Where Did It All Begin? Cosmetics Through The Ages

European Middle Ages

In the period of the European Middle Ages, fade skin was an indication of wealth and 6th century women looked for extreme and unusual methods to attain the pale look by bleeding themselves, however in contrast to that Spanish prostitutes wore pink make-up.

However in the 13th century wealthy and prosperous ladies put on pink lipstick as proof that they might afford faux makeup.

Italian Renaissance

Throughout the Italian Renaissance lead paint was used to lighten the face. Unbeknownst to them at the time, lead paint is hazardous and very damaging to the user and can cause many diseases. In the 17th Century a popular face powder Aqua Tofana got its name from its creator Signora Guilia Tofana, who instructed the female wearers only to apply the cosmetics when their husbands are around.

The powder was made from Arsenic and it is fascinating to understand that this powder was created for ladies to rid themselves from their husbands, need to they find themselves in a loveless or trapped in a marital relationship. Research Guilia Tofana for more interesting facts of the powder and how it was utilized.

Regency Era

In the Regency Era, the most treasured and important item was rouge. This was utilized by everyone male and female. During this period white skin signified a life of leisure [no difficult labor]

In order to preserve the pale skin tone, females used bonnets, covered all noticeable parts of their bodies with whiteners and blemish removers and brought their parasols with them all over. Throughout the reign of Charles II, heavy make-up began to appear as a means to contradict the unhealthy pale appearance from being inside your house due to illness upsurges.

Unfortunately a few of these makeups and treatments for a pale skin tone were lethal. The most hazardous appeal makeups throughout this period were white lead and mercury. Not only do they destroy the skin but it likewise triggered hair loss, stomach problems and could even cause death.

These threats just became recognized through the death of the courtesan Kitty Fisher, however that did not stop the bulk of ladies using these fatal whiteners.

In other civilizations, like China, if a commoner were caught wearing nail polish in public, they were executed for it was just an advantage for the rich to use. If you were residing in Japan, and if you were of nobility, you were then forbidden to stroll in public if you did not have a full body cosmetic treatment.

So thank the fashionable Cleopatra for starting the winged/cat eyeliner appearance and the smoky, heavy lids.


Throughout the 1800’s, even when females knew that belladonna was poisonous, they would utilize it to make their eyes appear more luminous. Makeup were made by local pharmacist, referred to as apothecaries in England, and most typical components utilized were mercury and nitric acid and hair color was made from coal tar, which is now prohibited to use in hair dyes.

Back in the 1800’s Victorians hated make-up and associated it use with prostitutes and starlets because a number of the Victorians considered them one and the exact same. Any sign that tips that you damaged your natural colour would be frowned upon.

A lady would pluck her eyebrows, use castor oil in her eyelashes and utilize rice powder to dust her face. They did not use lipstick but a clear; water substance wax (pomade) would be applied to the lips for a shine. A few of the items included a dye to inconspicuously enhance natural lip colour.

Fascinating to know that men also wore cosmetics until the 1850’s. George IV invested a fortune on cold creams, powders, pastes and aromas. Not all men used cosmetics for lots of looked and frowned upon guys with rouged cheeks as a dandy or poof.


The advancement of makeup started during the 1910’s. Females began making their own kind of mascara by adding hot beads of wax to the tips of their eyelashes and some women would use petroleum jelly for this function.

The very first mascara developed was named after Mabel the sister of the developer Tom Lyle Williams, who saw his sibling combining Vaseline and coal dust to her eyelashes, giving it a darker and fuller appearance. The proof remains in the pudding that we utilize Maybelline today.

In 1914, Max Factor presented his pancake makeup and Vogue included Turkish ladies utilizing henna (a momentary dye) to detail their eyes, the film market captured wind of this and instantly took an interest to this method. It made the eyes look larger and the word “vamp” – short for vampire began to make its “name” by being connected with these enlarged laid out eyed females.

The earliest variation of an acid peel was likewise utilized at this time, which was a mix of acid and electrical currents that was used to the skin. Likewise a need would be utilized to insert paraffin to the eye location and cheeks– this also was not successful [Ouch, ouch]

By this time Nivea made its appearance in Germany, and other companies, in order to complete began creating creams consisting of Vaseline combined with different scents.

The First World War And Cosmetics

You might think that what has the First World War got to do with cosmetics? Well you will be shocked to find out that in this period there was a big boom [increase] in plastic surgery. In the 20’s and 30’s if you were a cosmetic surgeon, your world was controlled by facial configuration and social identity. [It makes us question why]

New looks were performed as early as the 1920’s and sometimes drooping jaws and double chins, women could purchase a weird looking device with chin straps to wear, which also didn’t work, however it was in the 60’s that plastic surgery was utilized to minimize the signs of aging. Throughout the 20th century, cosmetics were focused and focused on ladies and males just took part in cosmetics if they had been damaged by the war.

Nevertheless the Victorian look remained in fashion till the mass makeup marketing came about in the 20’s. Already when the newly emancipated ladies of America started to show her self-reliance, they used red lipstick fragranced with cherry to mark the event. Near completion of the 20’s makeup was considered a need to by rural ladies but was still discredited by country women.

During this era, lip gloss was introduced by Max Factor and brand-new shades of red lipsticks were developed. Even though if a few of them were soap-based and triggered drying of the lips. The very first curler emerged called Kurlash. In that time it was extremely expensive and very tough to utilize, but it did not stop from becoming popular amongst ladies and mascara in cake and cream kind was considered incredibly vogue.

The Thrifty, Gatsby 20’s

In Hollywood the motion picture market had the most influential effect on cosmetics and stars such as Theda Bara had an excellent result on the make-up market. Theda Bara’s makeup artist Helen Rubinstein created mascara for the actress by relying on her explores kohl. Others such as Max Factor and Elizabeth Arden saw the chance for the mass marketing of cosmetics throughout this time.

This was the start of many present day make-up makers that was developed in the 20’s and the 30’s. Lipstick was among the most popular cosmetics of this time, more so than rouges and powder, just due to the fact that they were colorful and more affordable.

The “Flapper” style also affected the cosmetics in the 20’s which in that period motivated the dark eyes, red lipstick, red nail polish accompanied with a suntan, invented as a style declaration by none other than the stylish Coco Chanel.

The eyebrow pencil removed in the 20’s too, purely because it transcended to what it had been, due to a brand-new ingredient- hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Back to the mascara use, like Maybelline, pressed cakes including soap and pigments, were used where a woman would dip a tiny brush into hot water, rub the bristles on the cake and get rid of the excess by rolling the brush onto some paper or sponge then apply the mascara on her eyes like an artist would finish with a canvas.

During the 1920’s, a large variety of African Americans took part in skin whitening, trying to lighten their skin tone to appear whiter, as well as hair straightening. By marketing skin bleaches and hair straighteners it produced fortunes worth millions and was represented a massive 30-50 percent of all ads in the black press of the decade. Bulk of these bleaches and hair straighteners were created and marketed by African American females.

Skin whitens consisted of caustic chemicals such as hydroquinone, which suppressed the production of melanin in the skin and these bleaches could cause serious dermatitis as well as death in high dosages.

The Years To Follow From The 30’s Onwards

By the 30’s to the 40’s during the Second World War, cosmetics ended up being a brief supply. Petroleum and alcohol the standard components in many cosmetics were diverted into the war supply. During this time, when it was restricted, lipstick, powder and face cream that were finest and most experimentation was performed for post war duration.

Cosmetic developers realized that the war would result in an extraordinary escalated boom after the war, so they began to prepare. Companies like Yardley, Elizabeth Arden, Helen Rubenstein and the French production company ended up being related to ‘quality” because they were the earliest established especially after the war.

Companies like Pond’s had the very same appeal in the lower cost range and Gala cosmetics were one of the first to give its products dream names particularly for the lipsticks like “Lantern Red” and “Sea Coral”.

In the 60’s and 70’s the “hippy era” lots of ladies of the westernized world influenced by feminism decided to go without any make-up and believed that ladies who wear make-up are of 2nd class status.

Cosmetics were then divided into “natural appearance” throughout the day and a more attractive try to find night time. Non-allergic makeup made its stand throughout this duration as people were worried of the chemical worth in makeup. The prime cosmetic of the time was eye shadows, although women were likewise thinking about new lipstick colours such as lilac, silver and green. These types of lipsticks were usually mixed with pale pinks and whites so that ladies might produce their own specific tones.

Revlon entered into the market with “Blush-ons” which offered it broad promotion. This item was used to the forehead, lower cheeks and chin. Contouring and highlighting the confront with white eye shadow cream.

The entire cosmetic market in basic opened opportunities for ladies in organisation as entrepreneurs, inventors, producers, suppliers and promoters. Thanks to Avon the woman saleswoman was presented.

Introducing The 21st Century

Today the marketplace of cosmetics has a different vibrant compared with the 20th Century. Beauty products are now offered from devoted web retailers to recognized outlets, including major department stores.

Modern make-up is not only utilized by females however by guys too. Cosmetic brands tailor unique items for guys only and Concealer is a popular use for females and males who are cosmetic-conscious.

Today some nations are driving the cosmetic market like Japan. Japan is the second largest market worldwide. The growth of cosmetics in Japan have actually gone into a period of stability. Consumers can access a lot of details on the Internet and select numerous options and opening numerous chances for newbies in this market.

The list go on and on for the 21st Century of makeup. Interested? Research study a few of the 21st Century well known and established cosmetics artist.

  • Kim Winterscale (South African).
  • Bobbi Brown (Creator of Bobbi Brown).
  • Trevor Conn
  • Jay Manuel (American Next Top Model).
  • Gucci Westman.
  • Charlotte Tillbury.
  • Kevyn Aucoin.
  • Face & Grace.

Get even more info on this topic by viewing this fantastic slideshow:

Last Updated: 29th December, 2016

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