The worldwide history of cosmetics has changed greatly along the past centuries. Even though nowadays it is an industry worth more than $50 billion, its origins are quite far from this. Actually, it initially only included facial enhancements and started in the 4th century BC.
The world nowadays produces a large number of cosmetics for both men and women as well as teens and pre-teens of both sexes. Those range from general make-up, skin masks and hair dye among others. It is now actually not unusual to see children as young as 5 with dyed hair. The influence of cosmetics on some people’s life is so big that they cannot imagine being seen without make-up.
At the 1st century, not without risk to their health, Nero and Poppea thinned their skin with white lead oxide ( lead , very toxic ) and chalk , highlighted their eyes with kohl (containing poisonous lead) and enhanced their complexion and their lips with red cinnabar (when it was toxic ). With returns from the Crusades that makeup seems to have spread into Northern Europe from the 14th century, the nobles availing themselves of cream of foundation, dyeing their hair and perfuming themselves. It was only from the 18th century that cosmetics were used in all social classes.
Over time, the cosmetics have varied patterns and available raw materials. Some recipes such as the cold cream of Galen are still used today, while other, such as the urine mouthwashes have been abandoned. Some very dangerous products for health (including the famous white lead, main factor in lead poisoning ) were nevertheless widely used, until the beginning of the 19th century. Back then most cosmetics in Europe and North America contain lead.