were cosmetics part of the womens role

Cosmetics was around for many decades to this day. Its main purpose was to enhance the beauty of face, body, and hair while hiding blemishes of the body. Early cosmetics were made with natural ingredients while today’s cosmetics uses less natural ingredients. Nevertheless, cosmetics has been viewed differently throughout the centuries in many cultures. Religion beliefs and traditions shaped the nation’s view of cosmetics especially makeup. Women that apply makeup were viewed differently and be judged by their community. In some cultures, cosmetics can be used not only for beauty but for a purpose or religious believes. Starting from the Shang Dynasty in 1600 BC, Chinese aristocrats would mix natural ingredients to color their nails into the color crimson or ebony.

Throughout the Zhou Dynasty in 1100 BC, gold and silver were the royal colors. In the early history of Chinese, if someone was caught wearing a royal nail color, would face a punishment of death, which sounds crazy today. In 6,000 BC, starting from the early days of the ancient Egyptians, women and men used natural resources to paint their faces and created a dramatic look that became part of their daily routine. The idea of them using makeup was either for beauty, purpose, or religions believes. It is also believed that the kohl was applied around their eyes to protect them from the sun’s harsh lays and from eye diseases. Later, in 4,000 BC, the ancient Greeks and Romans had an interesting turn of perspective. Unlike the ancient Egyptians, the use of cosmetics should be less and the goal is to be seen with natural beauty as much as possible. Makeup was not really toreable to the society as much as it was to women, so women would usually apply them privately. At that time, they believed that women’s role was to stay at home and behave in a moral way.

They were expected to show no signs of makeup on their face. On the other hand, during the ancient Egyptians days, men would apply makeup everyday while during the ancient Greeks and Romans days, it would never occur to society the thought of men with a hint of makeup on their faces. One of the Greeks creative talent was hairstyling and the development of excellent methods of caring for the skin and nails. Roman women lavishly used fragrances and cosmetics especially facial masks. To the society, women’s hair color was important because its purpose was to indicate their class. For example, poor women dyed their hair black, middle class women colored their hair blond and high noble class women tinted their hair red. Moving forward to the 15th century, wearing makeup was not acceptable because changing your face was seen as lying and it was considered sinful in the Christian society. All natural beauty was accepted but many women felt insecure about their natural beauty with blemishes on them that were mainly caused by their poor hygiene and the diseases all around their environment. Along the Renaissance Era- period of history of transition from medieval to modern history- one of the most unusual practices was shaving the hairline and eyebrows to show a wider forehead. It was meant to give women the look of greater intelligence while colored lips, cheeks and eyes were still unacceptable.

During this time of period, both men and women wore elegant clothing with gratification on their physical appearance. Next, during the Elizabethan Era, thanks to Venice – known as Fashion Capital of the world- makeup and art was simply celebrated. When they welcomed makeup back, new trends appeared and the biggest trend was a foundation named Venetian Ceruse. It was pure white color powder that was expensive and very toxic. It damaged the skin, rotted teeth and caused hair loss. At that time, there was a style called the flamboyant style which was for aristocracy women only. In general, women’s beauty goal was to have pale skin, dark rose cheeks, and dark defined eyebrows. Moreover, through the time of Queen Victoria in the 19th century, she proclaimed that makeup was basically unladylike and gross. People reacted differently and were surprised. The only type of makeup women were able to use was a light hint of powder but not in public. Women had learned to alter their face naturally such as biting their lips and pinching their cheeks for a natural rosy glow.

Last but not least, diving to the 20th century in the United States, makeup had a powerful entrance. With the new invention of motion pictures, audience were interested in the perfection of beauty the actresses showed and makeup on their faces. A new industry of cosmetology was spreading which reshaped the view of makeup in America. Even though, makeup was not favorable to the society, especially middle class, but women break their traditions for their freedom. Later on, makeup sent a dramatic message to the society and boosted confidence in women with powerful spirits and more desire for their rights. Cosmetics were part of the Women’s Movement because applying makeup symbolized freedom, suffragges rose with the color red, and their movement changed their role in society .

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