ChapterPDF Available

Some of the great inventions of ancient Egyptians Part I: - Beauty, cosmetics, body care& related items

  • Egyptian Ministry Of Tourism& Antiquities
Some of the great inventions of ancient Egyptians Venice. I. Attia October 2017 1 | P a g e
Some of the great inventions of ancient Egyptians
Venice I S Attia
Part I: - Beauty, cosmetics, body care& related items
Egypt and its people has had a
glorious past, thus its people
descended from a civilization that was
once the most intellectually and
technologically advanced in the world,
thus ancient Egyptian creations can
be seen today with its modifications
several fields of life such as:- beauty ,
fashion, agriculture, astronomy,
mathematics, medicine, language ,
architecture and many more fields,
some of which we still see their
influence today and because we all
sometimes need a reminder, here’s
some of the most important successful
inventions that were created by
ancient Egyptians before any other
Beauty, cosmetics, body care&
related items:-
- Eyeliner & eye shadows:-
Good appearance and beauty received
a great care and attention by
Egyptian people in ancient Egypt
regarded as a sign of holiness, and
was not limited to women where for
example eye makeup gave Egyptians a
distinctive look where they used kohl
(combined soot with a mineral called
galena which is still popular today) to
outline their eyes in black color not
only as a kind of makeup and beauty
revealing but also believing that
applying a thick coating of kohl cures
various eye diseases and keep them
from falling victim to the evil, they
also had other colors used in eye
makeup such as green (made out of
malachite, copper carbonate),
grey (from the ore of lead), as well as
powder of other minerals to acquire
other colors.
Some of the great inventions of ancient Egyptians Venice. I. Attia October 2017 2 | P a g e
Galena Malachite
(kohl, ore of lead) (copper carbonat hydroxide)
An eye of the funerary mask of Tutankhamen
Eye makeup (eyeshadow and eyeliner) 4000 BCE
Kohl stick or Hair pin
- Lips& cheek coloring (rouge):-
They didn't stop there, and they also
developed rouge (lip coloring) made
of tinted clay and nail polish made
from henna plant, red ochre.
-Creams& ointments:-
made from animal fat and beeshoney
with other herbs,plants or mierals,
used and applied as needed for
various body parts.
- Perfumes:-
they also made perfumes from different
plants, herbs and scented flowers
(frankincense, myrrh, cassia and
cinnamon,….) planted and cultivated
along the Nile beside importing
essential oils and tree resins thus
creating a lot of perfume scents, also
their deodorant was produced from
incense, thus Egyptian perfumes were
famous throughout the
Mediterranean and that was
described by Pliny saying that a
perfume which still had its full
fragrance after eight years. To extract
the flower, herbs and plant scents and
essential oils used as perfumes
theyused two methods as follows:-
-Enfleurage method:-
where flowers, herbs or plants were
soaked in resins or in layers fat for
several days forming lumps of scented
creams or pomades shaped as a cone
and wear them on the top of their
heads,and as the day progress, the
pomade melts slowly allowing
fragrant oil to run down through hair,
face and neck, scenting the whole
body oils also as well as protecting
Some of the great inventions of ancient Egyptians Venice. I. Attia October 2017 3 | P a g e
skin from sun and sand.
-Maceration method:-
where oil and or fat were heated
Then flowers, herbs,plants or fruits
were added to the hot mixture then
sieved, then the mixture is cooled, and
shaped into balls or cones, This is
almost the same basic methodthe sort
of solid perfume we still use today.
-Body and skin care:-
-Hair removal :-
earliest shaving instruments and tools
were sharp stone blades, fine copper,
bronze and trapezium razors, set in a
wooden handle.
Hair removal included applying kinds
of pastes (creams) which was rubbed
then removed with a sharp stone
Egyptians were the first people to
know shaving where personal
appearance and hygiene was of great
importance in and getting rid of
unwanted body hair and its removal
was a must, sometimes shaving wasn’t
just for appearances but was to stop
spreading of lice and other diseases.
Barber shaving the head of a soldier
Tomb of Userhat, 18th dynasty
Barber working on his clients beneath a sycamore tree
while others waiting for their turn(Tomb of Userhat
(TT56)West Bank of Ancient Thebes (Luxor).
A pre-dynastic ivory comb found in tomb in Upper-
Egypt. (before 3500 BC) at Cairo Museum
Hair dyes:- an example regularly
used is the henna which is a natural
dye giving a deep orange-red color, it
is produced from the dried green
leaves of a shrub plant
Some of the great inventions of ancient Egyptians Venice. I. Attia October 2017 4 | P a g e
called Lawsonia inermis, which are
crushed into powder mixed with
water forming a paste used in hair
and body dying, thus it is a temporary
dye that lasts on the skin or hair for
several weeks before fading away
- Wigs:-
ancient Egyptians invented wigs, both
men and women wore wigs especially
high ranks and rich people, except
priests, the reason for wearing wigs
was to protect their heads from the
sun as well as to cover their bald
heads which was sometimes shaved to
avoid lice and other hair pests, to
cover grey hair and were also
necessary for the afterlife as they were
kept in special wig chest and were
buried in tombs.
Wigs were made mainly of human
hair, with plant fiber or sheep wool
added to increase volume, were
covered with beeswax and resin gave
them stiffness, having various sizes,
shapes, styls and even braided
appearance. It is also
important to point to the hair
extensions they made.
Wigs were made by barbers or wig
Ancient Egypian wigs
Recreated wig cover from original pieces( from the tomb
of three minor wives of Thutmose III at Wady Gabbanat
el-Qurud, circa 1479-1425 BC). Made of gold, gesso,
carnelian, glass and jasper.
A skull of a3,300 year old woman with 70 hair
extensions (discovered in the ancientArmana city ).
Credit: Photo by Jolanda Bos and Lonneke Beukenholdt
Middle Kingdom, Deir el Bahri
Source: Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh
Some of the great inventions of ancient Egyptians Venice. I. Attia October 2017 5 | P a g e
Mummy with wig of queen Henuttawy. XXI Dynasty.
Cairo Museum
- Cosmetics Pots, makeup
palettes& mirrors :-
For keeping the makeup materials
they invented and produced pots with
various materials, shapes and sizes,
thus some of the earliest makeup
palettes date back to about 5000 BCE.
Toiletry casket IV dynasty(Tulane University site)
Faience Kohl pot formed as God Bes; Egypt, 18th dynasty,
1400-1300 BCE. Louvre Museum.
Kohl pot in the form of a Nubian porter New Kingdom (1550-
1069 BC) Limestone and calcite (Egyptian alabaster) Louvre
Kohl Container shaped as a Palm tree. New Kingdom, late 18th
Dynasty - 19th Dynasty, 1550-1202 B.C.
Kohl Pot from New kingdom
(ca.1539-1070 B.C) Abydos, D28a
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Diorite, gold leaf, new kingdom Thebes, Wadi Gabbanat el-
Qurud, Wadi D, Tomb of the 3 Foreign Wives of Thutmose III,
Mets museum
Some of the great inventions of ancient Egyptians Venice. I. Attia October 2017 6 | P a g e
Cosmetic Container shaped as a Girl Wearing a Fish Pendant.
12th Dynasty (ca. 19811802 B.C.). Black steatite; Image
courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum, London
Kohl pot& miniature pestle and mortar
Adding to the previous they made mirrors of
copper and silver alloys
copper alloy mirror from the 2nd Millennium BC has a handle
made out of stone that looks like a column of papyrus (Credit:
Courtesy Two Temple Place/ Maccles field Museum)
Woman holding a mirror. Turin Papyrus. Getty images
-Oral health and dental care:-
Tooth picks:- Ancient Egyptians
invented toothpicks and those were
discovered in ancient tombs.
-Toothpaste:- they also created their
own toothpaste to keep their teeth
clean and pearly white colored
keeping their teeth as perfect as they
could be.
The first materials used in cleaning
teeth included myrrh plant powder,
oxen hooves, egg shells, pumice, thus a
document dated back to 4thcentury
AD discovered in Viennese museum
basement is points to the world’s first
known toothpaste formula, where
Egyptians crushed and mixed rock
salt, mint, dried iris flower with
pepper making a paste used for
cleaning their teeth.
Iris flower Mint plant
-Treatment of bad breath:-
for that purpose they created the
world’s first mint, shaped like a pellet
that contains a combination of
myrrh, frankincense, and
cinnamon boiled with honey and that
mixture is effective in eliminating the
bad odors of mouths
Some of the great inventions of ancient Egyptians Venice. I. Attia October 2017 7 | P a g e
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.