Who Invented Makeup?

Man in Black Shirt and Gray Knit Cap

The history of makeup dates back thousands of years, and it’s impossible to attribute its invention to a single individual. Various civilizations and cultures worldwide have used cosmetics for adornment, religious ceremonies, and cultural practices. So, who invented makeup? Here are some notable milestones in the history of makeup.

How Ancient Civilizations Used Makeup

Ancient Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians had elaborate use of cosmetics. They used a range of substances, including minerals, plant extracts, and animal-based ingredients, to create cosmetics such as kohl eyeliner, foundation, and lip color.

Ancient Greeks and Romans

Both the ancient Greeks and Romans used cosmetics for beautification purposes. They used powders, pigments, and fragrances to enhance their appearance.

Middle Ages and Renaissance

During the Middle Ages, makeup use declined in Western societies due to religious and cultural influences that associated makeup with sin or immorality. However, some groups, such as actors and performers, continued to use makeup.

In the Renaissance, makeup use became more prevalent among the upper classes. They used lead-based white foundation and other products to achieve a pale complexion.

Modern Developments in the Use of Makeup

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, cosmetic products became more widely available and commercialized. Companies like Max Factor, Elizabeth Arden, and Helena Rubinstein played significant roles in popularizing and advancing the cosmetics industry.

Additionally, new technologies and the rise of film and photography in the 20th century further fueled the demand for makeup products. As such, innovations like waterproof mascara, liquid foundation, and long-lasting lipsticks emerged during this period.

There has been significant growth in the makeup industry in recent years, with countless brands and products catering to various needs and preferences. Further, the advent of social media and beauty influencers has propelled the popularity and influence of makeup.

Famous People in the History of Cosmetics

Throughout history, numerous inventors have made significant contributions to the world of makeup and cosmetics. Here are some notable inventors and the products they created:

Max Factor (1872-1938)

Max Factor, a Polish-American cosmetics pioneer, is known for developing modern makeup products. You can call him the father of makeup because he invented the first commercially available foundation in 1914, called Pan-Cake. This revolutionized makeup application, providing a smoother, more even complexion.

Eugene Schueller (1881-1957)

Eugene Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal, invented the first synthetic hair dye in 1907 called Aureole. His innovation marked the beginning of the modern hair coloring industry.

T.L. Williams (1888-1957)

He was the founder of Maybelline, and he created the first mascara in 1915. He formulated it for his sister, Mabel, by combining coal dust with Vaseline to darken and lengthen her eyelashes.

Charles Revson (1906-1975)

Charles Revson co-founded Revlon in 1932 and played a key role in popularizing nail polish. He introduced the first opaque, long-lasting nail enamel initially created for automobile paint.

Hazel Bishop (1906-1998)

Hazel Bishop invented the first long-lasting, smudge-proof lipstick in 1949. Her invention revolutionized the lipstick industry and led to the famous brand Hazel Bishop.

François Nars (born 1959)

François Nars is a makeup artist and founder of the cosmetics brand NARS.

Pat McGrath (born 1970)

Patricia Ann McGrath is a highly influential and renowned British makeup artist and beauty mogul. She founded the Pat McGrath Labs and launched her eponymous makeup line in 2015, starting with highly sought-after products like lipsticks, eyeshadows, and highlighters. 

Huda Kattan (born 1983)

Huda Kattan is one of the recent additions to the long list of famous makeup artists turned founders. She gained recognition for her false eyelashes. Her brand, Huda Beauty, began in 2013.

Rihanna (born 1988)

Rihanna, the famous singer and entrepreneur, launched Fenty Beauty in 2017. Her brand gained acclaim for its inclusive range of foundation shades, catering to a wide range of skin tones.

Lisa Eldridge (born 1974)

Lisa Eldridge is a renowned makeup artist who collaborated with brands like Lancôme and created her cosmetics line. You may know her for her Velvet lipsticks.

While there isn’t a single inventor, the development and evolution of makeup have been shaped by countless individuals throughout history. From ancient civilizations to modern innovators, many cultures and communities have contributed to the growth of the cosmetic products industry.