What is the history of cosmetics?

What is cosmetics?

The word "cosmetics" comes from the Greek, from the verb "kosméo" which means "I order" or "I decorate" means. A cosmetic article is any care and thus, improvement, regeneration or maintenance of the body. The cosmetics themselves aim in different ways to improve the appearance and well-being. By cleaning, perfuming or maintaining the natural body image is to be improved. There is also the decorative cosmetics, which is out to retouch, contour and model the complexion.[1]

What is the history of cosmetics?

Even in prehistoric times, face paintings have been applied, e.g. Finds from Spain and France. The most famous but are the early civilizations of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.[2]

The Egyptians:

The Egyptians were probably the first to advertise cosmetics in such a way. For them, body hygiene and purity were extremely important. They had a wide range of active ingredients and tools. e.g. Creams and ointments or perfumes, with milk, honey, sea salt, aloe vera, roses, and different vegetable oils, e.g. Almond, myrrh, and lily oil. But they also used decorative agents such as the green malachite, the red cinnabar or the silvery galena. Here, especially the make-up of the eyes was important, so much so that the sign of the Egyptian eye stood for the word beauty. [3]

The Greeks:

In Greece it was similar but here a greater emphasis was put in care and smell. But even decorative, the faces were laminated with lead white. In addition, a variety of mixtures were designed here.[4]

The Romans:

The Romans made a distinction in cosmetics, they shared the consumption of cosmetics from the very simple to very luxurious life.They used countless ingredients, concoctions and tinctures, with rose olive oil, beeswax and expensive exotic fragrances. Here was the cosmetics but also for the first time in criticism.[5]

Early Christianity:

In early Christianity, ointment oils have become an important cultural commodity, e.g. Hospital anointings or for baptism. However, the cosmetics were criticized more because women should go more to inner values, according to the belief. Who uses cosmetics was titled as narcissistic.[6]

The Middle Ages:

Towards the Middle Ages, the church prevailed in Europe strong, and so expensive cosmetics was considered even pagan. Women who nevertheless used cosmetics, especially decorative ones, were discredited and suspected of prostitution. At the same time, cosmetics flourished in the Ottoman area, with the largest rose-growing area in Europe.[7]

The Renaissance:

Here, the cosmetics were only gaining in importance, and was also enriched by the early beginnings of chemistry. Cosmetics found a big boost in use especially in powders, pomades and generous amounts of perfume. This was prevalent mainly in the upper circles, and spread throughout the Baroque and Rococo.[8]

The Industrial Revolution:

From the middle of the 18th century to the 19th century, the "naturalness was rediscovered", whereby decorative cosmetics have fallen into disrepute again. The care was based on old findings on aloe vera, rose water, oils, etc., and expanded this with scientific novelties.[9]

The modern era:

In the 20th century, the cosmetics industry exploded. It started with a few companies from France, and local companies followed quickly. Not only the applicative, but also the decorative cosmetics had risen. The science, especially the chemistry had also come to great conclusions at that time, and enriched the cosmetics in addition. This resulted in many claims, wishes and interests of customers and industries at the same time. Tattoos and piercings, which were previously intended for outcasts, came more and more in fashion. However, this enormous boom meant that the look and body image now wanted to be embellished at any cost. The entire appearance, clothing, hair, body, face etc. were now important parts of society. To increase the attractiveness and erotic countless preparations, cures and treatments, as well as make-up products and home remedies came to light. And people were just too willing to try them all. From a full body cleanser were shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, hair straightener, hair fixator, etc. From a color of powder are whole pallets with colors and functions for different areas. And with increasing demands and ideals, the market is growing with offers. Often, however, was only paid to the appearance, but not on the health. Everything that was promised to help was also used, so preparations with lead and mercury salts, Tollkirschen tinctures, even hydrochloric acid, ammonia and hydrogen peroxide or even radioactive radium came on the market.[10]

The 21st century

All these dangerous practices have been stopped by EU Regulation 1223/2009 since 2013. Some, e.g. the consumption of radium was already abolished before that. The contents, which are forbidden or restricted, are registered in the CosIng database. In addition, the INCI should provide information about the exact content of a cosmetic product. However, despite strict rules and regulations, the problem of secularism has remained in many developing countries, and the local people are reaching for every straw they have. For example, In Africa, skin lightening is still operated with mercury.[11]

The natural cosmetics as another branch:

Natural cosmetics have been an additional branch of the cosmetics industry for quite some time, and are becoming increasingly popular. It has no exact description, only the commonly associated values ​​of man and the environment form its definition. At Naturkosmetik it is about the well-groomed, gentle and respectful treatment of man and nature. Some want, apart from a lot of chemistry, others do something good for nature. For something to be called natural cosmetics, it has to meet certain criteria in terms of ecology. For example, Plants that are used are grown in accordance with certain regulations and must not be threatened with extinction. In addition, e.g. no arable land created by deforestation, or extensive chemical processes are used.[12]



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