Mascara is one of the oldest makeup products on earth. There is evidence of its use across the globe dating right back to ancient times. In fact, it has been so widely used for thousands of years that who used it first is hard to determine.
Early Users of Mascara
Most historians believe it was Egyptians that developed, and used mascara, first. There are examples of mascara dating back to 4000 BC, which were found in ancient Egypt. They mixed charcoal or crocodile dung with honey and wax. It was stored in a pressed cake and applied by moistening the cake and using a sort of brush. Just like modern mascara, brushes the bristles were stiff, but because there were no synthetic materials available, they were made out of ivory or bone. These inflexible brushes were very finely crafted by hand, and were very precious items.
This kind of mascara doubled up as a kind of eyeliner and eye shadow, which was applied to create a mask around the eyes. Interestingly, mascara was worn by men as well as by women in ancient Egypt.
The Babylonians were definitely using it by the 5th century. European women were making it out of soot from about 900 BC onwards. Roman women used burnt date pits and rose petals to make their mascara from 100 BC onwards.
Mascara was even mentioned in the Karma Sutra, which was written between 400 and 200 BCE. There is a recipe in there that it says will make the wearer irresistible.
These home recipes were in more or less continuous use around the world. However, there is very little evidence that it was being made and sold commercially until the late 1800s.
Eugene Rimmel invented truly modern mascara. He came up with the idea of mixing traditional mascara base ingredients, such as soot, with petroleum jelly. The founder of Maybelline came up with a similar product around about the same time in 1913. These products were messy to use, but remained popular until Helena Rubinstein came up with her solution. She invented a lotion-based mascara and modern mascara was born.
For the best selection of high quality mascara at great prices visit the Save On Makeup website.