Cosmetic alterations are nothing new; if we go way back, the first animals skins fashioned into clothing were the very first “enhancement”. Makeup is the most common; we tend to think of it in terms of foundation, eye-liner, etc., but the term also encompasses body art, from war paint, tribal markings (whether tattoos or scarring) to henna tattoos.
This generation, as obsessed as it is with physical perfection (which is impossible, but that doesn’t seem to deter some people with more money than sense), has perhaps taken alterations to an extreme with injections of the toxin Botox and plastic surgery addictions that render the patient unrecognizable (I won’t go into the psychological implications of not being able to recognize one’s own face in the mirror each morning, but if you’re interested in the topic, please click here.) But is such behavior new? No; poisons have been used cosmetically before, with one example being lead-based white make-up used as far back as Roman times. Women in 16th century Europe would bleed themselves to become paler, which was considered more aristocratic; this standard of pale being a condition to aspire to goes back to ancient times. In Song of Solomon 1:6, the heroine explains that her dark skin came from working the fields, because her brothers were angry with her and burdened her with those tasks. Even today, this skewed perception of what is beautiful effects the lives of many dark-skinned men and women around the globe; to watch a 5-minute video about their experiences, please click here.
Along the way, gadgets have been invented to curl, dry, tan, tuck, nip or pinch. Here are a few historical gadgets for your amusement. Enjoy!