Cosmetics have certainly come a long way over the course of the years. While our ancestors walked perfume-free and used berries to darken their lips, we’re now offered an array of products that help our skin look flawless for every occasion. However, when we talk about vegan cosmetics, it’s debatable whether our ancestors were also using them or modern society is responsible for this innovation.
Early days of cosmetics
Starting 7000 years ago, Kohl and lacewing flies were first used in Ancient Egypt. The gum of frankincense and fresh moringa were also used in Africa to treat wrinkles. To treat scars and burns, Egyptians used as special ointment made of red ochre, Kohl and sycamore juice. A poultice of carob grounds and honey, or an ointment made of knotgrass and powdered root of wormwood was used if the previous mixture didn’t do any good. For fresh breath, Egyptians chewed herbs, frankincense or licorice root stick, and we use it today as well. Moving further to Ancient China, somewhere around 3000 BC, people in Asia began to stain their fingernails with gum Arabic, gelatin, beeswax and egg white. In Japan, geishas painted their eyebrows and the edges of their eyes as well as their lips with lipstick made of crushed safflower petals. As a makeup base, geishas used sticks of bintsuke wax, a softer version of the sumo wrestlers’ hair wax. In Europe, pale skin was considered a sign of aristocracy, which is why many women used white lead paint. It may have contained arsenic, which was the reason for many women’s death.
What our grandmas used
Our grandmothers and their mothers weren’t so lucky to have so many cosmetic brands at their disposal to keep their skin supple and flawless, but they did have mother nature to assist them in this venture. Namely, they rubbed fruit and vegetable peels on their skin, massaging the inner peels on their face and hands, which was actually a natural moisturizer and provided the skin with nutrient-rich benefits. One of the best advice grandmothers could give was to put honey on wounds to help them heal faster and reduce the chance of scaring. Instead of spraying perfume, they used dry flowers and made moisturizing hair masks from vinegar and milk. They only used fresh ingredients that did not contain mineral oils, silicones and parabens. One of the great recipes for having shiny strong hair was to mix 2 tbsp each of amla, coconut and castor oil, heat it lightly on the stove and massage the warm oil into the scalp. To get the best ice facials, grandmas also froze green tea into ice cubes and it made their skin supple and firm. Bathing in milk and honey was the ultimate recipe for silky smooth skin.
Vegan cosmetics today
Vegan products are those products which do not contain any animal extracts or animal by-products in the ingredients or the manufacturing process. Furthermore, in order for a product to be considered vegan, its ingredients and the product itself must not be tested on animals. This includes, but is not limited to, honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin and many others. A variety of cosmetic brands have begun manufacturing vegan products which are a much healthier alternative to products containing harmful chemicals. While they may be a bit more costly than non-vegan products, you have to agree with the fact that you cannot put a price on your health. Also, the fact that our grandmothers opted for only natural remedies and makeup did allow their skin to look wonderful until old age, which also speaks for itself.
To sum up, vegan cosmetics is hardly an innovation. What we’ve seen to be used in ancient times has slowly found its way back to our lives and we couldn’t be happier to welcome all the wonders of nature into our lives. Vegan cosmetics of today are simply an improved version of what was used decades ago, and it’s definitely worth investing in and trying it out.