Guest Post Sara Phillips Of Beauty Rituals

Hello Kittens today we have my very first guest post i hope you enjoy!
Guest Author Sara Phillips

A Brief(ish) History of Make Up

Image via

We take the vast array of makeup around for granted... but have you ever wondered where it originates, why it was invented and what it was originally made of? Well read on – it’s fascinating and sometimes toxic stuff! Grab a cuppa, there is so much to tell!

The Ancient Egyptians were the first to develop cosmetics; drawings have been found of their elaborate eye makeup in tombs from 5,000BC and Unguent jars have been found dating back to 4,000BC. Unguent was used to soften men and women's skin and to protect them from the hot and dry climate, sand winds and even sunburn! Everyone wore it, even children and the poor.

Physicians prescribed it to protect against eye disease – if only we could get Chanel on prescription! They believed eye makeup did more than enhance their beauty; they believed it could improve the eyesight and ward off evil spirits... shame it doesn't have the same effect on creepy builders, wolf whistling you from their van!

Unfortunately, many toxic ingredients were unknowingly used including lead and mercury! These harmful ingredients were absorbed through the skin, often killing people. This carried on through the ages without people realising the dangers.

Cleopatra’s stunning eye makeup still influences fashions today. Her black kohl crayons were made from antimony (a metal), the green and blue shimmer eye shadow, made from find ground lapis lazuli and malachite crystals, it also shielded the eyes from the harmful suns rays. Her lipsticks were made from the deep red pigment of crushed carmine beetles and powdered ants eggs – nice! Eyptian Queens were buried with lotions, potions and a makeup chest including kohl, beeswax mascara and a mirror to beautify in the afterlife.

The Roman’s brought kohl to Britain and a beetle shell paste used to colour the cheeks – thank goodness for Benetint!

Miss Mary Linwood

In Medieval Europe, make up was forbidden. Regency Period women were expected to be modest, pale and interesting and modest ladies didn’t wear makeup! Those who did, tended to only kind wear white and red paint, either powdered or mixed with pomade. Men wore make up until the 1850’s.

I love this quote (via Songsmyth)! Anne Prevost, daughter of a Canadian Governor-General during the War of 1812 wrote: "I never used to like Miss C. because she rouged,"

At the end of the Victorian era, things became more relaxed, Vogue and The Queen Magazine showed their support of the young cosmetics industry.

In the early 1900’s the ballet, theatre and the movie industry made makeup was fashionable in American and Europe. Movie stars became trend setters. In 1900 Polish born Max Factor, created a safe face powder for the silent movies made out of zinc oxide.

Selfridges opened in Oxford Street in London in 1909 complete with cosmetics counters – previously cosmetics had been kept under the counter!

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In 1914 Max Factor created 6 shades of 'Pan Cake', the first ever foundation and powder in one for the colour talky movies. Later the Ministry of Defence used it for night commandos – I do love a multi use product!

In 1912 Elizabeth Arden went to Paris to learn beauty and facial techniques. She returned to the US with a range of rouges and tinted powders she had created. She introduced North American women to modern eye makeup. In 1915 she went global, opening stores around the world.

Iconic heroine - Coco Chanel

Chanel’s famous flapper style of the 1920's was dark eyes, red lips and nails and heavens above - a tan! Max Factor launched his first make up range for the public in 1927.

Rationing in the UK during World War 2 meant there was very little makeup available. Newspapers and magazines wrote articles with tips on how to improvise; red lipstick was the symbol of patriotism, so beetroot juice was used to stain the lips, tea bags or gravy browning to tan the legs and talc was used as face powder. Talk about putting on a happy face! I have such respect for that generation, they were so strong and resourceful – crickey we are such wimps!

In the 50’s and 60’s cosmetic companies looked towards nature and technology for ingredients. Helena Rubenstein invented the modern wand mascara in1957.

Images via and Make Up Allure

Nowadays women now tend to opt for a more natural look in the day time and glamorous in the evening. Animal testing is frowned upon and mineral makeup including Bare Minerals and Jane Iredale has become popular due to their ability to also solve skincare problems.

My Make Up Loves

Benefit Dandelion brightening face powder - gorgeous for the spring

Benefit ooh la lift under eye brightening-booster

Estee Lauder Bold Volume Lifting Mascara

Stila's Violet Smudge Crayon a gorgeous primer, eye shadow and liner in one!

Stila Ameretto Lip Glaze

Cosmetics Ala Carte Eyeshadow. Build your own pallette, I love Chocolate and Blond. Chocolate is great on the brows.

Benefit High Beam - fab to enhance the brow bone and cupids bow.

My Wishlist

Guerlain Exceptional Complete Refillable Mascara with integrated mirror!

Shu Uemura Blusher

Laqu and Co nail polish pens in Squid Ink and Fancypants

And I can't wait to see Liz Earle's New Make-up Range

So wish we had in the UK!

Anna Sui

Image via Etsy

In keeping with the Cupcakes and Corsets theme of this fab blog, here is a picture of my prized corset mirror, I bought 10 years ago from a local artist.

I love makeup and cupcakes so what better way to end this post, with some amazing makeup cupcakes from my Beautiful Cupcake Gallery post.

Thank you for reading x

Guest author Sara Phillips is a Beauty Therapist and author of Rituals Beauty Blog where she shares her knowledge to make your world a more beautiful, healthier place. You can also follow her on Twitter @RitualsBeauty


  1. Many women Wear corsets intended for Different Purposes.
    corsets UK often conjure Victorian-period glamour or maybe bizarre feminine kitsch.
    Either way, corset dresses type of undergarment via the old world gets a new worldpizzazz using a large following of femme fatales proudly wearing their piece in the outside world to be able to witness or ogle with.


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