People in ancient Egypt used many aromatic oils to protect and enhance their skin. They used oils as sun blockers from the harsh climate, to prevent or minimize wrinkles and stretch marks, and even to get rid of cellulite. The Egyptians used these oils regularly and diligently; they also used myrrh to keep them smelling fresh. Other oils used in Egypt included lavender, thyme, rosemary and peppermint.
Egyptians used honey both on the dead to preserve mummies and on the living keep their skin smooth and clear. Honey maintains water in the skin to keep it well hydrated. Honey also has antiseptic properties. Remember to use pure honey that will not attract insects or stain clothing.
Queen Cleopatra often bathed in milk. Today you can do the same, but instead of pouring milk into your bathtub, look for products containing Alpha Hydroxic Acid (AHA), naturally found in milk. It keeps your skin soft and smooth by exfoliating it. Some citrus fruits also contain AHA.
Sea salts were plentiful and highly prized in ancient Egypt. You can add them to your bath for cleansing and softening. The minerals in the salts also combat stress and fluid retention; sea salts also slow the aging process by increasing circulation throughout the body.
- She also traveled to the Dead Sea to build a spa. According to the One India website, “the Dead Sea water contains 35 percent of minerals per liter of water, which helps cure skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. It naturally contains clay and minerals, which absorb into the skin directly. Aloe Vera was used to moisturize the skin and heal wounds.
In ancient Egypt, both men and women wore makeup to look more beautiful. The makeup enhanced the natural beauty of the face. They mixed pigments with fats and waxes to create the cosmetics. To make the eyes stand out, they colored the rims, lashes and brows and used eyeshadow on the lids and around the eyes. They used green malachite to color or outline the eyes, kohl eyeliner (made out of galena or lead sulfide), the spice saffron (as an eyeshadow), and burnt almonds to color the eyes and eyebrows. They also used ceruse (a white pigment) and chalk to lighten the face, and red ochre (a red clay) and wine to add color to the lips and cheeks
- Ancient Egyptians often wore wigs and hair extensions to create the look of beautiful hair. They also served practical purposes, protecting people from the heat of the sun and head lice. The hair was often braided and dyed with henna.
- The hair was adorned with beads, lotus blossoms, gold tubes, ribbons, petals and berries. These decorations gave the head an ornate look, and the more money a person had the more they could spend on high-quality wigs, hairpieces and decorations.
- By Dr. Aisha El-Awady has a bachelor’s degree in medicine from Cairo University and is currently working as instructor of Parasitology in the Faculty of Medicine.
Hair and Wigs in Ancient Egypt
They wore elaborate wigs, which they dyed a variety of colors
“In ancient Egypt thick hair was favored, and although common women kept their own hair, those of higher status had the whole head and body shaved for hygienic purposes to prevent infestations with lice; it was also more comfortable in the hot summer climate to shave the head. However, they did not prefer the shaven look but instead wore elaborate wigs, which they dyed a variety of colors, including blue, green, blond, and gold, though black was the favored color for wigs.
The wigs were made using human and animal hairs, together with plant fibers. Around 300 strands were used for each wig, and the strands were kept in place using pomade made from wax. The wigs were frequently scented with perfumes and were usually divided into three sections, two on either side and one down the back.
The Egyptians also used wigs to defy the signs of aging and balding. They used henna to cover up gray hair, and a wide variety of remedies were available for stimulating hair growth in bald men. Some of these included the application to the scalp of fats derived from ibex, crocodiles, snakes, lions, geese, cats and goats. A number of oils such as rosemary oil, castor oil, and almond oil were used to facilitate hair growth. Bald spots were also smeared with chopped lettuce.”
BBC NEWS CLEOPATRA
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