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Guthy Renker Corporation

Make-up Throughout the Centuries

With all the billions of dollars spent yearly worldwide on beauty products, often we may find ourselves asking, How did it get to this ? When did it become the norm for me to awaken every morning and before I even leave am required to paint my face from top to bottom? 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, base, and blush all at the same time. As you probably guessed, it was a combination of thousands of years and a lot of errors.

The Egyptians were the first to use cosmetics. That was four thousand years ago. Good hygeine and appearance were terribly vital to the Egyptians. Egyptians believed the appearance was in direct link with the health of the spirit. They strived to always look and smell agreeable. And with a civilization who values their looks, societies are inevitably going to have members who are going to make themselves stand out. But the Egyptians, being the innovative society they were, had cosmetics for reasons that were even more practical 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 hues they thought would avert evil eyes from their own. It was also a great sterilizer and bug repellent. Kohl was a dark mixture that was put on 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 cheekbone area to further enhance their appearance. They would also paint their fingernails hues of orange and yellow with a chemical known as henna.

Success was often measured by a person's light skin tone. If families had enough riches, then you did not have to labor. So it was very important for some people to have a light complexion. To achieve this look, ladies (and men too) would apply a combination of hydroxide, lead oxide, and carbonate in a powder form to put on their faces and skin. Unfortunately, this lead to a sometimes deadly side effect, lead poisoning.To cure this problem, chemists in the early nineteen hundreds at last invented a mixture of zinc oxide that did not block the skin from being able to breathe and kept people out of that aggravating lead poisoning death. It was so effective that it is still practiced today by cosmetics makers.

A pale complexion was the fashion 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 work like that so they stayed out of the sun and had light complexions.

As time moved on and cultures were exposed to each other more and more, the Greeks began to pick up on the various practices of the Egyptians way with cosmetics. Greek women would color themselves a pale shade with a base that had lead inside. This proved lethal more than once. As the Romans began to pick up the cosmetics practice, the pursuit of beauty became less about functionability and took a turn into much more exotic routes. They would adorn their nails with a mixture of sheeps blood and cooked body fat. An old Roman citizen once said, A woman without paint is like food without salt.

Exttravagant and glamorous parties were held by urban women with throw away incomes in the Edwardian era of London. As hostesses of the party, it was necessary 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 eat nutritiously, 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 era. They would also travel to the beauty salon. It was a little different back then than it is in the present. Women would go into the back entrance of the salons and cover their faces as they entered. One of the most famous of these discreet beauty salons was the House of Cyclax, that would sell foams and blushes to ladies. Mrs. Henning, the owner, sold and created multiple products for her frantic consumers who did not want everybody to know that they were getting older.

Today's woman is the benefactor of years of mistakes with a virtually infinite choice of beauty products for any look they want to accomplish. The cosmetics business has become a billion dollar industry with literally thousands of competing companies. Skin Care products sell all year 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 today. They probably didn't want to put on their face some mornings either.

Guthy Renker Corporation

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