When you’re doing your make-up, you’re probably not thinking about the history of your red lipstick or how fragrance became a thing.
But maybe you should be.
The history behind makeup and beauty products is fascinating. Here, we’re sharing 15 make-up facts and beauty origin stories that will give you a whole new appreciation for modern-day make-up.
- Estee Lauder was said to have “accidentally” dropped a bottle of her perfume on the floor after it was rejected for sale by a department store. After the store received numerous enquiries from shoppers as to what the wonderful smell in the air was, they had a rapid change of heart and started selling the fragrance on their shelves.
- The first nail polish patent was issued to Cutex in 1919, and its colour was a faint rose pink.
- Lipstick dates back over 5000 years, when Sumerian men and women crushed gemstones to wear as a sign of power.
- Women have used all sorts of crazy ingredients over the years to try to “cure” things like freckles. Some of the more interesting methods involve the use of fresh urine and crocodile fat!
- Elizabeth Taylor allegedly forbid the wearing of lipstick by any other woman working on her film sets.
- Back in the Elizabethan era, people used coal tar as eyeliner and mascara. Since it was flammable material, some people went blind as a result of wearing it.
- The use of make-up at some points in the past either designated your wealth or your “poor morals”.
- Nail polish is believed to have originated in China in around 3000 B.C. It was made of egg whites, beeswax, gelatin, vegetable dyes and gum Arabic.
- Tans may be more popular nowadays, but it once was popular to be pale. Women were “bled” with leeches to keep their skin pale.
- Legend has it that the sails of Cleopatra’s boat were coated with fragrance before she set off to sea. The fragrance was diffused through the air, reaching the shore before Cleopatra would.
- The first mass-market hairspray hit the shelves in 1960.
- Coco Chanel got a little too much sun on one of her yacht trips in Cannes in 1923, returning to the spotlight with a bronze glow. Her sun-kissed look launched a fad and, eventually, an entire industry revolving around achieving the perfect tan.
- This first deodorant was invented in 1888 and was a cream that was applied using fingertips. The same manufacturer also invented the roll-on applicator some years later after being inspired by the Ball-Point pen.
- While the Greeks get credit for the origins of the word “cosmetics,” the ancient Egyptians were the first to use makeup where they used materials such as Malachite, Kohl, Red Ochre and henna.
- The Egyptians also get credit for creating perfume, which they used cosmetically and also medically. They believed that these pleasant scents would help maintain harmony between the body and spirit.
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