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Cosmetics facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Various cosmetics
Nefertiti 30-01-2006
Nefertiti bust with eye liner
Lautrec woman at her toilette 1889
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: woman using cosmetics, 1889
Kissproof face powder from 1926.

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.

All cosmetics are temporary. They need to be renewed after a certain time. Cosmetics include lipstick, powders (e.g. blush, eyeshadow), and lotions as well as other things.

Facial cosmetics

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.
  • Lipstick.
  • 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".

Archaeological confirms use of cosmetics in ancient Egypt and Greece. Cosmetics used included:

  • 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.

The Ancient Greeks also used cosmetics. Cosmetics are mentioned also in the Old Testament.

Related pages

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Cosmético para niños

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Cosmetics Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.