jessica tholmer
September 29, 2015 6:00 am

Men and women have been wearing makeup since, basically, the beginning of time. Using different ways to ornament the body is an age-old way to express one’s individuality and cultural background —and this has been going on for thousands and thousands of years. From ancient Greece to Egypt to China, humans found ingenious, sometimes a little strange (to us now), ways to decorate their bodies. Here are a few we’re totally fascinated with:

In Greece, women used this method to get fab highlights

It is said that in Greece, women used to use either arsenic or plant extract to lighten their hair —aka a modern day Sun-In. Who would have thought? (Please don’t try this at home, arsenic is way lethal.)

In Italy, women created their own lip stain and blush
Since Sephora wasn’t around back in the day, Italian women used lip stain and/or blush by creating their own. Next time you are out of lipstick, why don’t you combine wax, sandalwood, and cinnabar? Duh, why have you never thought of that before? If you are fresh out of wax, grease will work too. Grease on your lips? Sounds appetizing.

Brows were important in Ancient Greece

We do a lot of really interesting things with our eyebrows these days, but honestly, we always have. Thick eyebrows are in these days though we all know very, very thin eyebrows were in not that long ago. That all being said, women in Ancient Greece used to fake having a unibrow because they were very trendy. And according to Marie Claire, Greeks used to “touch up their eyebrows with black incense.”

In Ancient China, it was all about that nail game
In Ancient China, nail polish was a very serious beauty standard. Women used to make nail polish out of egg whites, flowers, wax, and Arabic gum to hold it all together. Beside actually having to create their own nail polish, women had to soak their hands in the creation so the color would stain their nails. Now let’s all thank nail polish companies for making our lives easier.

Eyeliner was actually made out of lead at one point

If you are anything like me, you super love eyeliner. I don’t know how drawing a little black line on my lid makes me feel prettier, but it sure does, and it always has. Ancient Egyptian women definitely rock the best eyeliner in history, but they didn’t have the luxury of having a retractable pencil like I do. In Ancient Egypt, women used lead (that we now know is poisonous) to decorate their beautiful eyes.

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! No but really. Beetles were used for glitter.

We are so lucky to have access to glitter anytime and anywhere pretty much, but Egyptian women used to have to work for their glitter. Today’s glitter isn’t made from beetle shells, but it certainly used to be! You know how beetles are shiny? Yep. Glitter.

Out of wax? Use some wine for blush

If you can’t make your blush out of the aforementioned recipe, why not dip into your wine? Women in Ancient Greece and Rome used to paint wine onto their cheeks to stain their faces. Brb I might actually try this one.

So, while we won’t be trying any of these archaic (maybe not the most healthy for us?) methods of beauty and self-decor, we can still marvel at how creative humans have always been when it comes to makeup.

(Image via Shutterstock, Amazon, iStock, HBO)

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