Eye Shadow History - Invention of the Eye Shadow

Eye shadow is a cosmetic product that is applied on the eyelids and under eyebrows. This is done to accentuate wearers (usually female) eyes, give them depth, dimension, and make them more attractive and noticeable. Over the course of history, many civilizations used eye shadow as an important part of their fashion and religion, creating countless types of colors and eye shadow textures. Because eye shadow can quickly and effectively totally change the appearance of ones face, stage and film actors used this cosmetic product to form the look of their iconic roles.

Eye Shadows

First proof of eye shadow existence leads to 12 thousand years ago in Ancient Egypt, where they used famous substance called kohl (made out from lead, oxidized copper, ochre, ash, malachite, crushed antimony, burnt almonds and chrysocolla ore). They did not use this substance just as a means to improve their appearance, but it also served a purpose as a medicinal remedy that reduced infections and glare. It is also worth to mention that eye shadow, as many other Egyptian cosmetic product was a part of a religious ceremonies and daily religious life. Royalty (and eventually rest of the population) used cosmetic products to enhance their looks and bring them more to the appearance that emulated their gods. Another type of ancient eye liner can be found in Mesopotamia, some 5 thousand years ago. There women grinded semi-precious stones and used their sparkling dust to decorate their lips and eyes.

After eye shadow products came into Greece and Rome, they lost their religious significance and were used only as tools for making someone more pretty. Luxurious and expensive eye shadows from distant kingdoms such as Babylon and India were not available to entire population, and only upper-class women and men had the funds to get hold of them. Romans also created their own versions of eye shadows, with recipes that involved herbs, crushed minerals, dried flowers, animal sources, and crystallized dyes from plants.

Eye Shadow in Tube

Modern day version of eye shadow was born in in early 20th century, during the fashion revolution of 1920s. Then, chemist found the way to use mineral ingredients that removed unwanted effects of previous eye shadow products (irritation and hard removal). From that point on, eye shadow became important part of worldwide fashion, sometimes being very popular and sometimes receding and enabling women to use more “natural” look.