Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
"In the 1800s, Queen Victoria publicly declared makeup impolite. It was viewed as vulgar and something that was worn by actors and prostitutes."  By World War II, cosmetics had common application in the West (although banned in Nazi Germany). Other notable events in cosmetics history are detailed in the external link below. In Japan, geishas wore lipstick made of crushed safflower petals to paint the eyebrows and edges of the eyes as well as the lips. Sticks of bintsuke wax, a softer version of the sumo wrestlers' hair wax, were used by geisha as a makeup base. White paste and powder colour the face and back; rouge contours the eye socket and defines the nose. Black paint colours the teeth for the ceremony when maiko (apprentice geisha) graduate and become independent.
The role of modern cosmetics is to simulate youthfulness, health and, to an extent, arousal. The various forms of cosmetic include lipstick and lip gloss (used to colour the lips, a facsimile of sexual arousal); foundation, powder, and rouge (used to colour the face, lightening and removing flaws to produce an impression of health and youth); mascara (used to enhance the eyelashes, larger eyes compared to face is a sign of youth) and eyeliner and eyeshadow (used to colour the eyelids); and nail polish (used to colour the fingernails and toenails).
As of 2005, the cosmetics industry is dominated by a small number of multinationals that all originated in the early 20th century. Of the dominant firms, the oldest and the largest is L'Oréal, which was founded by Eugene Shueller in 1909 as the French Harmless Hair Colouring Company. The true market developers were the 1910s American trio Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubinstein and Max Factor. These firms established the market and were augmented by Revlon just before World War II and Estée Lauder just after.
More general than enhancing beauty, change of physical appearance is achieved by specialized forms of cosmetics (stage makeup), used to prepare actors for roles in the theatre and screen productions. A wide variety of effects are possible and may go so far as to make the actor appear completely nonhuman through the use of prosthetic appliances. Makeup is also used to train medical professionals to recognize and treat injuries (moulage).
The Romans and ancient Egyptians used cosmetics containing mercury. The ingredients of modern cosmetics may also surprise those who use them: lipstick, for example, can contain fish scales -- or, rather, the "shimmery" substance of fish scales called "pearl essence". Pearl essence is obtained primarily from herring and is one of many by-products of large-scale commercial fish processing. The red color of many lipsticks is from the dye carmine, made from the crushed bodies of the cochineal insect. See external link below for other ingredients of lipstick.
- Article on history, ingredients and method of manufacture of lipstick
- A chronological history of cosmetics
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