The History of Face Masks

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The History of Face Masks

For thousands of years, women have been applying special ointments on their skin to look and feel rejuvenated. Across time, we’ve got better and better at refining the ingredients and making sure they’re applied in the best way possible. Here, we’ll charter the history of the face masks from prehistory until the present.

Women across time have been applying creams to keep their skin supple. Ladies in South America used avocado to keep their complexion fresh whilst people in Africa used palm oil. The Bible mentions that lotions were created out of olive oil and spices and Byzantine relics share home recipes for masks including natural ingredients like: aloe vera, myrrh and egg yolks. These would then get washed off after they’d gone hard on the face with warm oil.

In Ancient Egypt beauty was regarded as a sign of holiness and there was a culture of cosmetics and personal care. Face masks made from natural ingredients were used to nourish and rejuvenate skin. It’s thought that Cleopatra regularly applied face masks to keep her complexion bright and glowing.

Asia also has an ancient tradition of face masks. In China, there are tales of imperial consorts preparing their own creams to keep their skin looking youthful. Some of the first records showing evidence of face mask use date back to the Tang Dynasty. One of China’s ‘four great beauties’, Yang Guifei, applied a concoction including cream of almonds to lighten and lift her skin. Another record shows she used more precious ingredients such as white jade, lotus roots, pearls and ginseng. She’d apply the mixture on her face, let it dry and wash the hard paste away.

In Europe across the 16-18th Centuries, women applied lead paste on their skin to make them pale. It was fashionable to have light complexion to show you didn’t have to work outside, get a tan and were therefore wealthy. Unfortunately, the toxic affects of lead weren’t understood at the time.

In England, 1875, the first actual face mask was sold by Madame Rowley for “Beautifying, Bleaching and Preserving the Complexion.” Endorsed by celebrities of the time, they were to be used three times a week as you slept. Unfortunately, they were rather heavy weight and had to be strapped on at the back of your head – not very convenient.

Face masks have come a long way since then. Now you can enjoy products that aren’t going to be toxic or difficult to use. Advanced serums and lightweight masks are changing the face of beauty for the better. For example, Lecler uses silky thin cotton and silk sheets with powerful active ingredients to give a unique hydrating effect. Why not try it out for yourself?


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