How Well Do You Know The History of Makeup?

HISTORY

Isadora Teich

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Makeup has been a fixation for thousands of years, men and women using it for all kinds of reasons. How well do you know your Kohl and your blush? Test your makeup IQ with this HowStuffWorks quiz!

Which ancient civilization is often credited for inventing makeup?

Makeup dates back 12,000 years. A lot of proof has been found to suggest ancient Egyptians were amongst the first people on Earth to experiment with cosmetics.

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What popular makeup look of the 1920s was the first widely copied?

The dramatic flapper look of the 1920s was all the rage. It included dramatic smoky eyes, thinly penciled eyebrows, bright red lips, red nails, heavy blush and a youthful complexion.

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For what reasons did ancient societies use makeup and beauty products?

In many ancient societies, makeup was used much like it is today, though occasionally with religious elements. For example, the ancient Egyptians used scented oils to soften their skin and mask body odor.

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Chinese and Japanese people used what for a whiter complexion?

Around 1500 B.C. it was common for Chinese and Japanese citizens to powder their faces with rice powder. This gave them a paler complexion.

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The first mascara was named after Mabel T.L. Williams, which became a signature of which brand?

T.L. Williams formulated the first mascara and named it for his sister. It was based on the homemade mascaras many women made themselves in the 1910s.

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Wigs were popular in Elizabethan England: True or false?

Blonde and red hair were fashionable for women during this time. Many would dye their hair or wear wigs. Wigs were so popular that it's believed Queen Elizabeth I had more than 80 of them.

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When did cosmetics as we know them start to be sold everywhere?

After the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers began producing things en masse. This applied to makeup, which rose in popularity dramatically in the 1920s as people sought to emulate the looks of film stars.

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Blue eyeshadow was popular during which decade?

Big and bold colors were all the rage during the 1980s. Women went big with bright blues, pinks and purples all over their eyes.

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What did ancient Chinese and Japanese people do to their teeth?

Around 1500 B.C. black and gold teeth were trendy in China and Japan. They would achieve this by painting the teeth.

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Ancient Egyptians used a primitive eyeliner called _________.

Ancient Egyptians used to line their eyes with kohl. This was made from a mixture of burnt almonds, oxidized copper, copper ores, lead, ash and ochre.

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Who wore makeup in ancient Egypt?

Both men and women wore cosmetics in ancient Egypt. They used similar products to define their faces and protect their skin from the sun.

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What toxic substance did the women of ancient Greece paint their faces with?

The women of ancient Greece painted their faces with white lead to get more even and pale complexions. They would also put on fake eyebrows, often made of ox hair.

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The first beauty salons were visited by women:

While during the Edwardian era pressure was put on aging women to look young, many were embarrassed to admit they needed help to do it. Many women would sneak into and out of beauty salons through the back door.

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Which influential queen publicly denounced makeup?

Queen Victoria declared makeup improper and decided it was only fit for actors. Visible makeup decreased in popularity during the Victorian era, though women still wore discreet cosmetics.

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What complexion has been historically prized?

Throughout history, a white complexion has been prized by numerous societies and cultures. These include the ancient Egyptians, ancient Chinese and Europe throughout the ages.

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Makeup for women of color was launched during which decade?

During the 1970s, companies began to create, advertise and sell makeup to women of color for the first time. One of the first companies that sold this type of makeup was Fashion Fair.

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Lipstick was popular in:

Around 1000 B.C. crude lipstick came into fashion in ancient Greece. It was made out of ochre clays that were tinted with red iron.

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Ancient Romans tried to treat_________.

The ancient Romans tried to fix their pimples with both barley flour and butter. This occurred around 100 A.D.

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Ancient Indians used what to dye their hair?

Henna has been used as both hair dye and in mehndi -- where complex designs are drawn on the hands and feet of Hindu brides-to-be -- for centuries. It is still used in India and parts of North Africa to this day.

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Mascara used to be sold in what form?

While modern mascaras are packaged as liquids in bottles with brush applicators, that was not always the case. In the early days of mascara, they were packaged as small cakes which needed to be activated with water.

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Disco swept America and inspired glittery glamorous makeup looks during which decade?

The fun decadence of disco inspired big looks. Glittery shimmery eyes and bold glossy lips were all the rage.

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What color hair was highly prized and considered "angelic" in Europe for centuries?

Blonde hair was highly sought after, as the feminine ideal was pale skin and gold hair. Women would lighten their hair with mixtures of black sulphur, alum and honey, which they would process in the sun.

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When did pressure start to be put on women to look young?

In the early 1900s, during the Edwardian era which followed the Victorian era, society began to put pressure on women to look as young as possible. They did this with makeup.

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Ancient Egyptians used oils and creams to protect themselves from the ________.

Ancient Egyptians made use of primitive sunscreens to protect their skin from the harsh elements. As they lived in the desert, this mostly included sun and wind.

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When did makeup become polarized as a feminist statement?

During the 1960s feminism came to the forefront. Many women rejected makeup, considering it oppressive to have to conform to beauty standards, while other wore it proudly as a mark of taking control of their own appearance.

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Ancient Egyptians wore makeup to appease:

Egyptians wore heavy kohl around their eyes, a form of primitive eyeliner. They believed that this appeased their god Horace, who favored those in white robes and heavy eye makeup.

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What hair color was fashionable in Elizabethan England?

Queen Elizabeth had naturally bright red hair. Many nobles and upper-class people tried to copy it.

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Ancient Romans used blood in which red beauty product?

Ancient Romans used a gruesome mixture to paint their nails. It contained both sheep fat and sheep blood.

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What drastic measure did European women take during the Middle Ages to achieve fashionably pale skin?

Pale skin was a sign of wealth in Europe during the Middle Ages. Women would bleed themselves to achieve perfectly pale skin.

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Victorians associated makeup with:

Victorians considered bold makeup to be the mark of prostitutes and actors, professions they looked down upon. Women still went to great lengths with more subtle makeup routines.

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Red lips and neutral toned eyes were on trend during which decade?

The classic 1950s pinup look involves red lips, thin eye brows, neutral eyes and a flawless base. Women were encouraged to run their houses while in full glam.

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Which ancient culture used a primitive kind of nail polish?

Around 3000 B.C., Chinese royals began to stain their finger nails bright colors with a combination of gum gelatin, beeswax and egg. People of higher classes wore bright colors, while it was forbidden for those of lower classes to do so.

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What part of their face did women start to tattoo in the early 20th century?

During this time George Burchett, who was known as the "Beauty Doctor," would tattoo lipstick onto women's lips. This painful procedure often had terrible consequences.

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Perfumes were first imported to Europe from the Middle East following the:

During the crusades, European forces traveled to the Middle East. As a result, trade routes opened and perfume began to be available in Europe for the first time in the 1200s A.D.

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During the Renaissance, who used cosmetics?

In Renaissance Europe, only the nobility wore makeup. It was often toxic and did irreparable damage to their skin, as it contained arsenic and lead.

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