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A Brief History of Beauty Products in the Ancient World

The global beauty industry has become one of the biggest industries in the world, with an estimated growth of about 5.5% in 2018, which was the highest in more than a decade. One of the biggest factors of this growth can be accredited to the entry of Generation Y into the market and the rise of social media platforms, such as Youtube, Instagram, Twitch, etc. These social media outlets are highly influential and create a need and demand for more beauty products. 

Using cosmetics has become one of the most prominent ways of expressing and complementing beauty in today’s culture; well, it wasn’t always like this. Diving deep into the history of cosmetics, we now know that they have existed since the dawn of organized civilizations. Some of the earliest examples of it being traced back to the ancient Egyptians; however, it was not only used as a statement of beauty and expression, rather it was used in religious processions as a way to ward off evil spirits.

Quite a few ancient Egyptian tombs have been found containing these prototypical makeup kits, Cleopatra was known for using lipstick that got its color from ground-up carmine beetles, while most women often used clay mixed with water to color their lips.

But the Egyptians certainly weren’t the first to use beauty products, we can look back and thank our ancestors for the progress we have seen in the beauty industry today. The earliest evidence of cosmetic usage can be traced back to the ancient Indus civilizations, this would also mark the discovery of kajal and is still being used to this day. Kajal was used by both genders and also applied to newborn babies as it was thought that it could strengthen eyesight, kajal is used to this day and retains its popularity among Indian women. 

Consequently, the ancient Egyptians and Indians were never the only ones to use beauty products either, almost every civilization has some sort of historical use of cosmetic materials; which only seems to strengthen the evidence that we have always been obsessed with beautifying ourselves.  

Meanwhile, the ancient Greeks and Romans also painted their faces with stones and ground-up minerals, going for a paler look, meanwhile the Chinese stained their nails with gum, gelatin, beeswax, and egg. The colors on their nails would represent their social classes— gold and silver for the Chou dynasty royals, red and black for subsequent royals while the peasant or lower classes were forbidden to wear bright colors on their nails.

Shryoan cosmetics, as a brand, is dedicated to religiously produce quality beauty products as a stark reminder of the history of these products. To express what one feels like and to worship the beauty of nature; to inculcate a sense of freedom of expression.

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