Thursday, November 20, 2014

Some Interesting Facts About Cosmetic History

Based on the evidences found globally, the history of cosmetics has beginnings which can be traced back as early as 4000 BC. Throughout the existence of cosmetic history, it was defined differently by different people. Its meanings also differ depending on what century a person was born.

Today, we should all know that makeup and cosmetics are two different words with different meanings:

Cosmetics are any product that you put on your face or body with the purpose of making your appearance better, and perhaps making your skin healthier. Cosmetics can include everything from lotions, powders, creams, oils, perfumes, gels, hair bleaches and dyes, mud packs, nail polishes, deodorants, and a lot more.

Makeup is just a division of cosmetics that makes the face look beautiful. This includes eye shadows, eyeliners, lipsticks, mascaras, blushers, foundations, pressed powders, moisturizers, lip glosses, etc.

The earliest proof of the use of cosmetics dates back to ancient Egypt. Both the Egyptians and Romans applied cosmetics that have white lead and mercury. Furthermore, the makeup tools of the earliest Egyptians were very extensive.

One of the cosmetic/makeup mixtures was kohl and this was commonly used for highlighting the eyes. Kohl is a chemical where the main ingredients are lead, soot, burned almonds, copper, and so on. Their other beautifying agents also contain another toxic element which is arsenic.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the eye makeup can protect them from evil spirits as well as make their eyesight better. And this explains why even the poorest people in ancient Egypt also wore eye shadows.

The Persian people also made great contributions to the history of cosmetics. Persia was what is now called the Middle East. It was known that one of the oldest cosmetologists was a doctor whose name is Abu a-Qasim al-Zahrawi, who is more popularly known as Abulcasis. He was born in 936 AD and died 77 years later. But during his prime, he was able to write a medical encyclopedia called Al-Tasrif. In that 30-volume encyclopedia, he devoted the whole part of the 19th volume to cosmetics. According to this man, cosmetics is a branch of medicine, thus he called it the "Medicine of Beauty."

In the early days of the 20th century, makeup turned out to be a fashionable trend around Europe and the United States. Though, the most significant development globally in the history of cosmetics, was that of the entertainment industry in Hollywood. Some people in Hollywood who saw the great potentials of mass-marketing the cosmetics were Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubinstein, and Max Factor.

In the 1920's, red lipsticks, dark eyes, red nail polishes, and suntans were the fashion statement and were popularized by a rather famous french designer. Until that time, suntans were the result of much time spent in the fields by farm workers. On the other hand, most stylish women wanted their complexions to be as light as possible.

After this designer had popularized suntans as another beauty statement, counterfeit tan products started to flood the market. But in the Asian region, skin whitening products were more preferred because for Asians, pale skin epitomizes beauty.

In the 60's and 70's, Western women who were won over by feminism, chose not to use any cosmetics. The 70's marks the year of the "natural look" where women wore no makeup during the day and were fully made up in the evening.

All through the years, both men and women have used cosmetics for a lot of reasons. Today, makeup and cosmetics are either used or not used by individuals who would like to make a statement in one way or another.

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