Facts You Will Want To Know About Make-Up

  • The first use of the white face makeup that would later become the iconic “Geisha” makeup started in the Heian era (794-1185). It may have been influenced by similar makeup from China. It was made from rice powder mixed with water to form a paste, and then applied to the skin as a foundation.
  • As early as 10,000 BC people in Egypt were using scented oils to clean and maintain their skin, as well as prevent body odor and protect themselves from sun and wind. They used oils such as: Lavenders, chamomile, lilly, rosemary, rose, almond oil, myrrh, thyme, and peppermint. We don’t usually think of ancient cultures as being really into hygiene, cleanliness, and smelling awesome, but the Egyptians were clearly a very pleasant smelling people.
  • Around 3000 BC, Chinese Royalty and upper class citizens (both men and women) would use natural dyes to stain their fingernails bright colors, from gold to red or even black. Lower class people were not allowed to dye their nails.
  • The iconic swivelup lipstick tubes that we all know and love was invented in 1923 by a man named James Bruce Mason Jr, in Nashville, TN. Just another amazing thing America has brought to the modern world. You’re welcome.
  • Until the 16th centuryish, during the dark ages, the Christian Church banned the use of makeup, claiming it was used in satanic rituals and only for the lowest class of people, like prostitutes. Apparently, they skipped the part of the Bible where Jesus was friends with said prostitutes and said nothing about their makeup.
  • Too Faced cosmetics created the VERY FIRST glitter eyeshadow in 1998. Not to say that people hadn’t been dumping glitter on their eyes before then, but the first SAFE FOR EYES, specifically for eyes, glitter eyeshadow was all from Too Faced Cosmetics. Thank you guys!
  • In ancient Rome, a woman’s social status was conveyed by the makeup, clothing, and jewelry she wore (so, same as now). In fact, makeup was so important in Roman culture that philosopher Plautus once wrote “A women without paint is like food without salt.” Women would use Kohl on their eyes, chalk on their skin to make them seem whiter, as well as blush.
  • During the Middle Ages, women in Europe would paint their faces white, pluck their eyebrows (sometimes completely!) shave or pluck their hairlines higher, and use generous amounts of rouge. They also made lip balms by melting beeswax and oil together, which is not too terribly different from the Burt’s Bee’s lip balm we use today.
  • One fun beauty regime during the 1800‘s was to use belladonna drops to dilate the pupils and make one’s eyes appear larger and more luminous. During this time, hair dye was also made out of coal tar, and many cosmetics contained Mercury. And yes, they knew they were poisonous.
  • Members of the Sultan‘s Harem would literally burn the hair and sometimes the skin off their bodies during the Ottoman Empire. Rusma was a hair removing cream made from a mixture of lime and orpiment, which is a by product of arsenic. They’d apply it everywhere, rinse it off at the bathhouse, and then use a bronze scraper to remove any remaining Rusma. All to attempt to keep the favor of their Master. If left on too long, the mixture would cause painful burns.
  • In the early 20th century, before powder compacts became popular, powdered face papers called Papier Poudre were used to set and finish one’s makeup. They’re still on the market today, as the company has been in business since 1903.
  • Ancient Roman nail polish consisted of sheep‘s blood and day, giving them a bright red nail. Let’s all say a little prayer of thanks to Revlon for becoming the first modern nail polish company in 1932, actually inspired by the finish on car paint.
  • Ombre lips aren’t really a new thing, as 1959 had a lovely trend of “White Lipstick” that could be worn alone, layered, or blended with other colors to achieve a multitude of looks.
  • In 1915, the first mascara like product was invented by Mabel Williams and her brother Thomas Lyle Williams in conjunction with a drug manufacturer. The “LashBrowIne” was basically Vaseline with oils and dye mixed in to give the brows and lashes sheen. As weird as this seems, it was enough to make their company – Maybelline – into a household name, and it still is over 100 years later.
  • Following the success of “Lash-Brow-Ine,” Maybelline introduced Cake Mascara in 1917. This was much closer to giving the look of mascara we’re all familiar with today. A small brush was wet and then ran over a cake made up of various waxes and pigments. This was the standard until 1957, when the first “wand” mascara – Mascaramatic – was introduced by Helena Rubinstein. And yes, it was waterproof.

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