Some Interesting Facts About Cosmetics

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1. Decorative and medical cosmetics are known to have been used in ancient Egypt: beauties of those times were dyeing their hair, applying powder, eye shadow and blush. The torment of Egyptian women is described in the papyri: they were tinting their eyes with a black powder called “kosmetikon” and their forehead with copper sulfate or ground malachite. They had to wash their faces using crushed brick, sand, pumice stone and ashes (at the time, soap hasn’t been invented yet).

2. The occupation of “cosmetologist” first emerged in ancient Greece. A person who helped women eliminate skin defects with the help of special tools was called a “kosmet.” They would prescribe massage, water treatments and creams, and also helped mask flaws using cosmetics.

3. In ancient Rome, cosmetics were given so much importance that the Senate was forced to enact laws restricting its import from other countries, as buying cosmetics from Egypt, China, and the countries of Arabia was a serious blow to the treasury. Roman women, aspiring to beauty, weren’t scared of anything, even the pigments of various toxic substances, such as cinnabar that was contained in a lipstick prototype.

Facts About Cosmetics
Estee Lauder “Mad Men” Collection

 

4. Lipstick was first used in Mesopotamia and was manufactured from red pigments, beeswax and animal fat. Later, lipstick appeared in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. The word “lipstick” itself comes from the Latin ”pomum”, which literally means “apple”. The first lipsticks were produced namely from apples.

5. In contrast, the Christian church had an extremely negative attitude to any changes in appearance and accused women using makeup of blasphemy. Also, a law was passed that a marriage was considered invalid if the woman seduced a man without demonstrating her natural look and by hiding her imperfections with makeup. Such a woman was accused of witchcraft.

6. Nail polish was invented in China in 30 B.C. Long nails were considered a sign of the upper class. To demonstrate that they weren’t engaged in manual labor, women grew their nails up to 25 centimeters, while men considered long nails an amulet against evil.

7. Compact  – The “nesseser” became the prototype of modern cosmetics with cosmetic products such as palm and mint oil, and marjoram ointment. Possession of such a case proved the wealth of its mistress.

8. Powder was in vogue in the seventeenth century.  It was applied to the hair and face, both by men and women. Later, flies and slices of mouse skin were applied to the eyebrows and cork balls were hidden behind the cheeks to accentuate the roundness of the face. It was considered indecent to appear in one’s natural state in public.

9. In the Victorian era in England, the use of cosmetics was evidence of low morale. Therefore, ladies only pinched their cheeks and bit their lips to look rosier.

10. The first company to issue mascara was “Eugene Rimmel” in the nineteenth century. Rimmel is translated as “ink” from Portuguese, Turkish, Romanian and other languages.

11. The first modern mascara (1913) was created by chemist Williams for his sister Mabel. It was a mixture of coal ashes and petroleum jelly. The name of one of the leading cosmetic companies, Maybelline, was created by combining the name Mabel and one of the mascara components – Vaseline. Mascara packaging got its current form (a tube) only 40 years later, thanks to Helena Rubenstein.

 

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