10 Beauty secrets of ancient Egypt
It probably won’t come as any surprise to learn that the ancient Egyptians, both men and women, were keen on their beauty products. They made use of all kinds of natural products, both from their homeland and from far afield too, in their beauty regimes. Even though the ingredients and the recipes that the ancient Egyptians used are now over five thousand years old, some of their ideas are still in use today. The beauty of Egyptian women was renowned all around the world, so let’s take a look at ten of the beauty secrets of ancient Egypt that made Egyptian women so legendary for their beauty.
1. Milk baths
You couldn’t have an article about Egyptian beauty secrets without mentioning the most famous beautiful Egyptian woman of all time – Cleopatra. One of Cleopatra’s favourite beauty treatments is said to have been taking a bath in asses’ milk. While getting into a bath filled with milk may not be something that most of us would do today, it would soften the skin and the lactic acid that there is in milk would exfoliate the skin as well.
2. Red ochre
Red ochre, which is made from iron oxide that is found in some clay and sand deposits, is the oldest known pigment used by men. The Ancient Egyptians used red ochre as a lipstick and to give their cheeks more colour. They ground down the red ochre to a fine powder, mixed it with water, and painted it on their lips and their cheeks.
3. Fenugreek seeds
The ladies of ancient Egypt were also keen on face masks and a favoured ingredient for these were fenugreek seeds, which they used because they make the skin softer. Fenugreek seeds have now been proven to contain anti-bacterial and anti-fungal ingredients, so the ancient Egyptians’ face packs would have cured many types of minor skin infections for them.
4. Body sugaring
The ancient Egyptians were no keener on body hair than we are today, so they used body sugaring to remove hair. They heated sugar in water to make a paste and then applied the paste to their skin and used it in the same way that would use a wax today. The difference is that it’s a lot less painful than a wax, but just as effective at removing body hair.
They also understood the benefits of avocado for skin care too. Just as you would today, the ancient Egyptians used to mash up avocado to a paste and then apply to their skin as a face mask, they also used to apply sliced avocado on their eyes to reduce puffiness and soften the skin.
6. Almond oil
Almond oil was used as a moisturiser and skin toner. Though they didn’t know it then, almond oil contains many of the nutrients that the skin needs to stay healthy including Vitamin E and healthy fats and protein. The ancient Egyptians used to use almond oil as a body moisturiser to be applied after a bath. It would have hydrated and softened their skin and, as we now know, almond oil also has some incredible anti-ageing properties.
Egyptian women used henna, which is a dye made from the plant of the same name, as a hair dye and to colour their nails too. Used on the nails, it would give a yellow, orange tint and it has also now been found that henna would have strengthened their nails too.
8. Dead sea salt
Cleopatra is also said to have taken regular visits the Dead Sea, so that she could bath in the mineral rich water there. Dead Sea salt contains a lot more than just salt; it is also rich in many other types of minerals too. You can still buy Dead Sea salt to add to your bath today. It is said to contain nutrients that are absorbed into the skin, which nourish and rejuvenate it, and it also helps fight skin complaints, such as psoriasis and eczema.
The Egyptian women were also pretty hot on personal hygiene and they used soaps made of animal fats, clay and natural oils. These ancient soaps wouldn’t have smelled too nice on their own, though, so they would have added exotic scents like frankincense and myrrh.
While we are on the topic of gorgeous scents, the Egyptian women loved to smell nice too. They would import scents from all around the world and some of their favourites were: rosemary, cedar, rose-water, lavender and thyme. They used these scents on their body, as we would use perfume today, and they added them to their baths.
Do you know other beauty secrets of ancient Egypt?