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Guthy Renker Corporation

Make-up Through the Centuries

With all the billions of dollars spent yearly across the world\in the world on beauty products, sometimes we may catch ourselves questioning, How did it get to this ? When did this become the standard for me to get up every morning and before I even go out the door have to paint my face from completely? Certainly a female way back in old times did not simply wake up one day and make the decision to apply eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, base, and rouge all at the same time. No, it was, like many things, a culmination of things from past times.

The Egyptians were the first to use cosmetics. That was over four millenia ago. Cleanliness and looks were extremely important to the Egyptians. They had faith that the appearance was in direct link with the constitution of the spirit. They attempted to constantly appear neat and smell agreeable. And with a civilization who values their appearance, societies are invariably going to have humans who are going to attempt to stand out. The Egyptians, being the cutting edge people they were, used cosmetics for reasons that were even more practical than just trying to look good.

A combination of lead ore and copper known as Mesdemet was the origin of eye shadow. The dark colors they believed would avert evil eyes from their own. It was also an efficient cleaner and insect repellent. Kohl was a dark powder that was put on around the eyes in an oval shape. It was a mixture of lead, ash, ochre, copper, and burnt almonds. To further boost their appearance, they would put a mixture of water and red clay to the cheek area. They would also paint their nails hues of orange and yellow with a substance known as henna.

A pale skin tone was the style around the world after the Egyptian empire disappeared. A dark, sun-dried face was associated with being a plebeian who worked out in the field all day alongside her husband. The upper echelon ladies obviously did not participate in manual labor like that therefore they remained out of the sun and had light complexions.

A light, pale skin color was also a symbol of money. If you had enough riches, then you did not have to work. So a light skin color was extremely critical to some people. To get this appearance, women (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 fatal side effect, lead poisoning.To remedy this, chemists in the early nineteen hundreds finally found a combination of zinc oxide that made the skin able to breathe and kept people out of that aggravating lead poisoning death. It worked so well that it is still used today by cosmetics manufacturers.

As time past and civilizations were exposed to each other more often, the Grecian people began to learn more of the many habits of the Egyptians way with cosmetics. Greek women would color themselves a pale color with a base that contained lead in it. On more than one occasion this ended up being fatal. As the Romans began to adapt the make-up habits, the pursuit of beauty became much less about practicality and turned into much more peculiar routes. They would decorate their nails with a mixture of sheeps blood and heated body fat. An old Roman citizen once said, A woman without paint is like food without salt.

In the era of King Edward of London, around the change of the century of 1900, women with a recreational income would throw swanky parties and do a bunch of entertaining to display their wealth. It was extremely important for a woman to be the most attractive lady there, especially if they were the hostess of the function. City and exotic lifestyles with factors like smoggy air produced by the cities at that time, unhealthy diets, and little or no exercise aged the women fast. Anti-aging and facial creams to disguise the imperfections were heavily depended upon by women in this time. Routine ventures to the salon were also a regular part of the day. It was a bit different in the past than it is today. Women would sneak into the back of the salons and cover their faces as they entered. One of the most famous of these secret beauty houses was the House of Cyclax, who would sell creams and rouges to ladies. Mrs. Henning, the owner, sold and created multiple products for her desperate consumers who did not want anybody to know that they were getting older.

The modern day woman is the benefactor of years of experience with a practically unlimited choice of beauty products for any look they want to get. There are literally thousands of manufacturers who produce products in this now billion dollar annually industry. Beauty products sell year round and even in times of recession. So ladies, thank your ancestors and their concern for their own 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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