Trying to enhance yourself to make you look more beautiful is nothing new. Ancient cultures also tried to look the best although the big difference is that today make up and beauty products are waaaayyyy safer. Let’s look at some examples from the ancient world.
Roman women loved face masks after a bath. Because the standard of beauty at the time was for one to have a pale face, Roman women used crocodile dunk, they believed that it could permanently lighten your skin, chalk powder and white lead which is very poisonous!
For blusher the rich Romans either used Cinnabar pigments, containing Mercury, or Red lead. Both options where really toxic but very effective. For poorer women there was the option to use red ocher or crushed poppies.
Eye liner was really popular in the ancient world. A beauty standard popularized in ancient Egypt. The ancients used kohl, a substance made from coal that is still in use with a slightly chanced recipe.
Women of the ancient world also liked to dye their hair. Ancient Egyptians saw darker hair as the ideal beauty standard. Their dye recipe to achieve darker colored hair contained lead oxide and slaked lime (calcium hydroxide). Rich women of Rome that wanted lighter hair color filled their hair with actual gold shavings or used the ammonia in urine to bleach their hair.
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