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Cosmetics Ingredients

A Different Take on the Beauty of History – Part 2

SpecialChem / Nick Morante – May 16, 2007

In Part 2 of this article we now get to more modern times. In the Middle Ages, women did continue to wear some form of make-up, although cheek rouge was worn only by prostitutes. Noblewomen continued to use white lead on their faces. Eyebrows were plucked and lips stained with dark red with plant dyes. Natural skin care was also popular. Most noblewomen had their own recipes for smooth complexions. To fight the destructive effects of the lead paste on the face, masks were made using ground asparagus roots and goat's milk. This was rubbed into the skin with pieces of warm bread. Elaborate braiding for hair was fashionable. A type of hair gel was made from a mixture of swallow droppings and lizard tallow by these noblewomen. Knights returned home from the Crusades with all kinds of preparations never seen in Britain. Essential oils became popular as perfumes, and were used as antiseptics to ward off the plague. Soap making was brought from Italy. At this time soap was used mostly for washing dishes and clothes but not bodies.

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