This Is How Dramatically Women’s Makeup Has Changed Throughout History

A diverse group of women show just how much women’s makeup has changed through the ages.

Makeup, in some form, has been used in almost every recorded society in history. We looked back and wondered: how has makeup changed throughout time?

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Ancient Egypt (c. 3150 – 31 BC)

Ancient Egypt (c. 3150 - 31 BC)

Eyes – Lined with kohl; often wore green or blue eyeshadow

Lips – Popular lip colors included orange, red, blue-black, and magenta

Hair – Braids framed the face

Women in Ancient Egypt lined their eyes with kohl, a substance made of soot, metal, and fat. Kohl was thought to help prevent the eyes from blindness, and doctors carried it in their bags. Green and blue eyeshadows were made naturally, with the mineral malachite. Lipstick in ancient Egypt symbolized status – both men and women of the upper class wore it.

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Ancient Greece (c. 800 – 500 BC)

Ancient Greece (c. 800 - 500 BC)

Eyebrows – Unibrows

Eyeshadow – Natural shades

Skin – Pale

The goal of ancient Greek cosmetics was natural beauty. Unibrows were the popular eyebrow style for ancient Greek women. Those who couldn’t grow one naturally would either glue animal fur between their existing brows, or create one with kohl. Women commonly wore lead-based face cream to lighten their skin.

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India’s Gupta Age (c. 320 – 550 A.D.)

India's Gupta Age (c. 320 - 550 A.D.)

Eyes – Lined with kohl

Hair – Often worn in a bun or braid, and decorated with fresh flowers

Skin – Married Hindu women wore a bindi during this time

Lips – Lip rouge

Indian women have lined their eyes with kohl since ancient times, and this continued during the Gupta Age. Women commonly wore their hair either in one long braid down the back, or in a low bun decorated with fresh flowers. During this period of time, the bindi was specifically worn by married Hindu women.

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