Makeup throughout the World History

Makeup throughout the World History

If you’re like me, you undoubtedly have a lot of questions. As I apply my makeup each day, I ponder, “Where did this emerge from? What does this signify? Why does this exist at all?”

I’ve decided to conduct some research and provide you with an overview of the history of cosmetics for all of us devotees (or simply curious individuals). It is often known as foundation or mascara.

6000 BCE: The Start of the Makeup

The history of makeup begins with the Egyptians circa 6000 BCE. They invented it because they thought the foundation was used by men and women from all socioeconomic strata. And thought that mascara was the next best thing to divinity. It was also employed as a symbol of their prosperity, a practice that will persist for millennia.

Since everybody in Egypt at the period could obtain the foundation, a person’s wealth was more closely associated with the dispensers and boxes for storage than with the mascara itself. A lot of low-class peasants used sticks and clay pots to apply and store rouge. Meanwhile, the wealthy might afford finely crafted ivory boxes and applicators that were frequently embellished with jewels.

The most well-known cosmetic item created by the Egyptians was ‘kohl’. It was essentially a gray ore called galena and served to line eyelids much like black eye shadow. Even though it was once often worn with green or blue eyeliners (Grepond eye pigment), kohl is still in use today and may go with anything. Additionally, they wore crimson lipstick, which was created by combining red ochre with fat. 

Beyond just their visages, the ancient Egyptians frequently dyed their hands and toes with henna. Makeup was viewed by the Egyptians as a means of gaining authority. They claimed that using foundation shielded people from the “The Wicked Eye,” and that applying kohl shielded them from sunburn and other illnesses. 

4000 BCE: Striving for a Natural Look

At this point, cosmetics were being worn by individuals across ancient Greece and Rome. They wanted to appear more “natural” for them. Women applied subtle accents of color to their lips and cheeks by combining lead-based crayons and mercury (now deemed poisonous) with plants or fruits. They occasionally used light powder makeup. But for the most part, they used honey and avocado oil in their skincare products. These were included as cleansers and moisturizers, to ensure that their natural skin looked flawless.

The eyes and eyelashes were the only parts of cosmetics that were “less natural” in classical Greece. Traditionally, eyebrows were darkened around the eyes and made bolder with olive oil and charcoal.

3000 BCE – 600 CE: Mascara in Ancient China

Chinese royalty employed nail lacquer during this time to symbolize their social standing. Leaders at the top wore gold or silver, those at lower levels donned black or red, and those from lower social groups were not allowed to wear any kind of nail polish at all. Chinese ladies started using extremely translucent foundations, which were often composed of a very white powder, about 600 CE as a way to set themselves apart from the laboring classes. They also blackened their eyebrows and applied heavy red powder to their cheeks.

The people boiled botanicals, animal fats, and spices to make the colors that were utilized in the majority of their makeup at the period. They also frequently used vermillion to paint a crimson heart-shaped design on their lips.

Among the first societies to adopt rapidly evolving beauty trends was ancient China, where a lot of earlier emperors concentrated on eyebrow color and shape changes. Around the rule of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), the majority of eyebrow patterns were developed. 

Makeup throughout the World History

1500 CE: Makeup as a Beauty Trend

Around this time, Christian authors started drawing parallels between cosmetics and dishonesty. Using homemade remedies, women started focusing on skincare to produce the look of naturally perfect skin.

Everything abruptly altered in the 1550s when the Elizabethan definition of beauty became widely accepted.

Every lady started using ceruse (the vinegar and white leads) to whiten her skin, plucking her eyebrows to create the appearance of having a large forehead, and using ochres, egg whites, and even mercury to color their lips and cheeks. The health risks posed by these cosmetic trends to women were numerous, and they significantly contributed to the reduction of the average life expectancy to 29 years.

1900 CE: The Backlash against wearing Makeup

Queen Victoria was someone who set the standard for beauty trends, but she did so in opposition to all of them, considering makeup to be vulgar and unladylike. This led to an anti-mascara backlash that may yet exist in the modern world. Women started biting their lips and pinching their cheeks at this point to provide themselves rose-colored appearance. Many women were despised and viewed as prostitutes if they persisted wearing foundation. 

The “appearances” of Hollywood cinema stars in the 1920s started to influence women to apply mascara. Rouge started to be offered to the general public as a result, and the cosmetics sector flourished (and still does). The 1950s’ crimson lipstick and the 1990s’ thin eyebrows are two examples of distinct beauty trends that resulted from this.

The Present-day

Our opinions on makeup have grown more liberal than ever in the modern world. This has only just occurred because, even ten years ago, the focus of our society was on discrediting even the most well-known celebrities on social media due to their appearance. However, social media is now being used to market mascara to people of all races, genders, and social classes. Mascara can now be anything that someone wishes it to be. Individuals can design their foundation brands, have vibrant rouge looks, wear no rouge, and even pursue careers in this artistic field. 


Do I believe that, in comparison to the long tradition of makeup, our current understanding of attractiveness is as flawless as it may seem? No, but I think we’re moving quickly in that direction. My only pastime these days is skincare and mascara, which I adore! Every day, numerous women and men of all ages flood my “for yourself” and “discover” social media pages. They appear with photos of themselves experimenting with various foundation looks and inspiring others to follow suit.

I’ve come to understand that both my mom and dad were raised in a society that placed restrictions and guidelines on what constitutes beauty. However, because I belong to younger people, I have been subjected to both restrictions and an open mind on cosmetics and beauty, which is precisely why I think we are making progress. I have gained knowledge about applying mascara on my own. And I’ve realized that not everyone has to use it, and discovered that rouge is enjoyable, at least for me, in the last year. 

Never before have I been so enthralled with the background of makeup as I am now. I wish it had been covered in my history class after this! It still amazes me that mascara can be whatever we wish it to be in this day and age. Especially considering the time it is needed for this to happen!

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