Where it all began

Archaeological evidence has shown makeup dates back to ancient Egypt and Greece in 10,000 BCE. Egyptian used makeup as a way to please their Gods, while the Greeks used makeup to improve their appearance for each other. 

Egyptian women used mesdement, a mixture of copper and lead ore, around their eyes. They put green shades on the lower eyelids and black or dark gray to the eyelashes and upper eyelids.  The women also added to their eyes of almond shapes of dark colored powder called kohl. It had a combination of ingredients such as burnt almonds, oxidized copper, copper ores, lead, ash, and ochre. The dark colors were believed to ward off evil eyes and kohl was believed to have medicinal benefits.

Greecian women desired white complexion so they painted their faces with chalk or white lead. They also appled crushed mulberries on their cheeks, fake eyebrows made of oxen hair, and ochre clays laced with red iron to their lips.

Women from other countries applied makeup as well, such as China, Japan, and India.

Like Greecian women, Chinese and Japanese women desired a white complexion so they painted their faces with rice powder. Sometimes, geishas in Japan would use bird droppings to make their complexion lighter. It was also common for Chinese and Japanese women to shave off their eyebrows, paint their teeth gold or black, and apply henna dyes to stain their hair and faces.

However, Chinese women stained their fingernails with gum, arabic, gelatin, beeswax, and egg. The colors they used represent their social class. For an example, Chou dynasty royals wore gold and silver, subsequent royals wore black or red, and lower classes are forbidden to wear bright colors on their nails.

In Japan, geishas used crushed safflower petals to paint the lips, eyebrows and edges of the eyes. As a base for makeup, a geisha used sticks made of bintsuke wax, which was a softer version of the sumo wrestlers’ hair wax.

Women in India used henna as hair dye and in mehndi. It’ s an art form, which complex designs are painted on the hands and feet.

Regardless the region, makeup can be dated back to thousands of years ago.