Make-up: The Egyptian’s Physical Protection
Makeup has been around for thousands of years. While today women see make-up as a way to enhance our beauty, the Egyptians saw it in a different light. A certain eye cosmetic, called Kohl, was used by the Egyptians around their eyes. They believed that by darkening their eyes they would protect them and their skin from the harsh rays of the sun. Mostly used by women, Kohl was also use by some men and children. The makeup was not just used on the Egyptians, but also their gods; the more Kohl and other cosmetics were applied to the statues, paintings, and carvings, the more highly this god was seen in the eyes of their worshipers.
The picture presented in the middle is an Egyptian Kohl tube that has inscribed characters of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye. Kohl was used along with a lipstick made from an ochre oil and malachite, which is a type of copper mineral. The way to make up the ‘Egyptian eye’ has been popularized in mainstream culture and film. Most admired is the late Elizabeth Taylor’s fantastic make up as she portrayed Cleopatra in the 1963 film. The darkening around the eye and the beautiful use of colors all take from the Ancient Egyptian’s idea of protecting their eyes and face.