Makeup Brushes and Ancient Egyptian Ladies

My friends at King George Shop recently shared these lovely makeup brushes with me. And of course.... in typical fashion... I immediately connected them with something historical! I love researching ancient beauty techniques, rituals, and styles. In many ancient cultures makeup and beauty was more of a religious experience, and even involved the invoking of charms and spells! This was certainly the case in ancient Egypt- where makeup and beauty were more than skin deep!

KG Brush Set

The brushes from King George come in a lovely set. The brushes are a soft pink with handles made of silver sparkle. I really liked the small angled one, which is perfect for powder eyeliner (pretty much all I use these days). The small rounded one is perfect for blending your eyeshadow- especially in lid creases. I also love the large rounded for blush application!

Here's the brush set! I love how the handles are ridged- this gives you a little extra grip when using them. :)

Just doing a little powder eyeliner application! I'm using the small angled brush.

Small rounded brush- perfect for blended eyeshadow!

Using the large angled brush for a little cheek color application!

Did I tell you I love this brush!

Ancient Egyptian Ladies

So...while I'm using my brushes I'm thinking about how I feel a little "Cleopatra-ish" (Queen of Egypt, but Greek by ancestry- long story) and a little bit in awe of being a woman... isn't it wonderful to think about beauty rituals and how they transcend time and culture? Beauty is a concept that changes with time; but what never changes is the desire to look one's best and embrace one's own natural beauty! Let's chat a bit about ancient Egypt!

The ancient Egyptian culture is really old.  It’s beginnings can be traced back to 3150 B.C. (that’s over 5,000 years ago!).  Over the next 3,000 years the Egyptians ruled the Nile River Valley (with a few years in there where foreign invaders were in control). Just like in modern times trends changed over time, but the overall style of ancient Egypt remained the same with slight variations in makeup style and clothing style.

An Egyptian lady would have had a low chest or box in which she kept all of her beauty tools.  In the chest she would have kept combs, tweezers (I’ve seen a pair in a museum in Dublin).  Her makeup consisted of kohl (black eyeliner) and rouge.  These were kept in little jars or pots.  Kohl, which was made of malachite or galena, was applied around the eyes and over the eye brows.  In the Old Kingdom eyeliner went around the eye.  Green eye shadow was a favorite applied all of the eyelid- extending from the lash line all the way up to the brow.  Later, in the New Kingdom it went around the eye and extended out to the temple from the outer corner (what we would call a cat eye today).  Rouge, made of red ochre, was applied to her lips.  

Egyptian beauty box

They used little brushes or scoops made of bone or wood to apply the makeup to their faces.  The richer the woman the more decorative her little cosmetic jars or pots would have been.  I like to think of these makeup boxes like Egyptian kaboodles!  (Come on I know you remember kaboodles!)  

Duck shaped kohl scoop

I’d like to add that men wore makeup as well.  They are often depicted in paintings from the time wearing kohl around their eyes just like the women.  For example, King Tut’s sarcophagus (decorated coffin in his image) shows him wearing kohl around his eyes and extending from the corners out to his temples.  Egyptian men and women also would’ve used scented oils both for perfume and moisturize (after all the climate is very dry).  Their oils were made from myrrh oil and flower oils.  One that we know of in particular was called perfume of lily.  Sounds lovely!

More little makeup vessels!

So friends... order yourself some brushes from KG and when you're applying your eyeliner think about ancient Egypt and let that put a little pep in your step! :)