The Proud History of Cosmetics

Cosmetics – The History Behind it’s Role From Cultures To Presidential Elections

Does today’s selfie culture mean we are too obsessed with our appearance? Based on history, the answer is no! Humans have always wanted to look their best and enhance their appearances. Cosmetologists are part of a noble and valued occupation.

The Egyptians were the first to create what we think of today as cosmetics and perfumes, and ground minerals into powder to decorate their faces, including kohl for eyeliner, malachite for green eyeshadow, and henna and red ochre for their cheeks, lips, fingertips, and even toes!

The use of make-up expanded to other societies, but by the time of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, cosmetics were frowned upon, mostly because the Christian Holy Bible taught that cosmetics were sinful.

Throughout the rest of the world, native peoples in the Americas and Africa used body and face paint, but by the 19th century, cosmetic use was considered vulgar. But theatrical cosmetics continued and became popular in the twentieth century, especially after the development of film and photography. Theatrical New companies were started by theatrical make-up suppliers, such as Helena Rubenstein and L’Oréal. In the more recent past, musicians such as David Bowie and Lady Gaga have used cosmetics to create characters in their performances, John F. Kennedy’s use of stage make-up in the first televised presidential debate is considered one of the reasons he won the debate, because he looked stronger and healthier than opponent Richard Nixon.

Today, cosmetic use is accepted among a wide variety of people, including men. The twentieth century’s enthusiasm for cosmetics lead to an explosion of cosmetic use and products, and today new companies seem to start every day. That’s why cosmetology will always be a valued career path: human beings have always wanted to be beautiful!

Men as Mavens

Men are Today’s Make-Up Mavens!

Back in 1960, John F. Kennedy gave men around the world an important lesson. In the first televised presidential debate, he wore cosmetic foundation on his skin. Under the harsh studio lights, he looked vibrant and healthy compared to his pale and sweaty rival Richard Nixon, who refused to wear make-up. At the time, “real” men did not wear make-up.

Today, many men reject such outdated ideas about masculinity. Some people attribute this change to the popularity of the television show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” However, it may be that more recent discussions about gender have led many men to consider using more cosmetics. To them, the message of Chanel’s 2018 ad campaign says it all:  “Beauty is about style. It knows no gender.”

That’s why some men enroll in beauty school these days, there are now specific cosmetics lines just for men., including Formen and Stryx, and male beauty influencers such as Jeffree Star, Lou Flores, and James Charles have millions of followers on social media.

This should come as no surprise to those interested in cosmetology history. After all, some of the most famous cosmetic companies were founded by men, including Max Factor and Charles Revlon.

For male make-up mavens, everything old is new again!