Extremely elaborated, heavy make-up and unique appearance – very important features of ancient Egyptians
Ancient Egyptians were very spiritual people. Symbols, magic and religion dominated their every day life and culture. They considered beauty to be a sign of holiness and cosmetics were used for both make-up and spiritual purposes.
Body care was a very important aspect in both Egyptian men and women. Their appearance, also a social status sign, was highly elegant and stylish.
Renowned for the opulent make-up, both sexes used green malachite, black kohl and indigo gemstones shades, mixed into a ready-to-apply paste, both for marking high rank and for medical purposes. The make-up offered antibacterial protection and served as a practical and efficient sun-screen against the hot Egyptian sun.
Skin bleaching was as well a very popular practice at the time. Special chalk and white lead powders were used to lighten their skin colour in women. For lips and cheeks make-up, red ochres and iron oxides mixtures were prepared.
Tattoos were considered to be a very erotic feature, among certain classes. Egyptians used henna for tattoos, but also for dying their nails and hair.
Oils and creams were very valuable for body care. They were regularly applied to keep the skin soft and protected from the desert sun.
Body hygiene was of critical importance among Egyptians. Bad body odours were considered unacceptable. Oil based perfumes and fragrances were formulated. Soap began to be imported. Baths were looked at as rituals. Milk and honey baths firmed and smoothed skin. Facial masks of organic mixtures were applied to treat face blemishes.
Body hair was considered unattractive and a sign of poor hygiene. Women frequently shaved heads in ancient Egypt. Hair removal was a part of basic skin care. Body hair was removed with tweezers or sharp razor blade-like objects.
Opulence was the word for this famous historical period. Complex body-care techniques and the unique ideal of beauty were perfected during these times, as hieroglyphs also show. Due to its sophisticated beauty rituals and the spiritual way in which Egyptians related to aesthetics, ancient Egyptian culture contributed to the development of the modern concept of beauty. Its influences can still be found in nowadays body care products and habits, cosmetics, perfumes, body art, jewelery and even clothing.