Cosmetics (also called makeup, make up, or make-up) are products used to make the human body look different. Often cosmetics are used to make someone more attractive to one person, or to a culture or sub-culture. In Western culture, women are the main users of cosmetics. Their use by men is less frequent, except on stage, television and film. Cosmetics are widely used in the world of acting.
Most cosmetic products and methods are intended to improve the look of the face. There are two categories: those which improve the basic quality of the skin, and those which sit on the skin during active social life.
Care and preparation of the skin
The purpose here is to clean the skin, improve its basic quality, and prepare it for the application of make-up. Products are of these types:
- Cleansers, used to remove make-up and clean the skin.
- Toners, used to remove oil from the skin and close the pores on the skin.
- Moisturizers, used to make the skin soft and to reduce evaporation of water from the skin.
- Primers, used to prepare the surface for the later application of make-up.
- Concealers, to mask flaws or slightly modify the colour of the skin.
- Foundation, a product which holds face-powder in place. More generally, it create an even, uniform colour, covers flaws and adjusts the natural skintone.
These are the cosmetics which the viewer actually sees on the face (or other parts of the body). They are some or all of these:
- Rouge or blusher: talcum-based reddish powder, to give a more youthful appearance. Used mainly to emphasize the cheekbones, sometimes to redden the cheeks. Very ancient, used by the ancient Egyptians.
- Face powder. Applied with a powder puff, brush or sponge, it comes in all shades to match skin.
- Eye make-up.
- Hand care: manicure and nail polish
History of cosmetics
The word cosmetics comes from the Greek κοσμητικός (kosmētikos), "skilled in ordering or arranging".
- Castor oil used by ancient Egypt as a protection balm.
- Skin creams made of beeswax, olive oil, and rosewater, used by Romans.
- Vaseline and lanolin in the nineteenth century.
- Nivea Creme was the first stable water-in-oil emulsion, 1911.
Images for kids
Eye shadow being applied
Broadway actor Jim Brochu applies make-up before the opening night of a play.
The chin mask known as chutti for Kathakali, a performing art in Kerala, India, is considered the thickest makeup applied for any art form.
Cosmetics at department store Farmers Centre Place in Hamilton, New Zealand
Model Alek Wek receiving make-up from a professional.
Cosmetics Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.