In modern times cosmetics play a key role in the beauty routine of many people. They are sold everywhere, are generally affordable, and the main purpose is to make us look good and feel better about ourselves. The original use of cosmetics was much different. From Egypt, to the Greek and Roman empires, cosmetics were used for medical treatments, religious ceremonies and the determination of social classes.
Ancient Egyptians believed cosmetics has a magical power. They were also used in many religious rituals and it was believed that eye shadows warded off evil spirts. Eye paints, also played a pivotal role in the afterlife; as it was believed that to enter the Realm of Osiris, one must first purify himself, dress in white garments, anoint themselves and apply make-up. Ointments, saeves, and pastes were created to treat burns and scars. Kohl that was used to line eyes prevented eye infections and promoted production of nitrous oxide to strengthen the immune system.
In ancient Greece the idea of beauty consisted of pale skin and golden locks. They considered pale skin to be a sign of prestige and beauty and used white lead and water to lighten their complexions. Greeks moisturized their skin with honey, and to make their skin look shiny, olive oil was used.
In the Roman Empire only he wealthy could afford make-up and ancient Romans believed women who smelled good were presumed to be healthy. Romans also believed that pale skin was a sign of a higher social status and like the Greeks, they used lead based whiteners on their skin. The appearance of their skin was very important so they applied an ointment of swan’s fat, bean meal, and milk to lessen the appearance of wrinkles, freckles, sunspots, blemishes and flaky skin.
Although some uses for cosmetics have changed; one thing will always be true, appearance is important and looking good never goes out of style.