Walk like an Egyptian

Ancient Egyptians were known to be extremely intelligent and ahead of the game, they were also conscious of preserving their youth. They used three key approaches in their beauty regime for the face and body: cleanse, treat and moisturise.

The Egyptians were obsessed with cleanliness. This could have been due to the hot and dusty climate: it’s said that they could bathe up to four times a day. Depending on class, that would have been in the Nile, in stone basins or, if fortunate enough, in stone baths. They believed cleanliness was vital for good health and warding off evil. Those with a higher status would exfoliate with Dead Sea salts and use soap made of clay and ash mixed with olive oil. Sour milk in the bath was also used to remove impurities.

To keep them smelling nice, and due to the lack of amenities that we have today, they would extract plant essences such as lavender, peppermint, rose and camomile mixed with animal fats or wax. By smelling good, they believed they would have protection from the gods. They shampooed their hair in vinegar and lemon mixed in water.

It was very common for men and women to wear make-up. Heavy eyeliner was used by those of higher status to define their eyes but also to protect the skin from the harsh sun and prevent wrinkles. It was a combination of soot, galena and lead sulphide, which was a toxic combo, but they would purify it for thirty days so by then it would be safe to use. Burnt almonds were used to make the eyebrows darker and green eyeshadow was made from crushed green malachite stone mixed with animal fats or oils. They tinted their lips and cheeks with a red pigment derived from tinted clay that was mined and left to dry in the sun. Water was added and then applied with a brush.

Archaeological finds from this period have shown that they even kept their makeup in special containers. All their beauty products were also buried with them so they could continue to look their best in the next life. 

Considering the 12,000-year gap, it is interesting to note that many of their innovative creations are still used today in our beauty regime. 

Donna Groom is a beauty therapist and medical micro-pigmentation specialist. She works at the Kutting Room in Praia da Luz. 



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