Essay Sample on Uses of Makeup in Ancient Egypt

Published: 2023-03-02
Essay Sample on Uses of Makeup in Ancient Egypt
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Culture
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1382 words
12 min read


In ancient Egypt, makeup was an essential aspect in the daily lives of both men and women because both used make up. Makeup served not only to look good but also had other essential purposes. Cosmetics were considered as sacred and apart from aesthetics; they were also used for magical and religious rituals and practices. The men did not treat makeup differently like today because they were also seen in images that they also wore makeup. The eyes were the most decorated in the ancient Egyptian pictures that were identified from the pictures. In all the dynasties, makeup was a daily requirement. However, the classes differed in terms of the makeup type and perfume that they used that helped to make the skin soft and prevented sunburns and skin damage from the strong winds. There was also a variety of powders that helped to deter flies and protect the eyes from the intensity of the sun. The tools and makeup accessories were used and stored in jars, and mirrors were made from bronze. There were various pigments used on the face, and kohl was the most important used in the eyes. There were a variety of ways that makeup was used in Egypt that will be discussed in this paper.

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Beauty in ancient Egypt was an important concept that was considered highly by the Egyptians. According to Kilany and Raoof (2017), makeup was an important concept in Egypt. There were three categories of makeup that were used by the Egyptians; the first was eye paint, and the second was the facial cosmetics and colors for the lips and cheeks.

Eye Paint

The eyes of Egyptians were painted in the form of almond, and it was what made the Egyptian makeup unique. The main focus was to have defined eyes from the eyelids, eyelashes, and eyebrows. The eyeliners and eye shadows were common in ancient Egypt. There was the green paint used in the earlier periods, and later, the black color became common during the later periods. The pigment was the one applied from the eyebrows to the lashes and at the base of the tip of the nose. Once the powder was made, it was ground into a paste that was made from a common ingredient for the eyes. The eyes were decorated with the kohl, which was a focus for beauty. Kohl was used as a protection of the eyes and to beautify the eyes. Kohl was used not only for beauty but as a form of protection from the diseases of the eyes. The malachite was used to also protect the eyelids from the sun rays that were considered as harmful. The eyes appeared more extensive and more beautiful when kohl was used to make the eyes attractive. Kohl was stored in containers made from ivory, wood, bone, or glass made in different shapes, and they were slim. The fingertips and designated tools were used to apply kohl on the eyelids.

Facial Cosmetics

For the face, various cosmetics were connected to physical appearance because the Egyptians had a fear of getting wrinkles on their faces and losing their hair. Various ingredients were used to prevent the transformation of that which they feared. There were ingredients like fenugreek and oil that were used for the face as cream while boiled fenugreek was used as the cream for the men. To prevent facial wrinkles, incense, wax, and fresh olive oil and cypress back was ground, and after that rubbed on the face. For them, the lines resulted from not only old age but also extreme exposure to the sun. Other ingredients used were; moringa oil, a wax-based recipe with gum, balarnites oil, cols cream that consisted of white wax, almond oil, and rose water (Kilany and Raoof, 2017).

For the treatment of spots and scars, ostrich eggs, bullock bile, and milk were used as a mask. Red ochre and fruit from the ksbt tree were used for scars from burns, and also, there was a special ointment. There was also a honey and frankincense mixture (Kilany and Raoof, 2017).

Lips and Cheeks

Red lipstick was used for the lips; there was a reed that was used to hold the red ochre used on the lips. There was a pad used for the cheeks, and their lips, a brush was used and a spatula. The women limited the powers that they used for their faces, although, from the pictures, the women knew how to make their faces with the powders to achieve the intended look. The red color was also used for the cheeks as blush. A brush was used to apply the blush, and red lip gloss was made from red ochre and fat with some little raisins and was also applied using a brush or spatula. Red ochre was used from iron oxide, also known as hematite. Ochre was used for medicinal purposes like healing eyes, wounds, burns, herpes, toes, animal bites, and muscles.

According to Mark (2017), cosmetics were not only used for appearance but for one's health. The ingredients were used had specifications for storage. The wealthy used unguents in ornate jars that were designed like the kohl cases. The jars were used had been formulated in the form of Bes, the god of fertility, children, and joy. There were other types of decorations like the toothpaste, deodorants, and perfumes that the Egyptians used were stored in jars. The other embellishments like the wigs were made to make it easier to maintain personal hygiene. The wigs were used to help prevent lice and made it comfortable to deal with the harsh environment, and they were made from actual human hair. Inc. 1782-1570 BCE, the horses were introduced, and they were used to produce the wigs. There were various occasions when wigs were used. The Egyptians had designated different wigs for different occasions to meet the need as per the activities in the Egyptian lives. The wealthy could be distinguished from the poor based on the types of wigs that they wore. The people from more impoverished families wore wigs from papyrus, or instead, they wore headcovers.

The breath was cleansed by a chewing mint that was made for commercial, and they were made at home by mixing frankincense, cinnamon, melon pine seeds, and cashews were made into powder and then honey was added. Honey was mixed together with the other ingredients to form candies. There were candy dishes and jars used to store the candy. There were toothbrushes and toothpaste that were used to clean the teeth. Toothpaste was made from mint, rock salt, pepper, and iris flower that were dried. It was dried and then put on the teeth and saliva from the person's mouth was used to turn it into a paste. Toothbrushes were first made like thin strips from cut plants that were made into bristles. The first toothbrush, however, looked like a fan on one side (Mark, 2017).

According to Sooke (2016), aside from the makeup to enhance appearance, there were other accessories that they used to improve the physical beauty. There were mirrors made from copper, and palettes used for grinding the minerals that were to be used to enhance the beauty of the face. There was human hair since mostly; the Egyptians wore extensions and wigs. Additionally, there was jewelry like beads on a string and carnelian pendants that were shaped like heads wrapped in matting.


Personal hygiene and beauty were important for Egyptians, and from the discussion above, it is evident that they considered it significantly. There were various herbs and accessories like jewelry that they used to make themselves beautiful. There were accessories like wigs, which they also used to add beauty and add to their hygiene because they maintained short hair for themselves. For the face, they mainly concentrated on their eyes, and they used kohl that was used not only for beauty but protection and treatment of eyes. For the face, they used some protection from direct sunlight and to prevent wrinkles. They used red ochre for their lips and cheeks as blush. It was also evident that the Egyptians were concerned with the storage of the various products that they made. The Egyptians were concerned with their appearance and did not concentrate on their future, but what mattered most was the present.

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