At times, I meet women (and men) who think that wearing makeup is unnatural and unnecessary. Although it is true that we are each endowed our own innate brand of beauty, women and men have, since the ancient days, been enhancing our looks. Egyptian men and women have used cosmetics for aesthetic and therapeutic reasons since the days of the Pharaohs. Even in death, one has to make sure he is properly dressed and with appropriate makeup to make the right impression when presenting himself before the gods on Judgment Day. Favoured ingredients used in cosmetics to preserve youthful looks include green malachite, red ochre, sycamore juice, honey, fenugreek oil, moringa oil, gum of frankincense and other natural products. The word “cosmetic” comes from the Greek word “kos etikos” which means a sense of harmony, order and tranquillity. As far back as 1500 B.C., Greek women were using makeup, caring and striving to make the body more attractive. Like the Egyptians, the Greeks make their beauty products from ingredients found in their natural environment like olive oil, honey, chalk, white lead, charcoal, herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruits.What about the Chinese? From pre-Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC), there was already evidence of reddening to enhance women’s lip beauty. The Chinese also stained their fingernails with gum Arabic, beeswax and egg; using colours to represent social class. Like the Greeks, the ancient Chinese also favoured having a pale complexion and the Chinese have used various Nature’s gifts including oyster shell, egg white, rice and mulberry to name a few. So it looks like cosmetics have been used by various civilizations over the centuries for various purposes including spiritual practices, protection from the sun, as a status symbol and definitely for beauty. To quote Plautus, a Roman philosopher, “A woman without paint is like food without salt”. The desire for increasing the attractiveness quotient is in the DNA of humans. So, enhance your beauty through cosmetics. Naturally, you can flaunt it!
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