Thursday, March 6, 2008

Makeup Tips for Time Travelers

A historical perspective on cosmetics
By Liz Jasper

When researchers dig around in old caves looking for remnants of early civilizations, they expect to find chipped stone blades, maybe some hollowed out rocks for grinding grains, certainly a little cave art on the walls to make things homey. But makeup?
Yup. Anthropologists recently excavated 57 lumps of hematite, an earthy red pigment, in a cave near the southern tip of South Africa. It seems even 164,000 years ago, people were not immune to the seductive power of body paint.
Through most of history, men wore cosmetics just as much as women, sometimes more. Ancient Egyptian men painted their lips, cheeks, and eyes, softened their skin and hands with scented oils, and carried makeup in special jars kept in makeup boxes. Vikings wore makeup, especially kohl, a mixture of soot and other stuff.
When Alexander the Great defeated King Darius after the battle of Issos, Alex stormed into the king’s tent and threw out the vanquished ruler’s makeup box of priceless ointments and perfumes. Alexander later established a botanical garden to be used for makeup and skincare products, In 100 AD Rome, it was fashionable for men to lighten their hair—until they realized the caustic bleach made their hair fall out. And in a cautionary tale that we should always seek to learn from history lest we repeat it, blond hair came back in style for men during the reign of Elizabeth I of England—until their hair started falling out, leading to the hot new style of wigs for men.

Read the rest of this article free in Lady Jaided magazine or Cerridwen Press newsletter.

Liz Jasper is the author of Underdead, a paranormal mystery novel published by Cerridwen Press.

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