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15 Makeup Facts That May Surprise You

15 Makeup Facts That May Surprise You | Beth Bender Beauty

If you love makeup as much as we do you’ve probably scoured the internet looking for the best tips or tricks out there, many of which have become quite popular, but what about the back stories, or history on how nail color was created or the famous black liner that can be seen almost everywhere you look. That’s what we’re talking about, a little beauty and makeup history about many of the beauty products you have come to count on and some that get used just about everyday like Kohl liner for the perfect pair of cat eyes.

1. Egyptian origins

In ancient Egypt, cosmetics were a major part of men and women’s daily routine. During this time, creams and oils became popular to use for protection against the sun. For lipstick and blush, red ochre was ground and mixed with water and then applied to the face to give a rosey glow. Egyptians, most notably Cleopatra even used kohl smudged along her eyes to create probably one of the most googled makeup terms ever, the famous cat eye or winged eyeliner as many of us call it.

2. It wasn’t just for women

Men and makeup actually have a much longer standing history with each other than you might have guessed! For instance, ancient Romans would actually paint their heads to mask any signs of balding, before wigs came into style. During the French revolution-era, men would over-powder their faces as a show of status.

3. Polish for the wealthy

In ancient China, the ruling class would paint their nails to distinguish themselves from the general public. Nail polish was made from a variety of things, including beeswax, egg whites and colored powder. Different colors would symbolize different characteristics, like strength or power. Although nail painting has been around for centuries, the first nail polish patent wasn’t created until 1919, the color being a light, pale pink. During that time, colors darker than pink were seen as “immoral.”

Here’s something you may not know, neon nail polish is actually illegal in the United States and while many brands tout neon shades, their formulas don’t include the true neon colorant. Neon within any nail polish is not approved by the FDA.

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4. Old school mascara

Before the mascara we’ve all come to love was around, ladies in the early 20th century had to do it a bit differently. Essentially, they would dip a small brush into hot water and rub the bristles on a mixture of soap and pigments, making sure to rub the extra mascara off on paper before applying the rest to the lashes. Aren’t you glad makeup has evolved?

5. Even queens love lipstick

When Queen Elizabeth was preparing for her coronation ceremony in the early 1950’s, she decided to commission a lipstick color to be created in order to match her gown exactly. The hue, called “The Balmoral Lipstick,” was created by Clarins and is a red-blue hue.

6. Hands aren’t good testers

When you’re in a beauty store, you are likely to test a foundation or concealer on your hand because it’s the easiest. However, you won’t get the correct shade by doing this because the hands are a substantially different color than the face. Since hands are more exposed to UV light than the face is, hands are usually darker in tone. To get a better color match, try to get a shade closest to your chest color and not your hand.

Why you ask? The answer is simple, you want your face to look as close in tone to the rest of your skin and  by matching your foundation to your chest you’ll ensure the most seamless finish since both the face and the chest receive close to the same amount of sun.

Don’t believe us? Take a closer look at the makeup on some of your favorite female celebrities from the red carpet. Do any of them make you stop and think “hmm something isn’t right here” but you can’t put your finger on it? Chances are their face in relation to their chest will be off which probably means that the foundation was matched to the neck, or jawline and definitely not the chest. We’re just sayin’.

7. A time of no makeup

There was actually a time where makeup was deemed unacceptable to wear. During the 19th century, men and women did not wear makeup or heavy perfumes in an effort to appear moral. The only things that were deemed acceptable were faint flowery scents and skin cream (with no scent or color!) Can you imagine?!

8. Don’t pump!

A common misconception in makeup is that you should pump the mascara wand in the tube to get more mascara on it. However, this is false. Pumping the wand actually dries out the mascara by pushing air into the tube, causing flakes when applying.

9. Gems on lips

The first record of ancient lipstick comes from Mesopotamia, which was about 5,000 years ago. The lipstick was created by crushing up gems (yes, gems!) until they were nothing more than dust and then pressing it onto the lips. Now, if only they could create diamond lipstick.

10. Fake beauty spots

Moles, commonly called beauty spots, are widely regarded as a sign of beauty to this day. Actresses like Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford helped to bring beauty to marks in the modern age, but back in the Victorian age, the marks were so desired that women would create fake ones with small, black pieces of velvet.

11. Perfumed…ships?

During Cleopatra’s reign, she was known for asking her ships to be perfumed. She would have the sails soaked with perfume so the scent would drift to Rome before her arrival. It’s like car air fresheners times 1 million.

12. Weird laws

Did you know that to this day in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, a woman must get a permit first before she wears makeup?! Yes, this is a real law, even if it isn’t enforced.

13. Blemish-free

Although it’s still popular to soften blemishes with makeup to this day, back in ancient Rome, they took it a bit too extreme. Wrinkles, sunspots, freckles and other blemishes were unfavorable. To try and soften wrinkles, the Romans would use swan fat or donkey milk. Freckles were treated with…get this: ashes of snails. Yuck.

14. Hairless

During the 1400’s and 1500’s, it was popular for women to be hairless, whether that be the hair on their heads or their face. Women would even fake the look by covering their eyebrows in makeup. In fact, that is why the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows in her picture.

15. The start of fake (and real) tanning

Although you might think the obsession with having a golden glow started with 60’s bombshells like Ann Margret or Brigitte Bardot, the real truth is the sun-kissed or suntanned look can be traced all the way back to Coco Chanel. After being accidentally sunburned on a cruise in 1923, Coco started a trend that has yet to stop. Thankfully for many, spray tans and self tanning lotions have replaced baking in the sun and sunscreen sales are through the roof.