Makeup: A Turbulent History

For more than 6,000 years, civilizations around the world have been using makeup. In addition to the traditional purpose of enhancing beauty, makeup has also been a major component in many religions, a form of personal and gender identity, and even a perceived deterrent for diseases and bad fortune.

Makeup - An Amazing History

History of Makeup

Toxic Beginnings
No matter what the purpose for using makeup, it has undergone a turbulent history or acceptance and rejection. The first archeological evidence of makeup use was in ancient Egypt, when women would outline their eyes with kohl and use the (highly toxic) combination of iodine and bromine to color their lips. During this time, the makeup not only served as tools of beauty, but also helped protect the women’s eyes from the sun and was believed to ward off evil spirits.

Social Status

During the European Middle Ages, pale skin was a sign of wealth and high social status in many areas of the world and some people took drastic measures to achieve their desired look. The use of white lead and mercury were particularly common, even after the dangers of these substances were widely known. In some extreme cases, some women actually took to bleeding themselves to achieve a paler complexion.

“Devil’s Work”

As time went on, the ‘reputation’ of those who used makeup changed drastically. “Face painting” was declared to be “the devil’s work” starting in the 1650s and in 1770, the British Parliament actually passed a law condemning lipstick, stating that women who were ‘guilty’ of wearing it to seduce men into marriage could be tried for witchcraft. This negative connotation with wearing makeup continued well into the 1800s.

Hollywood Influence

The next stage of makeup’s evolution began in the early 1900s, when the stigma of “face painting” was fading and women were beginning to openly use and purchase cosmetics. The popularity of silent films of Hollywood further propelled the common use of makeup back into popularity and its widespread acceptance continued to grow throughout the first half of the century.

Popular & Available

Makeup began to lose favor with many women during the 1960s and 1970s in the western world as the influence of feminism grew. In today’s world, makeup has once again become commonplace in most societies. There are thousands of different types of cosmetics available in a wide variety of styles and types. No matter what type of ‘look’ you’re trying to achieve, there’s countless makeup tools to help you!

With the popularity of makeup only continuing to rise, do you have the right tools to keep up with today’s customer demand? For more than 150 years, Savage Bros. has been the premier manufacturer of makeup making equipment and supplies. From cosmetic melters and conditioners to artisan cosmetic baking machinery and everything in between, Savage Bros. is the go-to Illinois cosmetic equipment supplier. Call us today to find out more about our expansive product offerings and how our supplies can help your makeup business thrive!