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The Evolution of Mascara: Enhancing Beauty and Defining Eyes

CEO Tinh Phung
Image: A mascara tube and a wand applicator Mascara, a cosmetic staple in every makeup lover's arsenal, has a rich history of enhancing and defining eyelashes. From ancient civilizations to modern-day beauty routines, mascara has...

A mascara tube and a wand applicator Image: A mascara tube and a wand applicator

Mascara, a cosmetic staple in every makeup lover's arsenal, has a rich history of enhancing and defining eyelashes. From ancient civilizations to modern-day beauty routines, mascara has evolved to become a must-have product for many. Let's take a journey through time and explore the fascinating story of mascara.

A Brief Definition

The Collins English Dictionary defines mascara as a cosmetic substance used to darken, lengthen, curl, color, and thicken eyelashes. It comes in various forms such as liquid, powder, or cream, with the most common being a liquid in a tube with an application brush.

Uncovering the Origins

The etymology of the word "mascara" is still a subject of debate. It is believed to have derived from the Spanish word "máscara" meaning 'mask' or 'stain', and the Italian word "maschera" meaning 'mask.' Historical references also suggest possible origins from Catalan, Portuguese, and Arabic words.

Latin treatises even associated the word "mascara" with witches. The concept of enhancing the eyes with dark substances goes back centuries and was prevalent in ancient Egypt, where a substance called kohl was used for darkening eyelashes, eyelids, and eyebrows.

Mascara Through the Ages

During the Victorian era, mascara gained popularity as women sought to create the illusion of long, dark lashes. They concocted their homemade mascara using ash or lampblack mixed with elderberry juice.

In the 19th century, chemist Eugène Rimmel revolutionized mascara by developing a cosmetic using petroleum jelly. The Rimmel brand became synonymous with mascara in various languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Romanian, and Persian.

Across the Atlantic, in 1915, Thomas Lyle Williams created a similar mascara product for his sister Mabel. This led to the establishment of the renowned makeup brand Maybelline.

From Cake to Cream

The mascara formulations of the past were often messy and impractical. It wasn't until 1957 that Helena Rubinstein introduced a lotion-based cream mascara in a tube with an applicator brush, making it easier to apply.

Mascara being applied Image: Mascara being applied

Over time, the mascara applicator evolved, from a grooved rod to the brush we commonly use today. These innovations made mascara application more precise and convenient, leading to its increased popularity.

The Artistic Expression of Mascara

Mascara has also found its way into artistic expression, symbolizing emotions such as depression. The image of smudged mascara has become a powerful visual representation of vulnerability and inner turmoil.

Safety and Ingredients

When using mascara, it is essential to consider safety precautions. Eye cosmetics containing certain substances, such as kohl, kajal, or thiomersal (mercury), can pose health risks. It is crucial to be aware of the ingredients in mascara products and choose reputable brands.

The Future of Mascara

Mascara continues to evolve, embracing new technologies and ingredients. Modern mascaras often include lash-boosting serums, botanicals, and pro-vitamin-enriched formulas. Korean technology leads the way in mascara innovation, with tubing formulas that coat the lashes.

Mascara-coated eyelashes Image: Mascara-coated eyelashes

As the beauty industry advances, mascara remains a timeless beauty tool, delivering instant definition and allure to the eyes.

Conclusion

Mascara has come a long way, from ancient Egypt to modern-day beauty routines. Its transformative powers have made it an essential item in makeup kits worldwide. So whether you're looking for longer, fuller lashes or want to express your emotions through artistic makeup, mascara will always play a significant role in enhancing your natural beauty.

References:

  • Collins English Dictionary
  • Oxford English Dictionary
  • The Peck & Snyder Catalogue (1886)
  • The Century Dictionary (1890)
  • N. Lynn, Lynn's Practical Hints for Making-up (1894)
  • Luiza, A historia de Luiza
  • Wikimedia Commons
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