Ancient Cosmetics

In the last two weeks, my husband and I made a Washington D.C trip to visit the Ancient Egyptian exhibit. The exhibit was called the Queens of Egypt. My fasincation with the culture of Ancient Egypt of course relates to beauty. Beauty was a woman’s way of self identity and expression, as it is today. The real difference is that it classified your “status”. Not only was a for rank but for the everyday activities and the afterlife.

A queen would wear certain colors and embraced the role she played. As we went throughout the exhibit, we came across the “lifestyle of the queens”; their lifestyle was no different than ours. They did have cosmetic bags or boxes, eyeliners, creams, foundations, perfume bottles etc.

According to some of the displays, the reason the Egyptians wore black eyeliner below and above the lid was to prevent UV rays from the sun for protection. In order to make it, they used Galena or kohl. This distinctive look is an easily recognizable icon of Egyptian Style, but its primary function was for hygiene. hThe ancient eyeliner had antibacterial properties which protected against eye infections. This was a frequent occurrence in the dry climate, hence protection from the UV sun rays. However, our culture uses it more for dramatic smokey eye look! What are the odds! At least the Egyptians had an actual reason!!!  

Just like the modern makeup artist, the use of makeup compartments was very popular as well. They had small wooden compartments to store away cosmetics for their travels.