The history of cosmetics

Cosmetics have been produced and used for millennia. Naturally, the word is Greek in its origins, but historians and scientists say that cosmetic products have existed for over 6000 years. Many even claim that cosmetics have been around for more than 100 000 years; at this time, during the Stone Age in Africa, rose we – the species of Homo sapiens – who began using minerals such as red ochre for expression. Similar to the fun games of role-play that occurred in my childhood home, our ancestors used ochre to decorate their bodies with its pigment. Therefore it is argued that this form of body art is the earliest artistic expression and it is also speculated that the ochre was used in rituals – hence being a big part of human culture. Furthermore, evidence of the use of cosmetics in ancient Egypt and Greece has been found. The ancient Egyptians produced oils and creams out of natural ingredients to create protection for various purposes – probably against sunlight, for instance. They also made lotions and ointments to treat injuries and remedies to reduce signs of aging. Apart from red ochre, the ingredients could include beeswax and various tree juices.

Another culture where cosmetics were produced was in the Middle Eastern empire of Persia. The ancient Persians used kohl to express imagination and accentuate their eyes, which can be the purpose of the contemporary equivalent eyeliners. In the 10th century, a Persian man called Al-Zharawi both taught and traded cosmetics. He communicated his teachings by writing an encyclopaedia, in which he comprised comprehensive information about medicine. Presumably, he was a scholar of the science who regarded cosmetics as being medical aid. Al-Zahrawi apparently traded in perfumes and aromatic products that are thought to be early versions of modern creams and lotions. Moreover, one can also read about cosmetics in the Old Testament, where it is written that many characters used cosmetic products to enhance beauty. Furthermore, the ancient Romans reportedly also used kohl to accentuate their eyes, as well as other products to pale the complexion of their skin. In conclusion, one can say that human ingenuity and vanity resulted in great creativity as it relates to cosmetics long ago.

The history of cosmetics

The history of cosmetics

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