MAKEUP 101 (History of Make-up)

MAKEUP 101 (History of Make-up)

History of Make-up

Makeup has been in existence since the times of the Early Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese, Romans and Elizabethans before the 21st century .  Here ‘s a brief history of make .

10,000 BCE:

Men and women in Egypt used scented oils and ointments to clean and soften their skin and to mask body odor. Cosmetics was and still is an integral part of Egyptian hygiene and health. Myrrh, thyme, marjoram, chamomile, lavender, lily, peppermint, rosemary, cedar, rose, aloe, olive oil, sesame oil, and almond oil provide the basic ingredients of most perfumes that Egyptians used in religious ritual.

4000 BCE:

Egyptian women would apply galena mesdemet (made of copper and lead ore) and malachite (bright green paste of copper minerals) to their faces for color and definition. They employed a combination of burnt almonds, oxidized copper, different-colored coppers ores, lead, ash, and ochre — together called kohl — to adorn the eyes in an almond shape. Women carried cosmetics to parties in makeup boxes and kept them under their chairs.

3000 BCE:

Chinese people began to stain their fingernails with gum arabic, gelatin, beeswax, and egg. The colors used represented social class: Chou dynasty royals wore gold and silver, with subsequent royals wearing black or red.

Grecian women painted their faces with white lead and applyed crushed mulberries as rouge. The application of fake eyebrows, often made of oxen hair, was also fashionable.

1500 BCE:

Chinese and Japanese citizens commonly used rice powder to make their faces white. Eyebrows  shaved off, teeth painted gold or black and henna dyes applied to stain hair and face.

1000 BCE:

Grecian’s whitened their complexion with chalk or lead face powder and fashioned crude lipsticks out of ochre clay’s laced with red iron.


100 AD:














In Rome, people used to put barley flour and butter on their pimples and sheep fat and blood on their fingernails for polish. In addition, mud baths came into vogue, and some Roman men dyed their hair blond.

300-400 AD:

Henna was used in India as a hair dye and in mehndi, an art form in which complex designs were painted on to the hands and feet, especially before a Hindu wedding. Henna was also used in some North African cultures.


1200 AD:









As a result of the Crusades, perfumes were first imported to Europe from the Middle East.

1300 AD:

In Elizabethan England, dyed red hair came into fashion. Society women wore egg whites over their faces to create the appearance of a paler complexion. Yet, some thought cosmetics blocked proper circulation and therefore posed a health threat.


1400 – 1500 AD:

In Europe, only the aristocracy used cosmetics, with Italy and France emerging as the main centers of cosmetics manufacturing. Arsenic was sometimes used in face powder instead of lead.

The modern notion of complex scent-making evolves in France. Early fragrances were amalgams of naturally occurring ingredients. Later, chemical processes for combining and testing scents supersede their arduous and labor-intensive predecessors.

1500-1600 AD:

European women often attempted to lighten their skin using a variety of products, including white lead paint. Queen Elizabeth I of England was one well-known user of white lead, with which she created a look known as “the Mask of Youth.” Blonde hair rose in popularity as it was considered angelic. Mixtures of black sulfur, alum, and honey were painted onto the hair and left to work in the sun.


1800 AD:

Zinc oxide became widely used as a facial powder, replacing the previously used deadly mixtures of lead and copper. One such mixture, Ceruse, made from white lead, was later discovered to be toxic and blamed for physical problems including facial tremors, muscle paralysis, and even death.

Queen Victoria publicly declared makeup improper. It was viewed as vulgar and acceptable only for use by actors.

1900 AD:

In Edwardian Society, pressure increased on middle-aged women to appear as young as possible while acting as hostesses. Increased, but not completely open, cosmetic use was a popular method of achieving this goal.

Beauty salons increase in popularity, though patronage of such salons was not necessarily accepted. Because many women were loathe to admit that they needed assistance to look young, they often entered salons through the back door.

As much as a lot of Beauticians/ Makeup artists find all this history about makeup boring and not useful, its important that we have a knowledge about what we are going into. I hope my fellow makeup artists find this very useful and not boring.:)