A Brief History of Skincare Through the Ages


Ever wonder how women in ancient times or in the Renaissance used to make themselves beautiful?

Well, let’s just say they didn’t have the skincare wonders we have now – med spa procedures, Botox, and countless anti-aging creams and serums.

Curious to learn more about the history of skin care? Then travel back through time with us as we discuss how women in ancient cultures up to modern day cared for their skin.


Ancient Egypt

Did you know that the first archaeological evidence of cosmetics is from Ancient Egypt roughly 6,000 years ago? But cosmetics weren’t just for aesthetics – they also protected the Ancient Egyptians from the elements, like the sun and insects. Makeup was also used to honor gods and goddesses. In terms of skincare, the Ancient Egyptians used castor, sesame, and moringa oils to fight wrinkles and preserve their youth. Ancient Egyptians also made a soap paste out of clay and olive oil to cleanse their skin. What is more, Egyptian women incorporated honey and milk masks into their beauty regimes to moisturize their skin, and they also took milk baths and used dead sea salts to exfoliate, rejuvenate, and heal their skin.

Ancient Greeks

In Ancient Greece, precious oils, perfumes, cosmetic powders, eye shadows, skin glosses, paints, beauty unguents, and hair dyes were in universal use. Ancient Greeks made their own skincare products using local, natural ingredients. One of the most widely used skincare treatments was mixing fresh berries with milk, and then applying the paste on the facial area. The Ancient Greeks also used olives and olive oil as exfoliants and moisturizers. Lastly, honey along with milk and yogurt were used as anti-aging preparations.

Medieval Times

During the 12th century, cosmetics were regularly used in medieval Europe. Ointments consisted of animal fats. Smooth, white skin was highly regarded, and many women used herbal remedies to promote fair skin and diminish pimples. Aloe vera, rosemary, and cucumbers were used to cleanse the skin. Seeds, leaves, and flowers were also mixed with honey to create face masks, and vinegar was used as an astringent.


Women in the Renaissance period used silver mercury, lead, and chalk to color their faces. Most of the skin care practices were the same as the medieval period, and women primarily relied on herbs and honey to cleanse and rejuvenate their skin. Some other skin care remedies included using broom stalks to cleanse the skin and oatmeal boiled in vinegar to treat pimples. Bread soaked in rose water was also used to soothe puffy eyes.

The Baroque Era

During the Baroque Era, women believed in saunas and sweat cleansing. Milk baths were also used for smoother, clearer skin. Make up during this time was intended to look like paint, and heavy makeup was considered more respectable. Rouge was very popular, and in the 1780s, French women used two million pots of rogue per year. Women’s lips were reddened with distilled alcohol or vinegar.

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