake up each morning and before I even go outside am required to paint my face from top to bottom? Certainly a lady way back in history did not simply wake up one day and make the decision to apply eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, foundation, and blush all at once. No, it was, like many things, a building up of happenings from history.

The Egyptians were the first to use cosmetics. That was four thousand years ago. Good hygeine and appearance were terribly vital to the people of Egypt. They believed the appearance was in direct link with the constitution of the soul. They strived to always look and smell agreeable. And with a society who values their appearance, societies are assuredly going to have humans who are going to attempt to stand out. The Egyptians, being the innovative civilization they were, used cosmetics for reasons that were even smarter than just attempting to look great.

A mixture of lead ore and copper called Mesdemet was the origin of eye shadow. The dark shades they believed would avert evil eyes from their own. It was also an effective cleaner and bug deterrent. 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. To further boost their appearance, Egyptians would put a mixture of water and red clay to the cheek area. They would also paint their fingernails hues of orange and yellow with a substance named henna.

A pale skin tone was the style around the world after the Egyptian empire disappeared. Only women who were impoverished and had to labor out in the field all day with their husbands had dark, tanned skin. The upper society ladies obviously did not have to endure physical labor like that therefore they remained under the roof and had pale complexions.

As different groups of people started to interact with each other more often, the art of cosmetics was adopted by the Greeks from the Egyptians. They would color themselves a pale shade with a foundation that contained lead inside. More than once this ended up being deadly. As the Romans began to pick up the make-up practice, the pursuit of beauty became much less about practicality and turned into much more unusual routes. They would decorate their nails with a mixture of sheeps blood and heated body fat. An old Roman man once stated, A woman without paint is like food without salt.

A light, pale skin color was also a sign of abundance. A person did not have to work if they had enough wealth. So a light skin tone was extremely serious to some members of society. To achieve this look, women (and men too) would use a combination of hydroxide, lead oxide, and carbonate in a powdered form to put on their faces and skin. Unfortunately, this caused a sometimes deadly side effect, lead poisoning.To cure this problem, chemists in the nineteenth century finally created a combination of zinc oxide that made the skin able to breathe and kept people out of that annoying lead poisoning death. It worked so well that it is still used today by cosmetics makers.

Exttravagant and glamorous parties were held by urban women with disposable wealth in the Edwardian era of England. As hostesses of the party, it was important for them to be the most beautiful woman at the gathering, so it was extremely important for them to look the youngest they possibly could. Women in the past who lived these excessive lifestyles did not have good diets, would not exercise, 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 relied upon by women in this era. They would also go to the salon. It was a little different in the past than it is today. Ladies would sneak 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 created many products for her frenzied consumers who did not want anyone to know that they were getting older.

Today's woman is the benefactor of years of trial and error with a virtually unlimited choice of beauty products for any look they want to accomplish. There are thousands of companies who have products in this now billion dollar annually industry. Beauty products sell year round and even in times of financial hardship. Therefore ladies, thank your ancestors and their concern for their personal appearance 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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