Fun Facts about the History of Make-up

Oh make-up, how we love you so. Where would we be without foundation on a bad skin day, eyeliner and mascara to open the windows to the soul and lippy to give us the perfect pout.


For the few lucky ones genetically blessed with natural amazing looks, make-up might not play a part in the daily routine but most women we know, wear some degree of make-up every day.

We’re sure even Angelina Jolie has been known to pop on a bit of concealer on a good day. 

And as far as we’re concerned there isn’t anything wrong with cosmetically enhancing what your Mama gave ya!

But where did this obsession with painting our faces all begin? Did Eve decide to slap on some blush when hanging out by the apple tree with Adam or who were the first ladies in history to discover the magic of make-up?

So we decided to bring you fun facts about the history of make-up…

1. The ancient Egyptians were one of the first groups of people to start experimenting with cosmetics way back when. Apparently, the Egyptians believed looking great and taking care of their appearance was a way to honour the Gods so beauty was deemed a very serious business. We’ve all heard the old tales of Cleopatra bathing in milk but did you know she also ordered the sails on her ships to be soaked in perfume so people could smell her arrival – way to make an entrance girl!


2. A Roman philosopher once remarked that a ‘woman without paint is like food without salt’ so that will give an indication of much these folks were into their beauty routine. The Romans were known to rub wine (what a waste) onto their cheeks to create that rosy hue and put chalk on their faces to achieve highly desirable pale skin (I wonder what they would make of our obsession with spray tans?)


3. The Greeks meanwhile were big fans of blonde hair. Women of the day would try to lighten their hair colour using plant extracts so we can imagine a lot of dodgy dye jobs gracing the locks of Grecian ladies! The Greeks were also fond of darkening their eyelashes with black incense.

4. The epitome of beauty during the Tudor era was light hair, a whiter than white complexion with red lips and red cheeks. Before poor Anne Boleyn found her head on the chopping block she would have been partial to using a rouge made from red ochre to stain her lips and cheeks. Henna was also used in these times to paint nails and dye hair.


5. By time the 1800’s rolled around, Queen Victoria deemed make-up to be vulgar and it was only prostitutes or actresses who dared to do up their features during this period of purity and piety. But not everyone was going along with these anti-makeup trend and it was around this time in France that a fella called Eugene Rimmel developed the first non-toxic mascara. This cake-like mascara creation however is not the mascara we know and love today. This was invented in 1913 by a chemist who witnessed his sister Mabel applying a curious combination of coal dust and Vaseline to her lashes. He decided to mass produce and market this formula and named the company Mabelline – merging his sisters name with the secret ingredient Vaseline!

6.In the 1920s when Coco Chanel showed off a tan, the modern-day obsession with a beautiful bronze glow was born. Bright red lips were an absolute must during this period and eyes were given a dark, mysterious look with the application of kohl smudged around the eye.


What do you think they would have thought our false eyelashes, HD brows, lip plumpers and other modern-day make-up secrets?

Here's another fun fact - did you know that Diamond Design Uniforms beauty tunics are made from the best quality fabric and come in a range of flattering designs and impressive colours? You can browse our collection of beauty tunics, beauty uniform dresses and beauty trousers here.

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