The Start And Evolution Of Make-Up

By Ashita Bhandari

Make-up is not just a recent fad. Believe it or not it has been worn in some way or other, for religious practices, beauty, customs or health. The earliest records for the use of makeup are found with the Egyptians (yeah no surprises!), which date back 6000 years ago. It was not just women, but men wore makeup too!


The ancient Egyptians, as we all know, highlighted their eyes the most. They painted their eyes green and black. The shades were derived from grinding minerals and ores such as malachite and copper and mixing them with oil or fat to form a paste. Yes they were so advanced! But wait there’s more. They weren’t behind on using creams, lotions and perfumes either. Crushed lotus flowers, plant (papyrus) oil and honey were used as lotions and creams to keep their skin hydrated and get rid of scars. It is also said that makeup was used to ward off insects!

The Romans soon after started using cosmetics primarily for darkening eyelashes and eyelids, colouring their faces and , whitening their complexion by white lead and chalks.

Plautus, a popular philosopher, believed,


“A woman without paint is like food without salt.”


During the European middle ages, pale skin was a sign of wealth. Women took measures as extreme as bleeding themselves to whiten their skin. The Persians used henna to dye their hair and faces in order to summon deities.


However, this price of beauty was too high. The use of lead and arsenic in cosmetics proved to be fatal and caused hundreds of deaths. Slowly, pale skin began to be associated with illness. That’s when rouge cheeks, dark eyes basically heavy makeup became popular.



In the 1910s, makeup gained popularity among the masses. The first commercial mascara was formulated by the name of Mabel (now known as Maybelline). Max Factor introduced his pancake makeup in 1914.

Over time makeup has been experimented with and evolved. Today, there are all possible products for every part of the body. The fashion for men’s makeup is slowly taking over again. Makeup now knows no religious or social constraints. It has become interminable in all our lives.


“You are not born glamorous, glamour is created.”

– Max Factor



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