25 Cool Makeup History Facts You’ll Want To Know

From ancient Egyptians to Queen Elizabeth I to the frosted purple Urban Decay lipstick currently in your purse, makeup has been a part of culture for women and men for thousands of years. In the US alone, the beauty and cosmetics industry made over 62 BILLION dollars in revenue in 2016. In order to appreciate where our contour came from, here are 25 Cool Makeup History Facts You’ll Want To Know.


During the Middle Ages, women in Europe would paint their faces white, pluck their eyebrows (sometimes completely!) shave or pluck their hairlines higher, and use generous amounts of rouge. They also made lip balms by melting beeswax and oil together, which is not too terribly different from the Burt's Bee's lip balm we use today.

Leonardo_da_Vinci_-_Mona_Lisa_(detail)_-_WGA12713Source: http://rosaliegilbert.com

Around 3000 BC, Chinese Royalty and upper class citizens (both men and women) would use natural dyes to stain their fingernails bright colors, from gold to red or even black. Lower class people were not allowed to dye their nails.

The_Imperial_Portrait_of_a_Chinese_Emperor_called_-Daoguang-Source: http://www.tiki-toki.com


In addition to chalk and rice powder, the world over, women sometimes used white lead mixed with vinegar to lighten their skin. The makeup would cause eyes to swell and become inflamed, as well as change the texture of skin and sometimes even cause it to blacken. Queen Elizabeth I was well known to use white lead face makeup to cover her poor skin, sometimes nearly an inch thick. Yes, people knew that using too much lead could lead to death, but they continued on anyway. Hey, we know that pesticides are really bad for you, but how many people mock others for only eating organic? Good to know Humans haven't chanced much.

Elizabeth_I_in_coronation_robesSource: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/

In the 28th century during the French Restoration period, the French often wore red rogue and lipstick to give the impression of a healthy and fun spirit. People in other countries, being Jealous of how amazing the French were, started to claim they found this unattractive and that the French only painted themselves because they had something to hide.

Vigée_Le_Brun_-_Élisabeth_of_France_VersaillesSource: http://www.medusasmakeup.com


One fun beauty regime during the 1800's was to use belladonna drops to dilate the pupils and make one's eyes appear larger and more luminous. During this time, hair dye was also made out of coal tar, and many cosmetics contained Mercury. And yes, they knew they were poisonous.

skeletonfixedSource: http://ancientstandard.com

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