The famed quote, “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder,” is almost timeless being attributed to the famed philosopher Plato some three to four hundred years before the birth of Christ. Thousands of years before this teacher spoke of beauty, the ancient Egyptians were believed to be amongst the first people to wear makeup.
Both men and women were tinting their skin and lips with natural products like henna and kohl, a black powder derived from sulphide, in these almost prehistoric times. These were the precursors of today’s popular cosmetics. Although they were primarily used to enhance their natural beauty, historians relate these types of applications weren’t necessarily about appearance for these mostly royal wearers of early eyeshadow and makeup.
More Than Vanity
Especially when it came to decorating their eyes, Egyptians believed makeup used to imitate the “Evil Eye,” effect could ward off evil itself. It was also used to protect their skin from the harsh, hot and sandy desert climate. Kohl was used as a disinfectant around the eyes and doctors at the time believed it help to ward off flies and prevent against a myriad of different eye diseases.
Storage and Application
Without today’s modern cosmetics, the wealthier wearers of makeup would store them inside containers made of precious metals or ivory. The affluent also made applicators from fur and hair while the poorer classes used cheaper products such as wood. Again without modern makeup removers at their disposal, creams and oils were made for cleansing the skin and removing these dyes and other natural products.
For more information on today’s modern methods of eye care, cosmetics and beauty tips, check out this infographic. It can help you achieve that “natural look” and find the best shades and tones to compliment your eye color.
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