After having major #tbt feels earlier, from looking through Facebook at the glory days of “Rachel” hairdos and cringing at way too many pictures featuring Claire’s glitter eyeshadow; the BloomMe Girls got to thinking about beauty routines and trends from even further back in the day of crimping hair and crop tops. Being way too scared to go down the 80s route, we decided to look at ancient beauty habits, techniques and rituals, going as far back as the ancient Egyptians and discover that the world of beauty has always been a topic of interest and a prominent part of society. Are you ready for the BloomMe Girls to show you the weird, the wonderful and the down right gross side of history’s forgotten ancient beauty world.
Lead the way…
Need a good eyeliner? Lead. Face whitening? Lead. Premature death? Lead.
Yes, unfortunately we seem to be pretty forgetful when it comes to using lead as a beauty tool. Although the Egyptians only used lead as an eyeliner, Ancient Romans used white lead for face whitening before switching over to chalk; due to the mass amounts of deaths caused by poisoning, as well increased miscarriages, infertility cases and mental defects that kept occurring. However, in the 1500s we seem to have forgotten all the wrong doing that white lead had done to us in the past and went back to using it when Queen Elizabeth I made it fashionable again. Like a crappy ex-boyfriend that you forgot you hate.
After having smallpox as a small child, OG Queen Liz started using white lead to cover up the scars on her face. Like in Roman times, people started dying from lead poisoning again, however, this time it seems like no one seemed to notice. Perhaps death was such a daily occurrence during the Tudor dynasty that no one seems to notice that poisonous foundation could be the cause? Or maybe they all took “pain is beauty” a little too seriously. For the poorer people that couldn’t afford a designer death face, they had to settle for the drug store option of leeches, which they would place on their ears to drain as much blood from their face as possible. Suckers…
It seems like even though lead and leeches have been removed from the whitening process, it is still a widely sought after feature to have pale skin in the modern world. In Asia, at least.
*goes into supermarkets and counts how many “whitening” night creams, deodorants, hands creams there are*
2 minutes later *gives up after 190*
Brows on fleek
Oh you didn’t think that big brows only just came into fashion did you? Fake, thick and prominent eyebrows were the ultimate thing to have in Ancient Roman times. Women and men even made eyebrow extensions made from the hair of an oxen to make them as full as possible. It was actually quite comment that women even preferred having a unibrow as this showed them to be dominant and strong as well as having a well-framed face. A trend we can’t quite see happening anytime soon, but hey, fashion is a crazy thing and if the 90s are making comeback then who knows what can happen. #SayNoToJNCOS
Egyptian women found that burning almonds was a great way to make a natural brow gel so they can fill them in black and make them fuller and thick. Cleopatra your eyebrow game is strong, girl! Nefititi, on my fleek my friend.
The Egyptians were all about accentuating all of their features- something that the Kardashians have unfortunately made us all too well accustomed to- so not only were bold eyes and strong eyebrows all the trend, they also made sure that their lips made a statement. Before Kylie’s lip kit, Egyptians made colour with purple and red dyes from seaweed, iodine and carmine beetles.
The Romans weren’t keen on lip colouring but definitely wanted a pout to impress. For teeth whitening they imported Portuguese human -as if the species matters- urine, and for mouthwash they used powder and baking soda. Never before have we been more thankful to Colgate and Listerine!
Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t the first generation to popularise body hair removal as a form of beauty. Ancient Romans were in camp “Team Shave” as they used a pumice stone and resin to remove hair from their armpits, legs and the pubic area. This would also lead to controversy as it was usually seen as a ritual done before sex, and women- just like today- faced a double edged sword of being expected to look sexy, but not too sexy. Sigh.
However, the Ancient Egyptians firmly stayed in camp “Team Waxing” by using sugar and lemon juice; a method known as sugaring. This was the preferred method of hair removal, and is still widely used today as the sugar adds an exfoliation aspect to the experience and causes less irritation afterwards. In times of mourning, they would also shave off their eyebrows too- but only if they were mourning the loss of their cat! To be fair, this we understand.
So it seems we are not that different from our ancestors afterall, but hey- at least we have foundation that doesn’t kill us or have to wash our mouth out with urine, and to that, I cheers to today!
You may also be interested in: Hard as Nails: Easy Ways to Repair and Strengthen Nails
[:en]From Roman ways of hair removal, to Egyptian methods of making their eyebrow game strong- we tell you all the Ancient beauty secrets that time forgot![:]