Beauty! We all look for beauty in our life, we appreciate it, we admire it and we cant live without it. We seek beauty in nature, in art, in our home and most important in ourselves. People say that beauty comes from inside, if this is true, then why do women care so much about wearing makeup? Makeup is the greatest invention for women because it has given them the opportunity to improve their physical appearance and become more beautiful; which is what they aspire for. Women want to be more beautiful for two reasons, first, self fulfillment, and second, to become more attractive which lifts their spirit and gives them overwhelming happiness. This is not only true of women today but has been true for centuries.
Makeup is as old as the Pyramids of Giza, which is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. The first evidence of makeup appeared in ancient Egypt 4000 years ago. It might be possible that the art of makeup existed before the Egyptians but the recorded history doesn’t take us that far back in time.
Fashion and personal appearance was high priority among ancient Egyptians. Applying makeup was a part of everyday rituals and lifestyle for Egyptians. Makeup was worn by both male and female, young and old, rich and poor. The royalty of the time and the wealthy hired face painters to apply their makeup for them. Those who could not afford a face painter applied their own.
If you look through any of the portraits of ancient Egyptians that are painted on the walls of the temples and tombs in Egypt, you will find that they are all consistent in having meticulously and beautifully outlined and ornamented eyes. It is virtually impossible to find a portrait of an ancient Egyptian whose eyes are not decorated. During all periods and dynasties, eye makeup was a daily prerequisite for both men and women. Not only did the men and women of Egypt wear makeup but also the statues of their gods and goddesses were adorned with all these different types of cosmetics.
Eye makeup is certainly the trademark of the ancient Egyptian makeup style, black and green were the main colors used. The contour of the eye was made from Kohl, to create the almond shape which has become synonymous with the Ancient Egyptians. Kohl, which is the black coloring was obtained from galena, a natural mineral. They also used the color green for their eyes. The green coloring was achieved with a green pigment called malachite, which is a copper ore.
To compliment their eye make up, ancient Egyptians used a type of rouge to color their lips and cheeks. The red coloring was obtained from red ochre, a pigment made from naturally tinted clay.
To paint their nails and color their hair, ancient Egyptians used henna, a dye obtained from the leaves and shoots of the henna shrub, a native plant to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa.
Ancient Egyptians used make up not only for cosmetic reasons, but also for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Ancient Egyptian Physicians prescribed the use of kohl to prevent eye diseases. It was used for its disinfectant qualities. Kohl also offered a shield for the eye against the sun and a deterrent to flies.
The green eye makeup used by the Ancient Egyptians was believed to induce or evoke the eye of Horus, the God of the Sky & Sun, which provided protection to them. Also it was believed that the green eye makeup protected them against the evil eye as well.
Makeup was also important in the afterlife. Egyptians cared so much about how they would present themselves before the gods during the Judgment of the Dead. They wanted to make sure that their physical appearance was at its best when facing the gods on this day to give a good impression. That is why, eye makeup equipment (palettes, grinders, applicators) have been found among the earliest burials of the pre-dynastic period and this practice continued in the following dynasties.
We can not talk about makeup and beauty during the Ancient Egyptian times without mentioning the beautiful Nefertiti (her name means the beautiful one has come) who is the royal wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. It is said that even in the ancient world, her beauty was famous. The statue of her bust that is 3300-year-old is one of the most famous pieces of Egyptian history. Due to her bust, Nefertiti has become an icon of female beauty. The iconic bust of Nefertiti is available in the Berlin Museum as part of the Egyptian collection.
It is so amazing that some of these things are used today. Kohl is still available and is used in many Arab countries. Henna is also still used for coloring the hair and temporary tattoos.
Some things just don’t change!
We’d like to thank Lina Aboud for authoring to ezine.
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