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Guthy Renker Corporation


Beauty Products Through the Ages


With all the billions of dollars spent per year globally on beauty products, often we might catch ourselves asking, How did it get to this ? When did it become the rule for me to awaken each morning and before I even go out the door feel obligated to paint my face from completely? Certainly a female way back in history did not just wake up one day and make the decision to put on eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, foundation, and rouge all at once. As you might have guessed, it was a combination of thousands of years and a lot of mistakes.

Remember the Egyptians? That was over four thousand years ago. Cleanliness and looks were very critical to the people of Egypt. They had the belief that the appearance was in direct juncture with the well being of the soul. They attempted to always appear neat and smell good. And with a civilization who values their appearance, societies are assuredly going to have humans who are going to make themselves stand out. But the Egyptians, being the cutting edge civilization they were, used cosmetics for reasons that were even smarter than just trying to look great.

Mesdemet was the earliest kind of eye shadow- a combination of copper with lead ore. The dark shades they thought would ward off evil eyes from their own. It was also a great cleaner and bug deterrent. Kohl was a dark powder that was put on around the eyes in an oval shape. Kohl was a mixture 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 nails shades of orange and yellow with a substance called henna.

For centuries after the Egyptian empire crumbled, the fashion standard across the world was a light skin color. Only women who were impoverished and had to labor out in the field all day with their husbands had rough, sun dired skin. The upper class women obviously did not participate in physical labor like that therefore they stayed out of the sun and had white faces.

As cultures started to interact with each other more often, the practice of make-up was adopted by the Greeks from the Egyptians. Greek women would give themselves a pale color with a base that had lead inside. More than once this proved to be lethal. As the Romans started to pick up the cosmetics habits, the effort to achieve beauty became less about functionability and turned into much more peculiar routes. They would adorn their nails with a mixture of sheeps blood and cooked body fat. An ancient Roman man once stated, A woman without paint is like food without salt.

A white, pale skin color was also a symbol of money. If people had enough riches, then you did not have to labor. So a light skin color was extremely critical to some members of society. To get this look, ladies (and men too) would use a mixture of hydroxide, lead oxide, and carbonate in a powdered form to put on their faces and bodies. Unfortunately, this lead to a sometimes deadly side effect, lead poisoning.To cure this problem, chemists in the early nineteen hundreds finally discovered a combination of zinc oxide that made the skin able to breathe and kept people out of that irritating lead poisoning death. It worked so well that it is still used today by cosmetics makers.

In the era of King Edward of London, about the time of the change of the century of 1900, society women with a recreational income would throw lavishextravagant get togethers and do a bunch of entertaining to show off their wealth. As hostesses of the function, it was important for them to be the best looking woman at the event, so it was extremely important for them to look the youngest they possibly could. Women at that time who lived these extravagant lifestyles did not have good diets, would not work out, and breathed in the heavily polluted air that the cities of the past produced. Women would rely on products like anti-aging creams and face creams to mask their imperfections. Routine ventures to the salon were also a normal part of the day. It was a bit different back then than it is today. Ladies would sneak into the back of the salons and hide their faces as they went in. One of the most famous of these discreet beauty salons was the House of Cyclax, who would sell creams and blushes to women. Mrs. Henning, the owner, sold and created many products for her frantic customers who did not want anybody to know that they were getting on in the years.

Today's woman is the benefactor of years of experience with a virtually unlimited choice of products for any look they want to get. The beauty product business has become a billion dollar industry with literally thousands of competing companies. Beauty products sell all year and even in times of depression. So ladies, thank your ancestors and their concern for their personal looks for yours that you have today. They probably didn't feel like putting on their face some mornings either.



Guthy Renker Corporation


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