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Guthy Renker Corporation

Skin Products Throughout History

How did we as humans get to the point where we spend billions every year on cosmetics and it became the social norm for women to wear cosmetics everyday Assuredly a female way back in the past did not simply wake up one day and make the decision to apply eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, base, and blush all at once. No, it was, like many things, a culmination of things from ages past.

The Egyptians were the first to use cosmetics. That was over four thousand years ago. Good hygeine and looks were extremely critical to the Egyptians. They had faith that the appearance had a direct juncture with the health of the soul. They strived to always appear neat and smell agreeable. And with a culture who values their appearance, they are invariably going to have humans who are going to attempt to stand out. The Egyptians, being the innovative people they were, implemented cosmetics for reasons that were even more practical than just attempting to look great.

A mixture of lead ore and copper known as Mesdemet was the origin of eye shadow. The dark hues they believed would ward off evil eyes from their own. It was also an effective disinfectant and bug deterrent. Kohl was a dark powder 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 complement their appearance, they would apply a mixture of water and red clay to the cheek area. They would also paint their fingernails hues of orange and yellow with a chemical named henna.

Many years after the Egyptian empire crumbled, the fashion standard around 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 ladies obviously did not participate in physical work like that therefore they stayed out of the sun and had white complexions.

A light, pale skin color was also a sign of money. A person did not have to work if they had enough wealth. So a white skin hue was extremely critical to some members of society. 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 bodies. Unfortunately, this caused a sometimes deadly side effect, lead poisoning.To remedy this, chemists in the nineteenth century at last created a mixture 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 practiced today by cosmetics producers.

As time moved along and cultures mixed with each other more often, the Greeks began to pick up on the many habits of the Egyptians use of cosmetics. They would color themselves a pale shade with a base that contained lead in it. This proved lethal more than once. As the Romans began to adopt the cosmetics practice, the effort to achieve beauty became much less about functionability and took a turn into much more peculiar routes. They would paint their nails with a combination of sheeps blood and cooked 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, about the time of the change of the century of 1900, women with a recreational income would throw swanky soirees and do a lot of entertaining to display their wealth. As hostesses of the shindig, it was important for them to be the most beautiful woman at the gathering, so it was very important for them to look the youngest they possibly could. City and excessive lifestyles with factors like dirty air produced by the cities at that time, unhealthy diets, and very little or no exercise aged the women quickly. Women would need products like anti-aging creams and face creams to help hide their imperfections. Routine trips to the salon were also a normal part of the day. It was a little different back then than it is today. Women 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 foams and rouges to women. Mrs. Henning, the owner, sold and invented multiple products for her desperate consumers who did not want everybody to know that they were getting on in the years.

The modern day woman is the benefactor of years of experience with a practically unlimited choice of products for any look they want to achieve. There are thousands of companies who have products in this now billion dollar yearly industry. Skin Care products sell year round and even in times of financial hardship. So ladies, give thanks to your ancestors and their concern for their personal appearance for yours that you have nowadays. There were possibly 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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