The history of anti-ageing techniques
Looking younger and feeling good about your skin is not a new concept, which got me thinking about the history of anti-ageing techniques, products and regimes.
Egyptians (3000 BC-1070 BC)
Cleopatra is considered to have been one of the most beautiful women who ever lived . She was an avid student of beauty techniques and her beauty routine included bathing in milk and rubbing aloe vera over her body. Queen Nefertiti and Queen Thutu, were also renowned for their beauty and used kohl to line their eyes, herbs and plant compounds for eye shadow and many concoctions intended to smooth away wrinkles and regrow lost hair
Chinese (1200 BC-500 BC)
The Shang dynasty had centuries-long traditions of Chinese skin care. Their techniques were so ingrained in daily life that there was already a word used to describe the practice. Over the centuries, however, it would grow into one of the most admired cosmetic and dermatological traditions in the world. While the first facial powders and lip rouges may have been worn during this period, beauty of the skin was still seen as being predominantly connected to health, nutrition and good circulation.
Ancient Greece (750 BC-500 BC)
Greece’s Mediterranean climate was perfect for cultivating the fruits, nuts and vegetables used to make body oils and lotions. As Egypt imported these valuable ingredients, they shared their recipes for skin care techniques and developed centuries of Greek cosmetic expertise. They adapted their own methods for distilling the oils and essences from herbs and other plants to promote smooth and supple skin.
The Middle Ages and Italian Renaissance (1400-1499)
At this time products used in beauty care were often toxic, White lead and chalk were two of the most common ingredients in face powders, and some women even attempted to lighten their skin with arsenic powder The women believed that they were using natural powders and minerals to lighten their faces and give their skin an effervescent glow. A pale complexion was considered a sign of wealth and beauty
As the century wore on, many people began to take a more logical approach to skincare. They tried to incorporate scientific practice into their hygiene regimes. Many thought of milk as an easy cure for all types of ailments and women bathed in milk to give themselves softer, clearer skin. It was also believed that milk contained soothing properties and that drinking milk was good for the skin.
In 1915 lipstick was mass manufactured and available to all, women modelled themselves on their favourite silent-era film stars. They began using a number of skincare products to achieve this new look and for the first time women began to shave their legs and underarms religiously.
Anti-aging and skin care products were bought by every fashionable woman all over Europe, and face powders were worn by the general public. Max Factor, make-up artist to the stars, was the first to sell face powder to the masses. His perfumed powder was an overnight sensation in the United States and was soon being sold in Europe as well.
Anti-aging is the buzz word these days and with people living longer and healthier lives no one wants to look old even when they are years. Many can, and will do many different things from surgical intervention to spending £100s on skin care products to stave off the ageing process.
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