Ancient Egyptians as masters of cosmetics

Ancient Egyptians as masters of cosmetics

Ancient Egyptians were masters of cosmetics. They had a high standard of hygiene - bathed every day and used perfumes & makeup.

Some of the ingredients they used are a mystery to this day & some are well known.

Here are the secrets of ancient Egypt cosmetics.

Beauty was a sign of holiness in ancient Egypt.

Both men & women wore makeup.

The cosmetics industry was very developed and makeup, balms and other cosmetic items were regularly traded. They even buried makeup in tombs.

Cosmetics were produced by professionals who were highly praised in society. But they were also harshly judged if their products didn’t meet the expected quality standards.

To make sure they achieve this high standard for their products they used only the best available natural ingredients such as animal fats, essential oils, finest natural colourants…

They then combined these ingredients with advanced manufacturing methods.

☀️ Morning Routine

Every morning ancient Egyptians would have a sophisticated morning routine that is more similar to a beauty influencer today than what you imagine someone doing 5000 years ago.

1. Bathing

The first thing they would do after waking up is to take a bath. Every household had basins and jugs to wash their face & body.

They also had specific foot-washing basins.

They used natural soaps made from tallow or lard.

2. Face cream

After morning baths ancient Egyptians would apply face cream. They used this as sun protection and moisturizer.

Creams were used to moisturize the skin but also to prevent wrinkles. They would also use mixed natural oils for this.

Honey was applied to the skin as it helps to heal scars. They also crushed lotus flowers and used different oils as pomades.

Their creams were a mix of animal fats as the base - very similar to tallow balm available today.

3. Makeup

Makeup was a religion in ancient Egypt. They believed everyone needs to be clean and presentable to partake in the afterlife.

Both men & women wore makeup.

They would mostly focus on the area around the eyes. Green and black were used to emphasize the size of their eyes.

They used paint derived from black kohl. This was produced from the mineral galena in the mountain regions of Sinai. They would grind it and mix it with oils to make a cream.

4. Manicure & pedicure

Egyptians walked mostly barefoot so they had to take care of their fingers and toenails.

Upper classes had their manicurists.

This was a clear sign of wealth and power.

5. Perfumes

Perfumes were a big deal in ancient Egypt. The most popular one was kyphi. It was made of frankincense, myrrh, mastic, pine resin, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, juniper, mint and other herbs & spices.

Perfumes were expensive and only the upper classes could afford them.

Wearing perfume was a sign of wealth and success.

Egyptians loved sweet & spicy perfumes that filled the air with their heady, long-lasting aroma.

Peasants and common folks who couldn’t afford kyphi would mix their perfumes from flowers and herbs. They would mash them into a paste and combine them with oils.

6. Toothpaste & mints

And when you thought it’s done Egyptians still manage to surprise you. They also used tooth powder and mints to have clean teeth and fresh breath.

Ancient Egyptians were the first ones to use toothpaste and toothbrush. You can say they started the big toothpaste business.

One of the earliest toothpaste recipes included mint, rock salt, pepper, and dried iris flower.

They would ground it all into a powder and use a primitive toothbrush made from sticks. They eventually developed a toothbrush design and used a stick with papyrus plant strips as bristles.

They would also check their breath during the day and chew mints.

Breath mints were also a product made from frankincense, cinnamon, melon, pine seeds, and cashews mixed with honey. They would heat the mixture and make small candies from it once cooled.

To summarize, ancient Egyptians were big fans of cosmetics and makeup.

They used:

  1. Soaps - bathed daily
  2. Face creams - tallow balm
  3. Makeup - both men & women
  4. Manicure & pedicure
  5. Perfumes
  6. Toothpaste & toothbrush


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