The History of Beauty

Serving Hollidaysburg, State College, Johnstown, DuBois, and Nearby Pennsylvania

Posted: September 17, 2012

Ever wonder how women in the early centuries could have possibly survived without skincare or makeup? Well, they didn’t! Skin care and cosmetics date back to around 3000 BC, when the Chinese would create nail polish from gum arabic, egg whites, gelatin, and beeswax. In early 1500 BC, people would use sandpaper as an exfoliate and smooth texture, much like we use microdermabrasion machines today. Ancient Egyptians, such as Cleopatra, would soak in milk baths to soften their skin (due to the lactic acid), and used pumice stones and olive oil to exfoliate and moisturize. They also used crushed minerals, such as malachite, to create pigments for their eyes, lips, and cheeks, as well as used kohl (a paste from soot, animal fat, and lead) as an eyeliner. Ancient Greeks would use olive oil all over their bodies, then coat themselves with dust to create a physical block from the sun.

Around the 15th century, the paler one was, the more beautiful. Because of this, cosmetics,again made with lead, were created to achieve this “white” look. Lead was mixed with vinegar to create foundations, was the first ingredient in early chemical peels, and was used to remove freckles and blemishes as a spot treatment. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the effects of lead
were discovered, including disfigurement, infertility, and often death to those who used large amounts of the chemical element. It was finally banned from cosmetic use in 1938.

Here is a list of important years in the cosmetic/skincare business:
* 1907 - Eugene Schueller, a chemist, created the first safe hair dye, and creates L’oreal.
* 1909 - Max Factor, of today’s MaxFactor cosmetics, opens his first store in Los Angeles.
* 1910 - Elizabeth Arden Salon is opened on Saks Fifth Ave in New York. The creator, Florence

Nightengale Graham, is the first to mix science with cosmetics, and creates the modern-day

*1917 - T.L. Williams, founder of Maybelline, creates the first modern mascara after being inspired by his sister, Maybel.
*1920s - Greta Garbo, Hollywood star, popularizes the thick eyebrow, introducing and boosting sales of eyeliner throughout the country.
*1936 - Eugene Schueller, the creator of L’oreal, invents chemical sunscreen.
*1944 - Coppertone Suntan Cream is created when a Miami pharmacist develops a sunscreen for the soldiers fighting in World War II.
*1960s - Exaggerated eye makeup and pale skin is back in, thanks to supermodel Twiggy
*1970s - As the Feminist Movement flourishes, the natural look is in. More emphasis is put on skincare and having beautiful natural skin than the on the cosmetics.
*1980s - Women invade the workforce, and dark, dramatic makeup, along with very large shoulder pads, take over.
*1990s - Natural look comes full circle again, this time with better advertising of the “no makeup”look with help from supermodels Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington.
*Today - Beauty and skin trends change constantly, with more science coming behind many of the cosmeceutical companies. Organic and mineral makeups are extremely popular, with many women not wanted to put any extra chemicals in their bodies. Sun protection is at an alltime high with technology, with many antioxidant products coming out that perform as well as a sunscreen can.

Imagine - with all of the changes and inventions and technology that has been developed over the last 3500 years, what our grandchildren, or even great-great grandchildren will be using on their skin!


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