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Use of cosmetics throughout history

Our appearance plays a significant role today. We are constantly working to make us look and smell good. Yet this is not a contemporary phenomenon. Our appearance, and therefore the use of cosmetic products, is something that has always existed. Over the years, a lot has changed in the use of cosmetic products. People have now become much more alert to the components that are incorporated in it. They make conscious choices when it comes to smear or spray something on the skin. How did this go before? What kind of products were used a hundred years ago? Or even further back, in ancient Egypt?

Ancient Egypt

For the ancient Egyptians, life was a celebration, and so personal hygiene was a significant social value. The Egyptians washed themselves every day, were utterly bald to prevent lice and used cosmetics, perfumes, and mints regularly. The personal appearance was so incredibly important that some spells from The Egyptian Book of the Dead specify that one cannot speak them in the life after death if one is not cleaned and presentable. Not only were cosmetics used to 'improve' the personal appearance, but also for someone's health. The ingredients used in the cosmetics, almost always oils, helped soften the skin, protect them from sunburnt, protect the eyes, and improve their self-esteem. These cosmetics were made by professionals who took their work very seriously. If their manufactured product did not meet the user's expectations, it would be judged harshly.


The Renaissance period was an interesting time for fashion, cosmetic and hair trends. Both Italy and France emerged as the main centres of the production of cosmetics. Additionally, only the people with the most power and money had access. This shows that cosmetics played a significant role in the division between rich and poor.

In the manufacturing of most products, arsenic and lead was used. Both of these ingredients are highly poisonous, which can lead to health hazards. Often, women used these toxic ingredients to lighten their skin, a sign of beauty. One of the women who used to lighten her skin a lot is

Queen Elizabeth I of England, with which she creates a look known as “the Mask of Youth.”

20th century

In the 20th century, the use of make-up played a significant role in the life of women. One of the reasons for this was the influence of ballet- and theatre stars. People started experimenting with make-up. Also, the interest in skincare products grew at this time. The arrival of electricity extended the use of cosmetic products. Not only did the use of cosmetics grew a lot, similarly did the interest in organic products grew. People became more aware of what kind of ingredients were being put in the cosmetic products. In 1938 a law banned the sale of cosmetics with any “poisonous or deleterious substance,” or any “filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance,” and the 1970s saw “natural ingredients” being incorporated into cosmetics to satisfy the growing need for organic products.

What about now?

As you could have read in the blog, cosmetics have always been trendy. What has changed, however, is the attitude of the users. Since the last decade, people have become much more aware of the products they use. As a company, we are growing along with this development. Because whether it concerns selecting the raw materials or treating our people, sustainability is the standard.

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