Beauty trends from Ancient Egypt
04 May 2015
The ancient Egyptians were just as concerned with their appearance as we are today. Although they may not have had the advanced beauty products we have available today, they made best use of what they did have. In many cases, the Egyptians were using natural ingredients such as henna and kohl – you may notice we still use these today.
Some of the eye make-up products that the Egyptians used may have even been beneficial for their eye health. In a hot country with limited hygiene, using products such as Kohl may have helped fight against disease. However, the Egyptians believed these benefits were magical rather than medicinal. They used quite a sophisticated process to synthesise the kohl, and used a green mineral called malachite as an eye shadow.
They also applied oils such as sesame oil to their skin, possibly to fight against wrinkles, and used other things such as honey and salt to treat and improve the skin.
Hair removal also seemed to be a high priority back then. Without the invention of laser hair removal or electrolysis, they were forced to use a method called body sugaring - a treatment that's still popular today as an alternative to waxing. It's thought epilation by sugaring has been carried out by humans since about 1900 BC.
Henna was used as a finger stain to dye the fingernails red and orange and to dye the hair. Hand painting with henna is obviously still popular in many parts of the world and is commonly used as a natural hair colouring.
ARE WE SO DIFFERENT?
Perhaps the biggest differences between us and the ancients is how socially acceptable it was for men to wear makeup and how important it was to look beautiful after death. Lots of Egyptian tombs have been found to contain lots of make up, presumably for those all-important touch ups in the afterlife!