Monday, August 1, 2011

Fashion History and Makeup Series: Ancient Greece Makeup

Ancient Greece had its own idea of beauty and there were fashion trends respected by women and men in those times.

It seems there was a problem with makeup in ancient Greece and many thought that women were a bit too interested in it. The poet Eubulus described how women were wearing so much makeup it was hard for them to go out in the sun because the sweat would smear it off.

Makeup was a practice only for those who were wealthy and what most women tried to achieve was a pale face. The rich women tried to stay indoors more, other women were using makeup to achieve a lighter complexion. White lead was mixed with water and applied on their face, neck, shoulders and arms to create a smooth pale skin. Red lipstick was also in fashion and it was made from seaweed or crushed mulberries. They also used dark eye shadow and eyeliner made from soot. Red cheeks were not forgotten either and most women even draw red designs on their cheeks for a more interesting look.

They also used dark powder for their eyebrows and it seems that connected eyebrows were very fashionable back then. A natural face mask they used was made from olive oil and honey, which moisturized and gave a great glow to their face.

Perfume was also very important in Ancient Greece and it also brought the attention of Egypt. People from Egypt were appalled by the fact that Greeks were using perfume for more sexual reasons, to become more desirable while they mostly used it for medicinal and religious purposes. Kyphi was one of the reasons of this dispute because Greeks seemed to use it as an aphrodisiac while Egyptians considered it sacred.

Philosophers like Socrates were not very fond of makeup or perfumes, believing that the former would conceal the smell of slaves making it hard for people to recognize them.


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