A Short History of Cosmetology

By: Tauqeer Ul Hassan | Posted: 15th April 2010

People have been using cosmetics to improve their appearance since the last several thousand years. It is also used to mimic animals or look scary for festivals. The history of cosmetology is much older than civilization. The ancient nomads made pastes of mud and ash that they applied on their bodies for disguising themselves or intimidating other tribes.

It is easy to think in the early 21st century that cosmetics are only being used by women. In reality it has been used by both genders throughout the history. The oldest actual makeup dates back to 4000 BC from ancient Egypt. Noble people in Egypt used cosmetics in the form of lead, mercury, ash and other substances to create black eyeliner and highlighting the shape of the eye.

Deodorants like carob pellets were used by priests and noble people in ancient Egypt. They were directly rubbed on to the body. Egyptian hieroglyphics have provided wealthy information that helps in understanding how cosmetics were used in ancient times.
After few hundred years, Chinese noble families used mixtures of beeswax, gum, gelatin and egg with variety of colors on their fingernails. The noble families were only allowed to use brightest colors as a symbol of status.

Cosmetology had advanced considerably with oils and lotions by Roman times. They were used in makeup, perfumes and cleansers as well as in hair to keep it in shape. Greasy lotions made from animal fat were often applied to the face and other parts of the body for hiding defects.

Roman preparations were known for being highly toxic in those times. Female slaves were known as cosmetae who used to dissolve various substances in their own saliva. Roman cosmetic manufacturers were amongst the most productive of the ancient world.

During that same time, advancements in hair dyes and wigs allowed anyone to alter their appearance almost immediately and very satisfactorily. The Roman wigs were in special demand from generals and aging senators.

Other parts of the world such as Middle East and India have been using henna as a decorative covering in complex designs.

Arab chemists had developed a distillation process by the medieval ages, this helped in making perfume oils among other worthy products. However human vanity used this process for the first time in scale for the pleasure of wealthy merchants who wanted sweet smelling bodies and clothes.

The reformation period in Europe was one of the prominent periods of the modern history of cosmetology. The invention of eau to toilette allowed subtle fragrances for the first time to be sprayed on to the skin rather than being thickly brushed.

The mass market of cosmetics has always continued to grow since the 20th century and the advent of Hollywood movies and television, this has driven cosmetology to new heights of acceptance and availability for all ages of people. Cosmetology continues to grow as an industry with more and more nations becoming developed. The developments in the 20th century saw the introduction of skin coloring agents like chemical based skin lighteners, nail polish, lipstick, eye shadow and blush.

You might want to learn detailed history of cosmetology and also who discovered calcium.
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Tags: fingernails, ancient egypt, wigs, pellets, both genders, pastes, roman times, deodorants, animal fat, gelatin, hair dyes, beeswax