Who Wore Makeup in Ancient Greece?

Makeup is a commonly used tool to enhance one’s appearance. While it is prevalent in modern times, did you know that makeup has been used since ancient times? In this article, we will explore who wore makeup in ancient Greece.

Ancient Greek Society

Ancient Greece was a patriarchal society where men held the power and women were expected to be obedient and subservient. However, women did have some freedoms, such as attending religious festivals and participating in athletic games. They were also allowed to wear makeup.

Makeup in Ancient Greece

Makeup was an integral part of Ancient Greek society, and both men and women wore it. The use of makeup was not only for aesthetic purposes but also for medicinal reasons. Many makeup products contained natural ingredients that had healing properties.

Women’s Makeup

Women’s makeup in Ancient Greece consisted of a white lead foundation called ‘ceruse,’ which they applied on their face, neck, and chest. This foundation made their skin appear paler, which was considered beautiful at the time.

They also used a red pigment called ‘rouge’ on their cheeks and lips to create a rosy glow. This pigment was made from crushed mulberries or beets. Women would also use charcoal or black powder as eyeliner to enhance their eyes’ beauty.

Men’s Makeup

Men in Ancient Greece also used makeup, but their products were less elaborate than women’s. They mainly used oil-based perfumes like ‘Kyphi’ and ‘Mendesian’ to smell good. These perfumes were made from herbs like myrtle and rosemary.

The Role of Makeup in Ancient Greek Society

Makeup played an essential role in Ancient Greek society beyond just enhancing one’s appearance. It was believed that the use of cosmetics had medicinal properties that could cure various ailments. For example, eyeliner was thought to protect the wearer from the evil eye, while red pigment was believed to ward off demons.

Makeup was also used as a symbol of wealth and status. Wealthy women would have expensive cosmetics made from imported ingredients, while poorer women would make their own makeup from local materials.

In conclusion

In Ancient Greece, makeup was not just a cosmetic product but also had medicinal and symbolic significance. Both men and women wore makeup, with women’s products being more elaborate than men’s. Makeup played a crucial role in enhancing one’s appearance and social status in Ancient Greek society.