Who Invented Makeup

Who Invented Makeup

Makeup has been around for centuries, but who invented it? There are many different theories; some people believe it was the ancient Egyptians, while others think it was the Chinese or the Japanese.

Here, we will explore the history of makeup and discuss who is believed to be responsible for its creation.

The History


This ancient culture of Egypt is credited with inventing makeup, with the first evidence dating back to around 4000 BC.

Makeup was used to enhance beauty and protect the skin from the sun and harmful chemicals, and the tombs also contained jars of makeup. This is believed to be the original evidence of sunscreen, but it wasn't until the 20th century that this type of product was mass-produced.


The Chinese may not have been responsible for the origin, but they were responsible for its early development and later popularity.

The first recorded use of makeup in China dates back to the Zhou dynasty; a dynasty that existed from 1046 to 256 BC. The Zhou dynasty was notable for its emphasis on beautification, and during this time period they would commonly use powdered gold and silver to decorate their faces. In addition, they would also paint their faces with red and black pigments made from plants.

Chinese used beeswax, gelatin, egg white, and gum arabic to paint their nails gold and silver. This practice continued for some time, and later the nail colors eventually became a tool to identify social standing.

The legend of Princess Shouyang led to the popularity of plum blossom makeup among courtly women. This makeup style consisted of petals or flowers painted on the forehead using sorghum powder, gold powder, and jade.

make up

By the arrival of the Tang dynasty, makeup had reached Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The use of makeup continued to spread throughout Asia and eventually made its way to Europe in the 14th century.

How Did Ancient Egyptians Use Makeup?

The use of makeup by the people of early Egypt is well documented within the culture, for example:

  • Skincare: The Egyptian people were one of the earliest cultures to develop a comprehensive skincare system, which included makeup. They used a variety of products including unguent, oils, and ointments to protect their skin from the harsh desert sun and wind. They also used these products to soften and smooth their skin.
  • Makeup: Egyptian people used kohl to line their eyes and darken their eyelashes. They also used henna to stain their nails and lips. Lipstick was made from various materials, including beeswax, carmine, and crocodile dung!
  • Ritual and Status Significance: In addition to their practical uses, makeup also had ritual and status significance. For example, only Pharaohs were allowed to wear certain colors of makeup.

In addition, makeup was used as part of the mummification process and the tombs served as both a resting place and a place for the deceased to prepare for the afterlife.

How Did Early Greeks Use Makeup?

One of the earliest examples of makeup comes from the ancient Greeks.

  • Makeup: In early Greece, both sexes used makeup. The most common cosmetic was white lead, applied to the face as a foundation and a skin whitener. Later, they also started using unguent to soften their skin.
  • Perfume: Greeks were also known for wearing perfume with the most popular scent made from lilies and roses. Both women and men used perfumes.

How Did Early Romans Use Makeup?

The Romans were also known for their use of skincare products.

While they may not have had the modern technology we have today regarding skincare, they certainly knew how to take care of their skin!

One popular way to do this was by using a mixture of ashes and fat, believed to cleanse the skin and prevent wrinkles.

How Did Modern Makeup Evolve?

The history of makeup is long and varied, with different cultures using it for different purposes over the years. However, one thing is clear: makeup has been used for centuries to enhance people's appearance. There are several specific periods where makeup was very popular.  For example:

  • Flappers: In the early 20th century, a new type of woman emerged: the flapper. They were known for their short hair, loud makeup, and fun-loving attitude.
  • Post-War Glam: After the Second World War, there was a growing trend for glamor and luxury. This was reflected in how women wore their makeup, with bold lipstick and cat eyeliner becoming popular.

In the 21st century, makeup is more popular than ever. Thanks to social media, there are now millions of people sharing their tips and tricks on applying the perfect smokey eye or contour like a pro.

makeup history

There are also more makeup brands than ever, catering to every budget and taste. In addition, the emergence of beauty products that are eco-friendly and do not promote animal cruelty means the cosmetics industry is keeping up with current trends.


It is interesting to think about how cosmetics have evolved over the years. We no longer need to use harsh ingredients or go to great lengths to wear makeup.

With the help of modern technology, we can now find cruelty-free and natural products that are easy to apply and look beautiful, but if it wasn’t for the first earliest discoveries, things may have been completely different today.

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