And so makeup was born

Many of us love makeup, what few of us know is the origin of the East, because we have found an interesting article that tells us where this art was born.

Nowadays you can find any number of videos explaining that modern lipsticks are made with waxes, colors and oils. And depending on the brand you buy, the color could come from ground up insects; specifically, cochineal, from which carmine is obtained.

However, throughout history, cosmetics such as lipstick, eyeliner, and powdered face makeup they’ve been made with a bunch of different ingredients, some of which you’d better not get on your face.


Cleopatra She’s famous for her thick eyeliner, but she wasn’t the only ancient Egyptian to wear distinctive makeup. All the men and women of ancient Egypt painted their eyes with black and green powders. In addition to sun protection, people believed that this makeup also protected them from diseases.

And in a way, maybe they were right. Black kohl and other powders put on the eyelids contained lead salts; and in 2010, French researchers argued that these salts decreased the production of nitrogen monoxide, which strengthened the person’s immune system and prevented eye infections.

Appreciate the eye makeup on this limestone bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, ca. 1355 BC In ancient Egypt, lead was used for eye makeup. Photo: Victor R. Boswell, Jr.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should start lining your eyes with lead. Many ancient Egyptians did not live more than 30 years. Had they lived their average lifespan today, prolonged exposure to lead would likely have caused many health problems, as reported by epidemiologist Jennifer Weuve in an interview with Science magazine.


The women of the Roman Empire wore lead makeup to whiten their faces, and in the 16th century, English noblewomen adopted the custom. One of the most famous people to use lead makeup was Queen Elizabeth I, who applied it to cover smallpox scars.

Queen Elizabeth I used lead powder to cover smallpox scars on her skin. Photo: Hulton Archive, Getty Images

The mixture of lead and vinegar used by Elizabeth I is known as white lead from Venice or sugar from Saturn. Although it smoothed the skin on a daily basis, over time it caused skin discoloration, hair loss, and tooth decay.


In the late 19th century, American newspapers advertised wafer tins that, if eaten, promised to remove freckles, pimples, and other facial blemishes. Those products contained poison, but it was not a secret, because the label announced it, which said “Arsenic Wafers for Skin”.

Arsenic wafers were used by American women to remove skin blemishes like freckles and pimples. Photo: Diane Wendt, The National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

In the Victorian era it was known that the arsenic was poisonous, though perhaps the women thought a little wouldn’t hurt. Although tolerable in small amounts, ingesting arsenic carries great risk…unless you really want to have one. «Porcelain skin».

Taken from ngenespanol