Mediterranean Beauty Rituals Part 2: Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptians have been hailed as the Mediterranean’s first great civilisation. Fuelled by their innovation, religious beliefs and fascinating culture, they developed a unique take on beauty, which has remained iconic throughout the Mediterranean and the world. In fact, it would not be unfair to say that they were incredibly vain and beauty-obsessed. Cosmetics and Skin care products were used far and wide across the Nile-side kingdom, as well as being used across classes and sexes. Indeed, beauty was so important to the Ancient Egyptians that they were commonly buried with cosmetics so that they could look beautiful in the afterlife.

The Ancient Egyptian perception and application of beauty went on to inspire the Ancient Greeks, as their ideology of symmetrical statue making was steadily introduced and embraced in Greece, facilitating the later phenomenon which it became. This ideology was then adopted and adapted by the Romans, and proliferated throughout their empire, so it need not be controversial to say that Ancient Egypt had an active role in the classical European perception of beauty.

Ancient Egyptian Beautifying Ingredients

Almonds – The Ancient Egyptians made use of almonds for their natural oils and ability to colour eye makeup. Almond oil plays an active role in pore and follicle cleaning and is used in many modern day products such as our 4-in-1 Cleansing Milk.

Flower and vegetable extracts – As well as from nuts, the Egyptians would extract oils from flowers and vegetables to be used in cosmetic products for their anti-ageing benefits. A prominent example of an Ancient Egyptian cosmetic is rose water, which is still popular today.

Olive oil – This product was used in many ancient cosmetics, the Egyptians used it in soaps to help cleanse their bodies and nourish their skin, as well as in hair products to clean their follicles. Olive oil is full of phytonutrients that work wonders for the skin, and in fact we use it as a base for all of our products.

Olive Oil in Cosmetics

A Few of Cleopatra’s Favourites

Cleopatra has gone down as one of the great beauties of history and according to many sources and experts, was incredibly vain and conscious of her appearance. She has become famous since her death due to her affairs with Marc Antony and Caesar, as well as her unique and iconic look; here are a few of her skincare must-haves; 

Milk – It is documented and widely believed that Cleopatra would bathe in milk in order to preserve her youthful skin. Milk contains mild alpha hydroxyl acids which soften and brighten the skin, so the whole milk-bath thing might not actually be a bad idea!

Honey – Cleopatra’s famous cleanser made use of honey, which she would mix with milk to form a cosmetic product which would clean and soothe her skin. Honey is a fantastic, naturally occurring product with antibacterial qualities and packed with vitamins. Our Nourishing Night Face Cream utilises honey’s natural soothing qualities.

Sea salt- Cleopatra, like modern cosmetic connoisseurs, understood the use of sea salt in a beauty routine. Cleopatra would apparently journey to Jordan to bathe in the Dead Sea, which is famous for its natural healing powers due to its incredibly high salt ratio. Salt helps to cleanse our pores and is a great natural remedy for eczema.

Sea Salt in Cosmetics

Ancient Origins, Modern Applications

It would not be unfair to conclude that the Egyptians were a very vain bunch; they valued youth and beauty incredibly highly and sought to protect and prolong it. Amazingly, they actually got it right. The products that the Ancient Egyptians used to soothe, clean and preserve their skin are still widely used in the modern world and indeed by us at Olivoderm! 


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