makeup throughout history

Makeup throughout history

Have you ever wondered when did people start to change their appearance with “makeup”? Or what kind of products have been used as makeup through the ages? In this post you will find answers to questions like what were primal makeup products made of, when did lip gloss enter the market, also what products have people been using to manipulate their face skin shade and many other interesting facts. So, what has makeup been like throughout history?

Makeup in the beginning – with what products and what price?

The history of makeup dates back to several millennia. As early as 4000 years BC, Egyptian women used makeup to add some complexion and definition to their faces. They even took their makeup boxes to parties and held them under their chairs. The first eyeshadows in Egypt were bright green and made of a mineral called malachite.

1500 years BC, Chinese and Japanese women tried to whiten their faces with rice powder and used henna to color their hair. Around 500 years later, talc and led face powder were introduced for the same purpose.

In the first century before Christ, Egyptian women were already using makeup with a wide variety of colors. The makeup products were made from various rocks, minerals, and plants found in the area.

Makeup trends throughout history

Cleopatra, who lived in the same century, created a look that is honored and used even today. Her makeup usually consisted of a deep blue eyeshadow on the upper eyelid, which was further decorated with a small golden dot made with pyrite, also with green tones on the lower eyelid, an accented liner line, and red lipstick. She also used the liner to shade her eyelashes and eyebrows.

In the Middle Ages, light skin was considered a symbol of wealth in Europe. It was a sign that a person hadn’t had to work out in the sun all day. In 14th century England, women tried to lighten their faces by covering them with egg whites.

In Renaissance Europe, makeup was mainly used by aristocrats. Italy and France became the focal points for the production of makeup products. A thick layer of bright pink blush was very characteristic of this era. To make the face look lighter, white lead paint was also introduced. The ingredients found in cosmetics of that time, such as lead and mercury, were in fact very dangerous, causing serious health problems for users, ranging from hair loss and digestive problems to deadly poisonings.

Makeup trends in recent centuries

Even in the first decade of the 20th century, the usage of makeup was not widely popular and was considered rather practice for prostitutes. In the 1910s, however, makeup quickly gained popularity in Europe and the United States because of ballet and theatre stars. A real makeup revolution had begun. The first mascara was produced and the first pressed powders were released to the market.

In the 1920s and 30s, many major manufacturers of cosmetics that still dominate the industry today were created. Red lipstick became extraordinarily popular and the first lip glosses were produced. By the 1950s more than 90% of Western women colored their lips.

Make-up also became more natural and skin-friendly with time. In the 1960s, blush that until then had been quite thick and heavy in its consistency became lighter and more natural in color. In the 1970s, people became more and more interested in the composition of their own make-up products and thus the marketing of allergen-free cosmetics began. The selection of makeup products for dark-skinned women also expanded.

The road to the cruelty-free makeup

For the past 25 years, cruelty-free makeup that has not been tested on animals has gained a lot of popularity. Other test methods have been developed to determine the safety of products and ingredients and this has allowed manufacturers to abandon animal testing. Also, in many countries legislation has been amended so that it no longer requires testing different products on animals or even bans animal-testing as such.

In the USA in 2000, California was the first state to renounce the requirement of animal testing. In the European Union, the testing of finished make-up products on animals was banned in 2004 and since 2013, products tested on animals are banned from the market. In recent years, many other countries around the world have done the same and in many places, the relevant bill is being discussed or coming into force in the coming years. In 2014, even China abandoned mandatory animal testing for most locally produced makeup. Unfortunately, the requirement for animal testing still remains for imported cosmetic products.

PHB Eyes Lips Cosmetics Set Day

Due to the increase in demand and consumer pressure, many manufacturers, in addition to abandoning animal testing, have also introduced vegan makeup that doesn’t contain any animal-ingredients. A large number of companies have arisen and are focusing solely on cruelty-free or vegan cosmetics.


Nowadays, women have every opportunity to choose the makeup that is safe and skin-friendly and no other living creature has been hurt while producing it. Reasons not to choose a cruelty-free and vegan makeup are decreasing day by day. The variety of such products is so wide that everyone can find the products that will match their skin type and shade and are suitable for their budget. The growing selection of cruelty-free vegan makeup and skincare products are available in ILUSPEKTER’s website.