MakeUp

Written by Lauren Balukonis, senior account executive at Behrman Communications

The first use of cosmetics dates back to the ancient Egyptians and their use of kohl. They painted this early makeup around their eyes not only to enhance appearance, but also to ward off the evil eye and dangerous spirits. Cleopatra was also said to have used a lip stain that got its hue from ground carmine beetles, while other women used a combination of clay and water to color their lips. The ancient Greeks and Romans also painted their faces with powders made of ground up minerals and stones.

This trend did not last, however. Makeup became less colorful as time went on. From the Middle Ages until the end of the 19th century, pale skin was deemed the ideal and women used arsenic, lead, mercury, and even leeches to give themselves the pale appearance that they desired.

At the dawn of the 20th century, lipsticks, mascaras, and nail polishes began to emerge. Portrait photography, affordable mirrors, and, most notably, motion pictures all played a role in the development and mainstream use of cosmetics. In 1914, Max Factor developed a greasepaint foundation that would not cake or crack, marking Factor's first major success in the cosmetic industry. Factor would go on to develop additional products, including lip gloss and eyebrow pencils. He also eventually popularized the word makeup. He began promoting his makeup to the public in the 1920s by making claims that consumers could look like their favorite movie stars.

Meanwhile, in 1915, T.L. Williams started the Maybelline Company after he discovered that his sister, Mabel, had developed an ingenious way to make eyelashes look striking.

Williams distilled Mabel's formula of petroleum jelly and coal dust into cake form and eventually found great success in selling it to the public. Other industry giants, including Revlon and Estée Lauder, surfaced around the same time. Persuasive marketing efforts and rapidly improved products sold women on makeup within a few short years and they have not looked back.

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