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Guthy Renker Corporation

Skin Products Across the Ages

How did we as a people arrive at the point where we spend billions every year on cosmetics and it became the social standard for women to wear cosmetics everyday It is certain a female way back in old times did not simply wake up one day and make the decision to put on eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, foundation, and blush all at once. No, it was, like many things, a building up of events from ages past.

The Egyptians were the first to use cosmetics. That was over four thousand years ago. Good hygeine and looks were very critical to the Egyptians. The Egyptians had faith that the appearance was in direct connection with the well being of the spirit. They attempted to constantly look and smell pleasant. And with a society who values their looks, societies are invariably going to have people who are going to make themselves stand out. But the Egyptians, being the inventive people they were, had cosmetics for reasons that were even more intelligent than just attempting to look good.

Mesdemet was the earliest kind of eye shadow- a mixture of copper and lead ore. The dark shades they believed would ward off evil eyes from their own. It was also an effective cleaner and bug repellent. Kohl was a dark combination that was also applied around the eyes in an oval shape. It was a mixture of lead, ash, ochre, copper, and burnt almonds. To further enhance their appearance, Egyptians would apply a combination of water and red clay to the cheek area. They would also paint their fingernails shades of orange and yellow with a substance named henna.

A white, pale skin color was also a symbol of abundance. If you had enough money, then you did not have to do anything. So it was extremely important for some members of society to have a white complexion. To get this look, ladies (and men too) would apply a combination of hydroxide, lead oxide, and carbonate in a powder form to apply to their faces and skin. Unfortunately, this caused a sometimes lethal side effect, lead poisoning.To cure this problem, chemists in the early nineteen hundreds at last invented 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.

A white skin tone was the style around the world after the Egyptian empire faded. A tanned, dehydrated face was associated with being a pleb who worked out in the field all day alongside her man. The upper class ladies obviously did not have to endure physical labor like that therefore they were able to stay inside and had light complexions.

As time moved on and cultures mixed with each other more and more, the Greeks began to pick up on the multiple habits of the Egyptians way with cosmetics. They would color themselves a pale color with a base that had lead in it. More than once this ended up being deadly. As the Romans started to adopt the cosmetics habits, the pursuit of beauty became much less about functionability and took a turn into much more unusual routes. They would decorate their nails with a combination of sheeps blood and cooked body fat. An ancient Roman citizen once said, A woman without paint is like food without salt.

In the era of King Edward of London, about the time of the change of the century of 1900, women with a disposable income would host swanky get togethers and do a bunch of entertaining to exhibit their wealth. It was extremely important for a woman to be the most attractive lady there, especially if they were the hostess of the gathering. Women at that time who underwent these extravagant lifestyles did not eat well, would not exercise, and breathed in the heavily polluted air that the cities of the time produced. Anti-aging and facial creams to disguise the blemishes were heavily relied upon by women in this time. Regular 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 go into the back of the salons and hide their faces as they went in. One of the most famous of these secret beauty houses was the House of Cyclax, who would sell foams and rouges to ladies. Mrs. Henning, the owner, sold and came out with many products for her frantic consumers who did not want everybody to know that they were getting on in the years.

The modern day woman is the benefactor of all these years of experience with a virtually infinite choice of beauty products for any look they want to achieve. The make-up business has become a billion dollar industry with literally thousands of competing companies. Skin Care products sell year round and even in times of depression. So ladies, thank your ancestors and their concern for their own appearance for your own that you have nowadays. There were probably days when they woke up and didn’t really feel like going through the hassle of putting on their face either.

Guthy Renker Corporation

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