13 Makeup Facts That May Surprise You

When you’re completing your daily beauty routine each morning, you’re probably not thinking about the history behind your favorite pink lipstick or your new Coco Chanel perfume. But the truth is that the history of makeup and beauty is very fascinating. Below are 15 surprising makeup facts that will give you a whole new gratitude for modern makeup.


1. Jewels on Lips: Bringing a whole new meaning to the term “luxury lipstick,” it is thought that women in ancient Mesopotamia crushed jewels and used them to adorn their lips. Since then, lipsticks have been made of many different materials, but none are quite as extravagant as jewels.


2. Red Lipstick as a Sign of Class: During the Medieval period in Europe, lipstick was used by women to portray a certain social class. Historians believe that bright pink lip tones signified a high social standing while red tones portrayed lower social classes.


3. Fragrance as a Disinfectant: While perfume today is used to make you smell fresh and elegant before leaving the house, people in ancient China used it as a disinfectant. Some even believed perfume could help rid homes of disease.


4. Makeup for Men: While makeup is generally thought to be a product strictly used by women, men in many ancient societies used makeup for many different reasons. For example, during the French revolution men would place powder on their faces as a sign of social standing.


5. Queen Elizabeth the Makeup Designer: While you may think that lipstick creation should be left to the experts like Coco Chanel, Queen Elizabeth actually commissioned a lipstick color to match her gown before her coronation ceremony in the 1950s. The red-blue color was manufactured by cosmetics giant Clarins.


6. No Cosmetics Allowed: During the 19th century, both men and women were generally discouraged from wearing heavy makeup or perfume because it was considered by many to be immoral. The only cosmetic that was viewed as accepted was skin cream.


7. Fake Beauty Spots: Famous women such as Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford helped to popularize the idea that freckles are a sign of beauty. Beauty marks were also popular in the Victorian era and women would create these marks with small pieces of velvet.


8. No Hair, No Problem: During the 1500s, it was considered a sign of beauty for women to have very little hair on their heads and faces. In fact, that is the reason Mona Lisa has no visible eyebrows in her famous portrait.


9. Bronzed Coco Chanel: While you may think that the desire to have a golden tan is a recent obsession, the trend can actually be traced back to Coco Chanel.  Coco started the trend for women to want golden skin after accidentally getting a sunburn on vacation in 1923.


10. Egyptian Cosmetics: In ancient Egypt, both men and women used cosmetics on a daily basis. People used oils for sun protection and natural pigments such as red ochre for lipstick and blush.


11. Ancient Fingernail Polish: In ancient China, it was common for the ruling class to put color on their fingernails to differentiate themselves from the general public. The colors they used were made from common materials such as egg whites and beeswax.


12. Perfume for Ships: During Cleopatra’s reign in ancient Egypt, she often asked for the ships that were transporting her to various locations to be perfumed ahead of time. She believed that the perfume would arrive in her destination before she did, making for a grand entrance.


13. The Beginnings of Mascara: Women in the early 20th century had to improvise when it came to defining their eyes. Women would dip a small brush into water, rub the bristles in black pigment and apply the mixture to their lashes.