Cosmetics are also referred to as makeup and are used to improve the beauty of the human body. Cosmetics are particularly popular among women of Western countries.
Cosmetics, to some extent, have been around nearly as long as time. Use is found in Ancient Egypt around 4000 BC and it is known that the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans also used makeup (containing mercury).
In the 1800s Queen Victoria took a stance that makeup was impolite and stated that she viewed it as vulgar. She believed that actors or prostitutes should only wear it. By World War II, however, cosmetics were a commonplace in Western countries; they were banned in Nazi Germany.
Today, the cosmetics industry is dominated by multinationals, all of which began in the early 20th century. The oldest of these is L’Oreal, founded in 1909. Others that were developed in the 1910s include Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubeinstein and Max Factor. Revlon joined these firms just before World War II and Estee Lauder joined just after.
Makeup is typically worn to make the person wearing it appear more attractive and to cover up blemishes of the skin. For women, this is mostly accomplished by simulating the appearance of health and youth. Another theory states that makeup is worn to mimic sexual arousal (flushed lips and cheeks, etc.). This is referred to as “looking sexy” or “looking hot.”
Makeup can also be used to cover up blemishes or bruises caused by accident or surgery or to change the overall physical appearance of actors or people dressing in costume. It can be used to train medical professionals to recognize injuries (called moulage) and, in the cases of extreme youth, be used to make the wearer appear older.
Makeup comes in a variety of forms. Common types of cosmetics include:
- Lipstick, lip gloss and lip pencil.
- Foundation and powder (to lighten the face and conceal flaws).
- Rouge, blush or blusher (to color the cheeks).
- Mascara, to enhance the eyelashes.
- Eyeshadow and eyeliner, which make the eyes appear larger.
- Nail polish to color the nails of one’s fingers or toes.