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Make-up has been used by women and men for many centuries to enhance the way we look. The earliest historical record of make-up comes from the 1st Dynasty of Egypt (c.3100-2907 BC) when both sexes used a substance called unguent to keep their skin supple, hydrated and wrinkle-free in the scorching heat. Egyptian women also decorated their eyes by blackening the upper lids and lashes with kohl or soot.
In the years that followed, people would try out all kinds of substances to enhance their appearance, sometimes putting their health at risk with homemade cosmetics. In some cultures, for instance, women used lead, mercury and even leeches to give themselves a ‘fashionable’ pale complexion.
Today we spend more than £1billion each year in the UK on make-up products; thankfully, scientific advancements mean the days of using deadly mixtures as cosmetics are long gone. In fact, thanks to sound science and strict regulation, cosmetics have never been safer.
You can find out more about the science that goes into face, lip and eye make-up.