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The Ancient Egyptians

My name is Cristina, I am an apprentice in the Alchemy team and a self-proclaimed history nerd, which got me to thinking about the history and origin of my profession. Where did all of this come from? Who was it that first thought they wanted a different hair color? Who came up with the chemistry behind it, and all of those forever evolving techniques? Wouldn’t it be great to know all these things?

We live in a world obsessed with personal appearance: haircuts, color, make up, plucking, tweezing, waxing, sewing, pulling stretching, you name it! How far back do our beauty rituals go? Surely this is not a modern desire: looking our best. Let’s hope this quest back in time is enlightening and enjoyable to everyone in the Alchemy family.

So let’s go way back in time to  3150 BC when the Ancient Egyptian civilization was flourishing. One would think that these cultures from are past were primitive and rudimentary, but in reality they were an entirely sophisticated bunch: Technologically, agriculturally, medically…you name it! Egyptians had it all figured out. You could say they were in fact very much ahead of their time.

In Egypt, people that were beautiful were considered to be holy. Cleanliness and personal appearance got you closer to the Gods.  Regardless of gender, cosmetics and wigs were used.  In my research I found that the Egyptians tried to “mask” their vanity by claiming that it was medically beneficial to wear make up and that the dark eyeliner protected them against the desert sun’s mighty rays. They used blush and lip stains made out of honey and roots as sun block and shaved off their hair to feel cooler and protect against lice. One of the more extravagant practices was to shave gold into flakes, grind it up into a poser and cover their entire bodies with it. Which came first? Vanity or practicality? I guess we’ll never know.

The wigs they wore were typically made out of horse hair and human hair (it is believed that they used the hair of their slaves instead of using the hair they shaved off of themselves) and were adorned with shells and precious jewels.  So the next time you put on your extra thick layer of eyeliner and clip on your extensions, thank the Egyptians. But also be thankful that men stopped these practices, otherwise we’d be having to wait on our boyfriends and husbands to get ready for a night out!! – C

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