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Guthy Renker Corporation

Skin Products Through Time

How did we as people arrive at the point where we spend billions every year on cosmetics and it became the social norm for women to wear make-up everyday It is certain a female way back in the past did not all of a sudden 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 a lot of errors.

Remember the Egyptians? That was over four millenia ago. Good hygeine and looks were terribly vital to the people of Egypt. The Egyptians believed the appearance was in direct juncture with the well being of the soul. They attempted to always look and smell agreeable. And with a civilization who values their looks, you are assuredly going to have people who are going to attempt to stand out. The Egyptians, being the cutting edge civilization they were, had cosmetics for reasons that were even smarter than just attempting to look great.

A combination of lead ore and copper called Mesdemet was the origin of eye shadow. The dark colors they believed would ward off evil eyes from their own. It was also a great cleaner and insect repellent. Kohl was a dark combination that was applied around the eyes in an oval shape. The substance was a combination of lead, ash, ochre, copper, and burnt almonds. A mixture 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 known as henna.

A light, pale skin color was also a sign of prosperity. If people had enough wealth, then you did not have to work. So a white skin tone was very important to some people. To achieve this look, ladies (and men too) would use a mixture of hydroxide, lead oxide, and carbonate in a powder form to put on their faces and skin. Unfortunately, this lead to a sometimes fatal side effect, lead poisoning.To remedy this, 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 sickness. It was so effective that it is still used today by cosmetics manufacturers.

As civilizations began to interact with each other more often, the art of make-up was adapted by the Greeks from the Egyptians. They would color themselves a pale color with a base that contained lead inside. This ended up being fatal on more than one occasion. As the Romans began to adopt the cosmetics practice, the pursuit of beauty became much less about functionability and took a turn into much more peculiar routes. The Romans would paint their nails with a combination of sheeps blood and heated body fat. An ancient Roman citizen once said, A woman without paint is like food without salt.

For centuries after the Egyptian empire crumbled, the fashion standard across the world was a white complexion. Only women who were low-class and had to work out in the field all day with their husbands had dark, tanned skin. The upper society women of course did not have to do manual work like that so they remained under the roof and had pale faces.

Lavish and exotic parties were thrown by urban women with throw away incomes in the Edwardian era of London. As hostesses of the function, it was critical for them to be the most beautiful woman at the event, so it was very important for them to look as youthful as they possibly could. City and exotic lifestyles with factors like polluted air produced by the cities at that time, bad diets, and little or no exercise aged the women quickly. They would rely on products like anti-aging creams and face creams to mask their blemishes. Regular trips to the salon were also a normal part of the day. It was a bit different in the past than it is in the present. Ladies would go into the back of the salons and hide their faces as they entered. One of the most famous of these discreet beauty parlors was the House of Cyclax, who would sell creams and blushes to women. Mrs. Henning, the owner, sold and invented many products for her frenzied customers who did not want everybody to know that they were getting older.

The modern day woman is the benefactor of years of trial and error with a virtually never ending choice of beauty products for any look they want to accomplish. The beauty product business has become a billion dollar industry with literally thousands of competing companies. Skin Care products sell year round and even in times of recession. So ladies, give thanks to your ancestors and their concern for their personal appearance for yours that you have nowadays. There were probably days 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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