Makeup History Facts

Today I would like to talk to you about the makeup history timeline.

The makeup history goes back to the beginnings of humanity. Some anthropologists consider that, initially, humans used body painting as a form of protection or to camouflage themselves (Eldrige, 2015). This coincides with what was mentioned by Westmore (2001), who states that makeup was used on different occasions, for example, to ward off enemies, attract potential couples, tell stories and perform rituals.

First let’s talk a bit about the Egyptian makeup history: For Egyptians, makeup was a way to connect with the gods, in fact, at first, only priests were allowed to use it. Over time, the use of makeup spread and began to be used by the members of the high courts. For them it was important to highlight the eyes with bright and strong colors such as turquoise, and they used to use reddish tones on the lips (El Comercio, 2009).

Meanwhile, in Greek and Roman civilizations, only courtly women were allowed to wear makeup. Back then, they lined their eyes, defined their eyebrows, and used products to whiten their skin and redden their cheeks and lips (Sierra, 2014).

On the contrary, when the age of Christianity began, makeup was rejected and ridiculed, and women wearing it were seen as going against divine mandates that said that women should be subjected to men. For early Christians, makeup was used to provoke and seduce men, leading them to sin (Sierra, 2014).

Later, during the Middle Ages the use of makeup began to spread in the West. This was due to the fact that soldiers who fought in the crusades returned from the Middle East with the products that were used there to adorn the face. Thus, in the Renaissance, cosmetics began to be used with grater force throughout the world, according to Sierra (2014), by this time, women had a duty to look beautiful and attractive, for this, they used very thin eyebrows and pale skins, practically white. In the following centuries, there is a somewhat curious phenomenon, which is characterized because after each time in which makeup was somewhat exaggerated, it followed a rather sober period.

And then we reach the twentieth century, in which the makeup industry begins to consolidate, this due in part to the rise of the media, films and advertising, thanks to which beauty models have had the possibility of reaching to numerous people. In addition to this, scientific advances allowed the discovery of more effective, safe and economical ingredients, this led to the development of higher quality products, but still, more accessible, which made them available to a greater number of people (El Comercio, 2009).

During this time, makeup trends were more varied. For example, by the 1930s, the ideal of beauty was to have fair skin, with thin eyebrows and lips. Already in the 60s, two trends could be observed, one in which natural features were highlighted, and another that highlighted sophistication. Additionally, false eyelashes, extremely thin eyebrows and pink lips began to be used.

In the following decades, and until today, the main feature has been variety and innovation. Day after day there are observed new trends and new products, some of these aimed at people who seek to look more natural; and others aimed at more daring people who use strong, and striking colors.

In conclusion, we can see that makeup has accompanied humanity since its inception. For different reasons, throughout history, cosmetic products have been used by humans and have remained in force. In fact, it seems important to emphasize that, despite the crises, including economic, religious and social ones, makeup has reached our time and is used daily by millions of people around the world, which shows that it is not simply a boom or a fad, but something much bigger.


Eldrige, L. (2015). Face Paint: The Story of Makeup. New York: Abrams Image.

La historia del maquillaje. (October 4th, 2009). El Comercio, recuperate de historia del maquillaje es,y óxido de hierro natural.

Sierra, M. (2014). Maquillaje. Madrid: Ediciones Parainfo S.A.

Westmore, M. (2001). Camouflage and makeup preparations. Clinics in Dermatology. 19, 406-412.

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