Women have been enhancing their eyes since Ancient Egypt. Eye makeup has been around for over 5000 years, and is continuing to develop, day after day. Discover the history and secrets of the evolution of beautiful eyes...
The Egyptians: precursors of eye makeup
Several thousands of years before our era, it was the Egyptians who first lined their eyes for more definition. Both women and men outlined their eyes in black using lead, antimony and malachite minerals, giving a result not dissimilar to that of kohl today. It wasn't until the 3rd century that the use of these cosmetics expanded outside the African borders. It was in Greece that they appeared, sold by traveling merchants. Saffron or soot replaced the lead, but they remained just as toxic. However, at the time, eye makeup was a sign of superior class and there were no alternative ingredients.
A turning point in the world of cosmetics
Up until the end of the 16th century, makeup techniques remained unchanged. From the start of the 17th century, they were used by all social classes. So, in order to distinguish themselves from the rest, upper class women would use expensive ingredients such as gold or silver powder which, when applied to the eyelids, were a sign of wealth and social standing. It was only during the Roaring Twenties, when cinema showed women wearing makeup on screen, that eye makeup as we know it today became more accessible.
Mascara appears on the beauty scene
In the 19th century, mascara made its first appearance. Now a must-have in any woman's makeup bag, the 'automatic' mascara we know and love was created by Helena Rubinstein in 1958. It consisted of a tube with an integrated metal applicator with fine grooves which enabled precise application. In 1964, once again thanks to the creative vision of Madame, the Mascara Matic became Long Lash . From that point on, mascara included silk filaments and active treatment agents. Today, commercialized mascaras contain ingredients carefully selected for their different qualities: for thicker, longer or more curved lashes.
Most women use mascara to emphasize their eyes, but you can also use kohl and eye pencils. The innovations never cease to surprise us: the story of eye makeup is continually being written!