Discovering Make-up Through The Ages. Part One – Egypt

May 17, 2011 by Magic Quill  
Published in Makeup

As if you need any more excuses to wear eye liner….


Egyptians wore make up regardless of gender or social status, but it was not purely vanity that prompted them to colour their faces, there were other reasons too. Firstly there were practical reasons. Kohl eye liners contained lead sulphite which is an antiseptic. The makeup would act as a defence against eye ailments like conjunctivitis in such a hot climate. Black protects against the glare of the sun and it is believed that Egyptians encouraged the use of such make-up for this purpose. Kohl black eyes also deterred insects.

The Egyptians also had spiritual reasons for wearing eye makeup. Painting their eyes up in the style of the Eye of Horus acted as a good luck symbol, rather like an amulet, a charm. Horace was the god of power, protection and health and the Egyptians desired his favour.

Preparing Kohl was a lengthy process and often took as long as one month to complete. Nowadays it is manufactured and comes in handy sticks and pencils. We do not have to grind down the original components.

Green eye shadow was made from Malachite mined in the Sinai Desert. Green symbolised the cobra of protection and of fertility and rebirth into the afterlife.

The Egyptians made brown hues from burnt almonds, yellows from saffron and ochre. Make up bases were created using goose fat .They coloured their lips with red ochre.

Hair was dyed using Henna, in much the same way as women use it today. The nails were  painted with Henna as well, giving them an orange appearance.

The Egyptians took pride in their skin and bathed regularly using oils and fragrances such as the sweet scented Sandalwood

The prophets in the time of the birth of Christ brought the perfume Myrrh as a gift to the baby boy. They were prophets of doom because as well as being a fragrance used by the living, Myrrh was also used in Ancient times to embalm the dead.

If you enjoyed  this article you may like to read

Discovering Make Up through the Ages Part 2

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One Response to “Discovering Make-up Through The Ages. Part One – Egypt”
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