The Pursuit of Beauty Cosmetic
The Pursuit of Beauty Cosmetic
  • Cho Ku Yunji
  • 승인 2008.10.07 20:23
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The cosmetic industry is continually changing these days in many aspects; it is used even in medical field.  Among them, Psychology of Cosmetics is closely related to cosmetic science which is divided into some categories: Psychology of Care, Psychology of Make-up and Psychology of Scent.  In the aspect of cognitive psychology, women could be said that they have been a psychologist by arranging hues on the face and changing their appearance.  In fact, with the demand for beauty, each cosmetic was developed for a long time.  The Sookmyung Times introduces some of them.


Have you ever wondered what makes women’s lips appear so luscious and wanted?  It’s the sumptuous color of the lipstick, which gives them that sheen.  So, all the inquisitive souls out there, who wish to wander through the memory lanes to know the history of lipstick, here we are, providing some interesting information on the background of the cosmetic.  The origin of lipstick can be cited as 5,000 years ago, in the ancient city of Ur, near Babylon.  During this time, semi-precious stones were crushed and smeared on the lips as lipstick.  In the Indus valley civilization, ladies used to apply red color on their lips.

Furthermore, the ancient Egyptian women squeezed out purple-red color from iodine and bromine, leading to serious diseases.  It came to be known as ‘the kiss of death.’  It is said that Cleopatra’s lipstick were made from carmine beetles, which when worked with pestle gave a strong red color pigment.  This was mixed with ant’s eggs, which provided the base.  Also, to provide the shimmer to the lipstick, fish scales were used.

During the 16th century, the lipsticks became quite popular in England, under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I.  She introduced the trend of chalk white faces, teamed with blood red lipstick.  At this time, lipstick was made from beeswax and plants.  In 1653, lipsticks faced opposition from an England pastor Thomas Hall, who led a movement proclaiming that painting of faces was the ‘Devil’s Work.’

In 1770, England’s parliament passed a law against lipstick, stating that women who seduced men into marriage by means of make up could be tried as witches!  In 1800, even Queen Victoria openly spoke against it.  However, whatever would have been the scenario, lipsticks became a craze after World War II, owing to the encouragement given by the film industry.  In 1930s, Hazel Bishop introduced the kiss-proof lipsticks. During this time, lipsticks contained waxes, emollients, pigments and various oils. 

The role of the wax was primarily to hold the shape of the lipstick.  For this purpose, a variety of wax is used.  Apart from this, the other vital ingredients in a lipstick nowadays include olive, mineral and castor oil, cocoa butter, petrolatum and lanolin.  Furthermore, moisturizers like Vitamin E, aloe vera, amino acids, sunscreens and collagen are being used in lipsticks.  To provide them color, different types of dyes and pigments are used.   Lip liner was also introduced in 1990s, after which the two cosmetics came to be known as the lip-duo.


The mascara history is quite short.  It was at the beginning of the 20th century that the world leant about the first mascara.  In 1913, chemist T. L. Williams made the first mascara for his sister Mabel.  In Williams' times, mascara ingredients included solely coal dust and vaseline.  The effect produced by the early mascara was astonishingly great, so, Williams started selling it.  Soon thereafter the cosmetic company "Mabelline" was set up.  The company was named after T. L. Williams' sister.  Today "Mabelline" is known for being the leading company in production of cosmetics and makeup (including mascara).

Until 1957, mascara existed in the form of a cake (mascara pigments were mixed with wax).  So, women had to wet a brush, dip it in the cake, and then apply to eyelashes.  In 1957, the situation had changed, when Helena Rubinstein - one of the well known makeup manufacturers - introduced the new Helena Rubinstein mascara.  It was a breakthrough in mascara history.  This new mascara looked just like most of the modern mascaras: it had a tube and wand applicator.  That significantly eased life for many women who used mascara for a makeup.  Certainly, mascara has become much more popular, too.

Because of the wide use of mascara, there is also a great amount of information about mascara history and mascara usage.  Though Helena Rubinstein mascara has made application of this makeup product much easier, beautifying one' eyelashes with a mascara still requires experience.  Besides, one should remember that matching mascara with the rest of the makeup is extremely important.

-The Dark Side of the Powder

I n the following millenniums, women in the Far East, especially the Japanese and Chinese, stained their faces with a powder derived from rice to make their complexions a pasty white, while both men and women of the aristocratic classes in Europe applied white lead and chalk powders to achieve the same ghostly effect.  The pale face was desirable, as it differentiated the wealthy from the ‘common’ workers who had sun-bronzed complexions.  Another method of obtaining the desired look involved a powder comprised largely of hydroxide, carbonate, and lead oxide, the latter often leading to lead poisoning.

The temptation the cosmetic gives is very strong in that it can even change the appearance.  The history of cosmetics also proves it.  However, as each of them was developed, more chemicals were added compared to the past.  Regarding the lead poisoning, one of the reasons why the Roman Empire perished was known as the poisoning because many of them used powder with lead not knowing that it was poisonous.

Nowadays, some make their own cosmetics with natural ingredient.  Even though it gets decayed faster than the existing products, they seem satisfied in that each cosmetic is fit for their skin type or the cosmetic is reliable not using chemicals.  This could be a trend in the history of cosmetics as coal once took a role as mascara.  What about the cosmetic of the next generation?  You can guess, and who knows, it could be a reality as the history of cosmetics was unexpected.


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