Egypt is a land of magic, beautiful art and plenty of mysteries, but behind all the flare, the history of Ancient Egypt was built by common people with common problems which were very similar to ours. Today, we take a look at some of these resemblances by checking out the 6 fashion and beauty habits we inherited from the Egyptians, and which are still valid today.
Fashion and beauty habit inherited from the Egyptians #6: Waxing
Thought waxing was a thing of our time? No such thing! Just like us, Egyptians despised body hair, and both men and women usually would wax their entire bodies until every bit of hair was gone from head to toe. The Egyptians created a special concoction using sodium carbonate which would make hair fall off from their bodies. Afterwards, they used donkey milk to prevent redness, and other solutions to keep their skin soft and youthful.
Fashion and beauty habit inherited from the Egyptians #5: Wearing perfume
Egyptians loved pleasant smells, and used many tricks to keep their clothes and rooms properly scented. But what they loved most of all was to smell good themselves. Although they didn’t know how to create long lasting perfumes, Egyptians usually carried with them small bags with flowers and roots which released a nice-smelling liquid they used as a fragrance. They also used small tablets and scented cones which they wore above their heads.
Later on, the Egyptians created a way of making the aromas more long-lasting and began storing them in jars. These fragrances were also believed to have magic or even healing properties, and were also used to honor the gods.
Fashion and beauty habit inherited from the Egyptians #4: Watching their weight
If you’ve ever seen a picture depicting Egyptian art, you’ll notice how most of the figures in the paintings are quite slim and tall. Just like us, Egyptians valued being fit, and although they didn’t usually diet unless they needed to, they did keep an eye on their weight. Egyptians ate two strong meals a day and several snacks made of fruits or sweets during meals.
Since their jobs and entertainments often involved a lot of physical activity, they kept a fit figure, yet during the Alexandrine Period they also developed gymnasiums, inspired by the Greek.
Fashion and beauty habit inherited from the Egyptians #3: Wearing jewelry
Jewelry and amulets were precious to the Egyptians. So much so, that they even buried them on their tombs, believing they could take them on their trip to the next stage of life after they passed away. To create their accessories, they used materials such as ceramic, bones or even precious and semiprecious gemstones. They were also talented artisans, and depicted historic, mythological or natural motifs with great detail on their jewels.
Fashion and beauty habit inherited from the Egyptians #2: Wearing eyeliner and nail polish
The Egyptians were amongst the first ancient culture which valued makeup highly. Large eyes were considered beautiful, so the Egyptians used kohl, a dark material based on grinded galena, as the perfect eyeliner to accentuate their eyes. As eye shadow, they used powdered malachite in green or blue hues, as well as grinded coral to make their lips look red.
They also used henna to paint their hands and feet, and also as a rudimentary nail polish which allowed them to paint their nails red.
Fashion and beauty habit inherited from the Egyptians #1: Appreciating youth
We’ve often heard people say that ours is a generation which is obsessed with achieving eternal youth, either through surgeries, creams or treatments. But the Egyptians already considered staying young and beautiful as one of their main goals in life. To achieve it, they used herbs, minerals and other different natural materials to create concoctions which they drank regularly, as well as creating masks and creams which they applied on their faces to eliminate age wrinkles.
The Egyptians also protected their skin from premature aging by covering it from the sun and using natural peelings to keep their skin firm and young.
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Vanoyeke, V (2007). Les Véritables Inventions des Egyptiens. Éditions du Rocher.