How Long Have Women Been Using Make-Up?

The use of lipstick and other cosmetics is very ancient, dating back 6,000 years ago in Egypt. The making and wearing of cosmetics, however, was popularized by Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt, who lived from 69 to 30 B.C.

Following the example of Cleopatra, Egyptian women painted the under side of their eyes green, and their lids, eyelashes, and eyebrows black. They used henna, an orange-red dye which is made from the leaves of African shrubs, to dye their fingernails, palms, and soles of their feet.

During the next century in Ancient Rome, women used white lead and chalk to whiten their skin, paint for their eyelids and lashes, rouge for their cheeks and lips, butter and barley flour to cure skin blemishes, pumice stone for whitening their teeth, and a special soap for bleaching their hair.

As recently as 400 years ago, women in England took all kinds of baths to help make their skin more beautiful. One queen, Mary, Queen of Scots, is supposed to have bathed in wine, while other women of the time took milk baths.