10 Interesting facts about makeup you need to know about
Us beauty lovers use makeup almost every single day to make us feel more confident, beautiful and to exercise our creative muscle. But how much do we actually know about the history of the things we’re putting on our faces? We’ve delved into the history books to find out a bit more about where cosmetics came from, and the early versions of all our beauty favourites. Makeup has been around for more than 6000 years, but not as we know it. The ancient Egyptians didn’t have Naked palettes to dress their eyes, or liquid liner in a handy plastic pot to create their signature flicks. Read on for 10 super interesting facts about makeup that you probably didn’t know!
Egyptians used kohl to line their eyes
Our sisters in Egypt created arguably one of the best beauty trends ever way back around 10,000BC. Then, the ancient Egyptians used a dark-coloured powder made of oxidized copper, crushed antimony, burnt almonds, lead, ochre, ash and malachite to line above and below their lash lines. They did this in the belief that the lines would protect their eyes from the sun’s glare, and the kohl would prevent eye infection. Who knew?!
Sick of your brows? Early Japanese women say ‘shave ‘em off’
When we have a bad brow day, we’re often tempted to take a razor to the troublesome little hairs and just shave them all off. So one of interesting facts about makeup is that the women of the Heian era in Early Japan were actually brave enough to embrace this kind of liberation, and completely removed their eyebrow hairs before painting on replacements in a crescent moon shape. The most fashionable of women took their painted brows right up close to their hairline. A surprising look, we think you’ll agree.
Teeth whitening takes a turn
We’re kind of sick of seeing countless teeth-whitening tools splashed across our Instagram feeds, but when researching how the gals and guys of previous years used to do it – we’re counting our blessings. One of interesting facts about makeup is that the Ancient Romans preferred a rather alternative method to the bleaching trays made popular by Kylie Jenner and the like, instead gargling with urine to get those pearly whites we all dream of. Apparently, the ammonia in the urine acts as a bleaching agent. No, thank you.
The makeup trap
In 1770, Parliament in England passed an act designed to protect men from the “witchcraft” of women who wore makeup. The act specified that women should not seduce or betray men into matrimony by “scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial teeth, false hair,” and stated that “that the marriage, upon conviction, shall stand null and void.” We hope the girls back then gave parliament a strong hair swish in response to that law. Hmmm.
The history of lipstick is gross
Looking into the origins of lipstick made us feel, well, a bit ill. Here is another one of weird and interesting facts about makeup: turns out it’s believed that Mesopotamian women were probably the inventors of lipstick about 5000 years ago, using crushed gemstones to adorn their eyes and lips. The ick factor came from Cleopatra herself, years later in Ancient Egypt. The Queen of serving looks made her signature red lipstick from the blood of crushed carmine beetles, and ants. Nasty.
Renaissance Women wanted pale skin at any cost
Here is another one of interesting facts about makeup: in the Renaissance era, it was extremely fashionable to have pale, unblemished skin. Women would strive to achieve this beauty ideal by painting a concoction of carbonate, hydroxide and lead oxide to create a more beautiful look. The mixture led to some seriously nasty side effects, and in some cases caused muscle paralysis. So-o-o not worth it.
The accidental tan
Pale skin was, for a long time, seen as the ultimate mark of beauty and class in the Western World. The beautiful, glowing tan look we all now know and love was first made fashionable by fashion icon Coco Chanel, who accidentally found herself a little overly sun kissed after a trip to the French Riviera. She returned to Paris with a sparkling tan, and ignited a trend we’ve yet to shy away from.
Mascara in the Victorian Era
Next one of bizarre and interesting facts about makeup is that back in Victorian times, women in Britain made their own homemade mascara by mixing together ashes and elderberry juice. They would coat the mixture onto their eyelashes to darken them and make them more prominent. Bet you’re glad you can pick up a tube of Maybelline now, aren’t you? It seems like a lot less trouble.
Poison for the lady?
In Roman times, women administered eye drops to make their pupils dilate, which they believed made them look more beautiful and alluring. The drops were made from Belladonna, the poisonous but beautiful plant with dark, inky berries and purple flowers. Belladonna is incredibly poisonous, and ingesting even a small amount is fatal to humans. However, derivatives from the plant are, incredibly, still used in medicines today. Your doctor may even use it as the Ancient Roman’s did – to dilate your pupils in an eye examination.
Bleeding for beauty
We’ve previously discovered that women in Renaissance times went to great lengths to achieve milky white skin, but did you know that another one of interesting facts about makeup is that they used to purposefully bleed themselves? Women of this era used the rather drastic method of applying leeches to their skin, to drain blood (and therefore colour) in a controlled manner. Alternatively, they would sometimes slash a vein and allow themselves to bleed out into a cup until suitably pale. I think we’ll be giving this one a miss.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the weird, whacky and interesting facts about makeup. Do you know any more bizarre facts? Let us know!