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Did Men Really Invent Makeup?

Hello there! Let's dive into the history of cosmetics and uncover the truth about who really invented makeup.

Did Men Really Invent Makeup?

Who Invented Makeup?

The History of Makeup

Makeup has been used for centuries, with the earliest evidence of cosmetics dating to ancient Egypt. Egyptians used a range of products, including eyeliner made from galena and malachite, while lip color was made from crushed carmine beetles and ochre clay. Makeup held deep cultural significance in ancient Egypt, with both men and women using it to enhance their facial features and resemble their gods.

The use of cosmetics then spread to other parts of the world, with different cultures developing their own makeup trends and techniques. For example, in ancient Rome, women used lead-based foundation to achieve a pale complexion, while Geishas from Japan had a unique makeup style consisting of a white face, black brows, and red lips.

Makeup in the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages was a transformative period for makeup, as religious factors began to shape its use. In Western Europe, makeup was frowned upon and seen as sinful. Women who wore makeup were often viewed as prostitutes or witches, and the Church declared that using cosmetics was a way of deceiving men. However, this view was not shared by all. In other parts of the world, makeup was used to signify social status and was worn by both men and women.

Despite the societal pressures, makeup still made its way into the lives of some women in Western Europe, who used it to lighten their skin tone. They used products such as lead powder, vinegar, and egg whites to create a pale complexion, as dark skin was associated with outdoor work and was considered unattractive.

The Modern Era of Makeup

As the beauty industry began to grow in the late 19th century, a host of inventors and entrepreneurs began to pioneer modern cosmetics. In 1872, Eugene Rimmel, a French perfumer, opened a cosmetics company in London and launched the first non-toxic mascara. Meanwhile, Helena Rubinstein, a Polish entrepreneur, established a cosmetics empire that spanned across the globe, inventing products like liquid foundation and waterproof mascara.

The modern era of makeup saw the emergence of major cosmetics brands, such as Max Factor, Maybelline, and Revlon, who developed new products and marketing techniques to attract customers. In the 1920s, the advent of the Hollywood film industry helped popularize makeup, with actresses like Clara Bow and Louise Brooks becoming style icons. The demand for makeup continued to grow throughout the 20th century, with advancements in technology leading to the creation of longer-lasting, waterproof makeup products.

Today, makeup has become an essential part of many people's daily routine, with a vast array of products available to suit every skin type and personal style. From traditional products like lipstick and mascara to innovative makeup tools like airbrush machines and contour kits, the beauty industry continues to innovate and evolve.

Did you know that the inventor of makeup also had a hand in creating the first tractor in history? Learn more here.

When Was Makeup Commercialized?

The history of makeup dates back to nearly 6,000 years ago when ancient Egyptians, both men and women, started experimenting with various beauty products. However, the use of makeup was not widespread and limited to religious rituals and special occasions. It was later in the 1920s that makeup became a part of popular culture, thanks to the movie industry and the emergence of mass production of cosmetics.

The Beginning of Mass Production

In the late 19th century, makeup was still a luxury item and only available to the upper class who could afford it. But, with the invention of the sewing machine and the rise of industrialization, mass production of cosmetics became possible. In 1904, French chemist Eugene Schueller created a hair dye formula that led to the formation of a company called L'Oreal. It was the first company to manufacture hair dye in large quantities.

The mass production of cosmetics enabled companies to produce makeup in large quantities, which made it more accessible and affordable for the average person. Makeup became a symbol of femininity and a way for women to express themselves during a time when they were fighting for their rights. The 1920s were known as the Golden Age of Glamour, with silent movie stars such as Clara Bow, and Greta Garbo, setting the beauty standards of the day.

Makeup in the 20th Century

In the 20th century, makeup continued to evolve with fashion trends and social changes. During World War II, makeup was considered a patriotic duty, and women were encouraged to wear it to boost morale. The 1950s saw the rise of the iconic red lipstick, made famous by Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn. The 1960s brought in a new era of color and experimentation, with mod-inspired looks becoming popular.

The 1970s saw a shift towards natural beauty, and makeup took a backseat to more minimalistic looks. The 1990s saw a resurgence of bold colors and glitter, with grunge and rave cultures influencing beauty trends. The early 2000s brought in a new era of reality TV, with shows such as "The Simple Life," "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," and "America's Next Top Model," influencing makeup trends.

Makeup Today

Today, the beauty industry is a billion-dollar industry, with makeup being an integral part of popular culture. With the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, makeup tutorials and beauty influencers have become a ubiquitous part of our lives. The beauty landscape has been revolutionized by indie brands, with companies like Glossier and Fenty Beauty leading the way.

One of the most significant changes in the makeup industry has been the push for inclusivity. Brands are now embracing diversity by expanding their shade offerings and featuring models of different ethnicities, genders, and ages. The demand for cruelty-free, vegan, and sustainable products has also soared in recent years.


Makeup has come a long way since its inception, evolving with fashion trends and social changes throughout history. Its accessibility and affordability have enabled it to become an integral part of popular culture today. As the beauty industry continues to evolve, we can expect more innovative products and a focus on inclusivity, sustainability, and social responsibility.

Find out how the history of makeup intersects with the invention of video recording in this essential article.

Why Was Makeup Invented?

The Various Purposes of Makeup

Makeup has been used for many purposes throughout history and across cultures. One of the earliest uses of makeup dates back to Ancient Egypt, where it was used in religious rituals and to honor the gods. Egyptians used kohl to line their eyes and green malachite as eyeshadow.In Ancient Greece, makeup was used in the theater to help actors portray emotions and characters more vividly. The Romans also used makeup in the theater, as well as in daily life. Wealthy Romans wore makeup as a status symbol, while slaves were forbidden from wearing it.In Asia, makeup has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese opera and Japanese kabuki theater. Indian women have also been using natural ingredients such as turmeric and kohl for beauty purposes for thousands of years.

Beauty Standards and Self-Expression

Makeup has always been linked to beauty standards and self-expression. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria famously declared that makeup was vulgar and only prostitutes wore it. However, by the 20th century, makeup had become a common beauty practice for women of all classes.Makeup has been used to accentuate, alter, or hide features. In the 1920s, women began wearing bold makeup to match their flapper dresses and assert their independence. In the 1960s, the mod look featured heavy eyeliner and pale lips, while the 1970s brought on the natural, earthy look.Today, makeup is still used as a means of self-expression and empowerment. The rise of social media has led to a surge in makeup tutorials and beauty influencers. Makeup can give a boost of confidence and help people feel more comfortable in their skin.

Psychological Effects of Makeup

The effect of makeup on mood and self-esteem has been studied extensively. According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, 70% of women in the US feel more confident when they're wearing makeup. Another study found that wearing makeup can improve cognitive performance and make people feel more powerful.However, there are also concerns about the pressure to wear makeup and the impact it can have on body image. Some argue that the expectation to wear makeup perpetuates harmful beauty standards and puts unnecessary pressure on women to conform.Ultimately, makeup can have both positive and negative effects, and it's up to individuals to decide how they want to use it. Whether for religious purposes, as a means of self-expression, or for a confidence boost, makeup has been and will continue to be a part of human history and culture.Who knew that the invention of makeup and keys were closely tied? Discover the connection here.

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