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cosmetics Archives | EI, School of Professional Makeup

When most people think of the History of Makeup they picture the bold geometric patterns of the 80’s or the glitzy disco look of the 70’s. They may even imagine the models in magazines of the 50’s and 60’s, but makeup and cosmetics have been around a lot longer than that. The use of cosmetics to protect and beautify the skin, as well as colorful pigments to enhance features or to display nobility dates back at least 12,000 years. EI Make-up School LA
• Ancient Egyptians, both men and women, frequently drew dark circles of kohl around their eyes. The use of kohl “eyeliner” served double duties by deflecting the harsh rays from the desert sun and to ward off the evil eye and dangerous spirits.
• Arsenic was sometimes substituted for lead in face powder or added to the lead mixture. Since we now know that arsenic is poisonous, it’s no wonder that many people died as a result of both long and short term poisoning.
• 3000 BC, in china only the upper class were allowed to wear nail polish in public. The penalty of death was enacted for any common person who was caught in public wearing nail polish.
• In 1500 BC full body cosmetic treatment was a requirement for Japanese noble women who were forbidden to walk in public without.
• In 100 AD the Greeks began taking mud baths as a beauty ritual. It is believed that they began to realize the benefits of mud and clay while bathing in areas that were rich in it.
• 16th century women would bleed themselves to achieve pale skin. Hundreds of years ago it was common for the aristocracy to use leeches to draw blood in order to achieve a paler complexion. It was thought that the leeches were strategically placed on the face, neck and breast area to drain them of blood.
• Queen Elizabeth I began balding as a result of the white ceruse “mask of youth” that she wore. Ceruse was usually made up of a toxic mixture of lead and vinegar, although other ingredients like talc, ground minerals and pulverized beetle shells were sometimes added.
• Queen Victoria, who was a bitter ugly woman, condemned makeup because she was threatened by women more beautiful than her (nearly everyone) and deemed it a tool for Satanists and other undesirables.
• Portrait photography became popular at the end of the 1800’s and many people would only ever have the one picture taken. Because of the extravagance, they would save up money to sit for the one picture and applying makeup for it became standard.
• The founder of L’Oréal, Eugene Schueller, invented the modern synthetic hair dye in 1907.
• In 1914, Max Factor developed a greasepaint foundation that wouldn’t cake or crack. This new product exploded on to the market and movie studios clamored to use it on actors; who in turn, began to wear it even when they weren’t at the studio.
• Tom Lyle Williams started the Maybelline Company in 1915 after he saw his sister, Maybel, had a clever way to enhance her lashes with a concoction of petroleum jelly and coal dust.
• Makeup didn’t become socially acceptable until the 1920’s. The flood of convenient new cosmetic and makeup products hitting the market, as well as a boom in Hollywood films, catapulted the use of makeup into mainstream society.
• Eugene Schueller invented sunscreen in 1936.
• Makeup in the 1940’s was all about bold matte red lips, powder compacts and beauty guides.
• The 1950’s was the era of pink makeup and pastel colors prevailed. It was also the dawn of the eyelash curler and popularized the cat eyeliner look.