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Ancient Egypt has forever enthralled and amazed me. My heart still races with passion at the thought of Ancient Egyptian civilization. Right from my childhood, I have been fascinated about the pyramids and tombs and pharaohs and their clothing and jewelry (OMG!) and just about everything.
The Egyptians have been the inventors of many beauty rituals. Cleopatra is just a face of Ancient Egypt’s beauty secrets. Women in Egypt were not the only ones who were concerned about their beauty. The men were equally fussy as is evident in their elaborate eye makeup and jewelry and perfumes and clothes. So much so that beauty products, salts, pigments and oils were used as wages.
Here are their top 6 beauty secrets.
1. Body – Milk Bath:
We now know how AHA exfoliates skin but this was in use back in those days also. AHA is naturally found in milk and other citrus fruits. Of course they were pharaohs and could afford to pour buckets of milk into their bath. We have soaps, bubble baths and lotions that contain milk to achieve the same effect. 😀
2. Smell – Myrrh:
Myrrh is the gummy sap that oozes out of the Commiphora tree. The ancient Egyptians used Myrrh for their perfumes and as a rejuvenating facial treatment. It kept them smelling fresh and clean. They bought boatloads of this resin from other countries and it was extremely costly for the same reason and therefore was used only by those in the highest social strata.
3. Eyes- Kohl:
Kohl originated in Egypt. Cat-eye makeup originated in Egypt. We owe so much to them!
The most striking feature of the Pharaohs is definitely their well painted, pitch black long eyes. A paste of lead sulphide and antimony sulphide was used initially. The later kohl was a mixture of lead sulphide, frankincense, goose fat, cow dung, milk and fresh rainwater. The powder needs to be as soft as velvet to be around the soft skin of your eyes. The Egyptians believed that kohl prevented eye diseases, warded off evil spirits and also protected their eyes from the sun. They also believed that kohl helps in highlighting & adding depth and intensity to their eyes.
4. Makeup – Red Ochre:
Ochre is a natural earth pigment containing hydrated iron oxide. Red ochre was used as a rouge and lip color by the women of Egypt. Red always remains a classic 🙂
5. Hair, nails & tattoo – Henna:
Ancient Egyptians used henna to paint their nails and color their hair. The color and condition of nails were an indication of social status. Henna was also used for body decoration as tattoos.
6. Hair removal – flint/bronze razors, sea shell tweezers & bees wax:
The ancient Egyptians were known to have razors made of flint or bronze. They also used sea shells as tweezers (how smart!!) and sticky pastes like beeswax for waxing and the process was called sugaring.
They used to also shave of their heads and wear wigs.
I am in awe at how thoughtful, beauty conscious and hygienic Egyptians were 🙂
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