Archaeological evidence found the use of cosmetics in Ancient Egypt around 4,000 BC. Both the Ancient Greeks and Romans also used cosmetics, neither being aware of the danger they were exposing themselves to with the harmful properties contained in these products such as mercury and white lead. The Ancient Egyptians also used a wide range of tools to mix and apply the makeup. Kohl, used to outline the eyes was made up of lead, copper, burned almonds, soot and other ingredients and it was believed that by wearing makeup, it protected from evil spirits whilst also improving failing eye sight. All levels of society in this ancient time wore makeup. The Romans developed makeup, mainly worn by female slaves and it was called cosmetae.
Henna and kohl can trace their roots back to North Africa and we see both these products used still widely used in many parts of the world including Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia. Since around the 4th and 5th centuries, henna has been used in India either as a hair dye or in the art of mehndi, an art where complex designs are painted on to hands and feet, especailly before a wedding or for a special occasion. This is still practised today, although for both trend as well as tradition. African designs tend to be bolder than those of India.
Cosmetics have been used in the Middle East since ancient time and you can still see the beautiful kohl pots for the Arabian Gulf made from local silver for both men and women.
In China, people started staining their fingernails with gum Arabic, gelatin and beeswax around 3000 BC and the different colours defined class with the lower classed be banned from wearing bright colours on their nails.
The geishas of Japan wore lipstick made of crushed safflower petals from the safflower which they also used to paint their eyebrows and edges of the eyes. We are all familiar with the classic geisha white skin and rose bud lips. Bintsuke wax, as soft was used by geishas as a makeup base with rice powder colors for the face and back.
The Church of the Middle Ages considered makeup to be sinful and immoral as it was worn by prostitutes and upper class women. With the change that the Renaissance brought and up until the Industrial Revolution, makeup was revived from rediscovery and reintroduction of the Ancient World. With the lower class generally working outdoors in agricultural jobs, the usual light Caucasian skin tone was darkened by weather exposure. The higher classes had to stay out of the sun to keep their skin pale. The result was that a number of beauty products were used to lighten the skin which included white lead paint which may also have contained arsenic and which subsequently lead the many deaths. Queen Elizabeth 1 of England, famous for her red hair and white skin, is a well documented example through all her portraits and paintings.
There are many recordings of American natives with painted faces for numerous occasions, from battle to celebration.
Makeup of the modern era has changed in so many ways technically from what’s in the product to the way it is applied. Fashion and world events still influence 21st century makeup and with the advance of research and development, products become more and more technical. However, one fundamental remains – why we wear makeup. There are those who still today, will not approve of makeup and the reasons for wearing it, but others will see it as part of daily life, from simply looking and feeling better, to producing better TV and film, from enhancing theatrical performance to helping those with medical and physiological challenges.
There are so many brands and products available around the world, all promising different outcomes, bigger lashes, longer staying colour, flawless skin, rosy cheeks. Remember it’s not just about the product, but it’s about how it’s applied, professional or personal, safely is our wish.
The invention of photography and especially the movies contributed to an abrupt shift in attitudes. As viewers saw pictures of celebrities with flawless complexions and intense sexual allure, standards of feminine beauty began to change. Cosmetics became a way to embellish one’s appearance and the cosmetics industry grew rapidly during the 1920s. Advertising expenditure in radio went from $300,000 to $3.2 million between 1927 and 1930. At first, many women’s magazines refused advertisements for cosmetics, but by the end of the ’20s, cosmetics provided one of their largest sources of advertising revenue.
1904: Max Factor migrates from Lodz, Poland, to the United States, and four years later to Los Angeles, where he sells make-up to movie stars that does not cake or crack.
By 1909 Selfridges opened in London’s Oxford Street and they openly sold cosmetics. Cosmetics displays were openly visible to the customers and were no longer hidden under the counter.
1914: T.J. Williams founds Maybelline, which specializes in mascara.
1915: lipstick is introduced in cylindrical metal tubes. rs.
In the 1920s make up began to be used again after many years of not being used. In addition, the inter war years showed a great advance in the development of cosmetics. Elizabeth Arden developed cleansing and nourishing creams, tonics and lotions. At the same time Helena Rubenstein was developing creams to protect the face from the sun. This was welcomed in an era when sun worshipping made fashionable by Coco Chanel, was becoming a craze. Later Rubenstein also began to manufacture face powders and lipsticks. Less makeup was worn in the 1920s than in the 1930s, as youth demanded naturalness and slimming to obtain the boyish silhouette advised in magazines.
1930s: lipstick grew redder throughout the 1930s changing colour every year. Lipstick was applied quite thickly. One daily paper commented that kissing had gone out of fashion due to the high cost of lipstick. But lipstick in the 1930s produced an undesirable stain and Oxblood a favourite colour may well have been the cause of such a remark.
Fingernails became scarlet and were grown to extreme length, whilst toenails were contrasted in pink nail enamel. On the cheeks and ear lobes rouge was worn. Eyebrows were plucked to a thinner line in the 1930s than the 1920s. Sometimes they were completely plucked to a thin pencil line substitute; some women even shaved them with disastrous end results as the brows never grew back. There was also a fashion for false eyelashes.
1932: Charles and Joseph Revson, nail polish distributors, and Charles Lackman, a nail polish supplier, found Revlon, which sells nail polish in a wide variety of colours..
1933: a new method for permanent waving, using chemicals, which doesn’t require electricity or machines, is introduced.
1935: pan-cake makeup, originally developed to look natural on colour film, was created by Max Factor.
1940s makeup was kept to a minimum due to a shortage of constituents and the seeming frivolity of its use. However hairstyles and the variety of looks they produced were very important. The influence of film stars helped make fashionable, styles such as the Veronica Lake style.
1950s colour films made an enormous impact on cosmetics. The huge cinema screens illuminated the unblemished appearance of stars and caused the make up artist Max Factor to invent an everyday version of the foundation he used called “Pan Cake”. This was a makeup to gloss over skin imperfections. He also brought out a range of eye shadows and lipsticks. Later in the 50s titanium was added to tone down the brightness of products and this resulted in lips with a pale shimmering gleam. The idea was extended to create frosted nail varnishes of pink, silver and a host of other colours.
1958: Mascara wands debut, eliminating the need for applying mascara with a brush.
1961: Cover Girl make-up, one of the first brands sold in grocery stores and targeted to teens, is introduced by Noxema.
1963: Revlon offers the first powdered blush-on.
1960s: in the late 50s the make up company Gala had introduced pale shimmering lipsticks with added titanium. Later Max Factor brought out a colour called Strawberry Meringue which was a pastel pearly pink. They really caught on in the sixties as young girls were frowned upon if they wore brazen red lips, so the softened pink and peach colours were acceptable initially to parents, but then became a trend.
Magazines taught step by step how to use recently introduced lip brushes and young girls began to blend and mix their own lip colours often having first blotted the lips out with Max Factor Pancake make up. Nail polish followed a similar trend with pastel pearl colours being the rage.
Eyes were a main focus and once the film Cleopatra was released showing Elizabeth Taylor with very emphasised eyes everyone learnt to apply eyeliner and socket lines. The models Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy (Leslie Hornby) along with the actress Julie Christie all with their lined eye sockets captured the look that said Sixties Chick with chic.
1970s: a natural look was important in the mid and late seventies. Eyeliner and painted on eyelashes all became passé and softer looks were fashionable. In the early seventies eyes sometimes had white highlighter on the brow and sometimes soft coloured eye shadows were used around the eyes in a way that had been used for eyeliner. Pearlised liquid eye shadows were a new innovation and a similar product was promoted in 2001. Very long eyelashes were still desirable. Loose powder went out of fashion and foundations worn alone gave a sheer effect. Lip liner was all the rage.
1980s: make up came back in fashion. I t was quite a natural lighter look, but in truth strong red lips which matched the many tomato red jackets which abounded were not very natural. Make up was quite defined to match power dressing, but the main feature was the emphasis put on skin care, anti ageing and beauty treatments or therapy. Skin cancer became talked about and a big issue was to tan or not to tan. Many people spent hours under sun beds. Fake tans were improved and bronzing gels and bronzing face powder beads were popular.
1990s: Yves St Laurent launched his famous Touché Éclat which became a must in many women’s handbag. New lighter face skin foundations seemed to be announced every month and the end of the decade saw some very good foundations emerge in the marketplace. Companies like Marks and Spencer launched great skincare and make up ranges to suit the pockets of everyone. More importantly some of the items they sell can be easily bought from their internet site worldwide and delivered anywhere in the UK.
2000: staying power of lipsticks improved. In 2000 the Max Factor company launched the Lipfinity lipstick range which consisted of two products. The sticky lipstick is painted onto the lips and allowed to dry for one to four minutes depending on the amount used. Then the product is sealed with a special separate lip gloss. This wonderful product when correctly applied stays on the lips through normal eating and drinking and even light kissing and dentistry for up to 8 hours.