Cosmetics - Beauty Enhancers For Thousands Of Years

Lady using cosmetics

Cosmetics - there's nothing new about them

From the earliest humans to the modern world, cosmetics for women have been an important part of society. There are many reasons why we as human beings have felt the need to enhance our looks. In pre-historic times, it may have helped with attracting partners, but more recently it has become a huge industry that produces billions of pounds every year and continues to grow.

From the Egyptians and their kohl eyeliner to the present day where we have so many different products and brands available to us, this article looks at how and why women all over the world use cosmetics to enhance their natural beauty.

The History of Cosmetics

Cosmetics have been an important part of society for a very long time. The first signs of cosmetics can be seen in the early Egyptians, who created face paints and kohl eyeliners that were often made with materials such as crushed minerals and plant extracts.

Both men and women in ancient times would use cosmetics, although they had different reasons for doing so than modern women. Men would use them to show their social status. For example, red ochre, which is a natural pigment, was often used by royalty as it was rare and expensive. Women would use them for more functional reasons. For example, crushed minerals such as ochre and cinnabar were often used as face paints as they helped to protect the skin from the sun.

The Dark Ages and the Renaissance: 400-1600 AD

As we have discussed, in the early days of cosmetics, both men and women used them for functional reasons. However, for women, this changed as the Dark Ages and Medieval Times came about and society became more restrictive. The Church was very powerful during this period and had strict guidelines on the way women should look. Make-up was banned and women were told to stay indoors and cover their skin as much as possible.

The people in power at this time believed that it was only for women to stay at home and look after the family. This meant that make-up was seen as a way to trick men into thinking that a woman was more attractive than she really was.

The 1800s: From Victorian Values to Modern Beauty

As the Industrial Revolution took hold, the 1800s saw a huge change in how women were treated and how they saw themselves. Before this time, it was very rare to see women in public and they were expected to stay at home and look after the family. However, as new technologies were invented and the world was changing fast, more and more women were needed to work in the factories. This meant that they were no longer home-bound and able to earn their own money.

This period also saw the invention of the first electric washing machines, which meant that women no longer had to spend hours doing laundry by hand. As a result women had much more time to themselves, which led to the emergence of fashion magazines where women could read about the latest fashions and treatments to make themselves look beautiful.

2000 to present day: Technology and Social Media Influence

From the invention of the first electric washing machines in the 1800s to the rise of social media and technology in the 2000s, the cosmetics industry has changed dramatically over time. Nowadays, women have so much choice when it comes to cosmetics and treatments. We can buy everything from hair dye to false nails and lip gloss to fake tans.

There are also many different types of products available to us. For example, there are now many natural products such as organic lipsticks and mineral foundations. Furthermore, there has been a huge rise in the number of online stores, which has meant that we no longer have to visit a shop to buy cosmetics.


Cosmetics have been an important part of society for thousands of years. Each period had different reasons for wearing them, but they were almost always used to enhance the wearer’s natural beauty.

Nowadays, there are many different types of products on the market and people have a huge choice when it comes to cosmetics. However, one thing that has remained the same throughout history is that, whether you choose to wear cosmetics or not, you should always feel good about yourself.