The Background Of Mineral Eyeshadow
January 3, 2012 in beauty
Women and men have used mineral eyeshadow and other forms of makeup to enhance their features, the eyes in particular, and to augment their appearance for millennia. The Book of Ezekiel mentions face painting in the Old Testament and there is evidence from Egyptian burials dating back as early as 10,000 years BC. Used on the upper lid, makeup provides both color and depth.
In Ancient Egypt as today, women have used a black powder known as kohl to outline their eyes, stave off eye infections, reduce glare and improve their eyesight. The kohl that they used then was a blend of burnt almonds, copper, malachite, antimony, ash and ochre.
Between 800 and 700 years BC, the Greeks had a substance called ‘fucus’, which they made from lapis luzuli and malachite, crushed and powdered to produce vivid blue and green eye shadows. This and other cosmetics at the time formed a significant part of the Greek economy.
With the expansion of their empire, the Romans were introduced to the Iranians who, like the Egyptians, used kohl to fend off the attentions of the evil eye. They adapted the sacred oils for use in sexual practices. Eventually, they discovered medicinal and spiritual uses for the materials.
In Bronze Age India, kohl was used by everyone, including infants, to repel glare, bacterial infection as well as the evil eye. Then, kohl was made of lead and antimony. The use of this substance spread to Morocco and other African countries. Safer starting materials are used in modern kohl.
Modern mineral eyeshadow is available in every color imaginable to match hair color, outfit and mood. The sky is the limit in the cosmetic universe and there is almost nothing that can’t be powdered, pressed and used as makeup. Dry powder may be brushed on the lids, or it may be dampened with water for a more vibrant effect.
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