The Evolution of Eye Shadow

Written by Mary Ann Lovre, president of Audrey Morris Cosmetics International

The use of eye shadow can be traced back to ancient Egypt where women used eye shadow to help them look more like the deities they worshiped and to help reduce the effect of the sun’s glare off the desert landscape.

The most famous of queens from that epoch, Cleopatra, is probably best known for her eye shadow. During that time, women used rudimentary eye shadow made from kohl, which was comprised of burnt almonds, crushed antimony, copper ash, ochre, malachite, and chrysocolla, a copper ore.
From Egypt, the use of cosmetics spread to Greece and Rome, where the roots of the word ‘cosmetic’ can be traced to cosmatae, a type of Roman slave whose role it was to bathe men and women in perfume. Evidence also exists of its use in other regions, such as India and Japan.
The modern day eye shadow became popular in the early 20th century, however the trends are seemingly less elaborate than ancient makeup styles.

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