The History of Skin Care & Beauty: Ancient Greek Secrets

by Posted in Skin .

The word “cosmetic” comes from the Greek word “Kosmetikos” which means a sense of harmony, tranquillity and order. The ancient Greeks were fascinated by their local produce, and, not surprisingly, used most of the ingredients they found within their natural environment to create their beauty products, and these ideas have shaped many of the modern beauty treatments we use today.

Greece’s Mediterranean climate made the growing of fruits, nuts and vegetables an easy process, and these skin-nourishing ingredients formed the basis of many of the ancient Greeks’ first body oils and lotions. The Greeks were heavily influenced by the basics of Egyptian beauty principles, although they quickly adapted their own methods by distilling the oils and essences from various herbs and plants to produce skin-purifying lotions and treatments.

Olive oil was in fact one of the most important products in ancient Greece’s skin care creations. Initially, olive oil was extracted to make fragranced oils, yet it quickly became a part of all Grecian culture, including cooking, lighting, pharmaceutical purposes and cosmetic use. Olive oil became the staple for daily personal hygiene and body care, used as a beautifying skin cleanser and after-bath moisturiser. Greek men would rub olive oil into their skin before exercising or going into battle.

As with most countries, the Greek’s main aim was to achieve smooth and supple skin, as well as looking effortlessly beautiful and striking in their appearance.



The Greeks associated tanned skin with the lower classes, because only the most wealthy and educated did not have to work outdoors. The ideal Grecian woman was seen to have pale skin, dark hair (often in curls) and berry red lips and cheeks. As most Grecian women, no matter what class they were from, were of a naturally dark complexion, Greek women would apply toxic powders made from white lead or chalk to their face and body to achieve a lustrous complexion. They would also use large amounts of lead-based facial masks in order to remove impurities and blemishes from the skin. In order to darken their hair and create a rouge tint to their lips and cheeks, dyes made from henna would be applied to stain the areas.

Eye makeup was heavily influenced by that of the Egyptian beauty techniques, and black substances including charred wood and charcoal became extremely useful as eye makeup. Ancient Greek women defined their eyes by staining them with the black powders, as well as eye shadow and brow fillers. Whilst today’s aesthetic styles may differ (or not), the women of ancient Greece demonstrated heavy and exaggerated eyebrows, with connected eyebrows (the ‘unibrow’) making an appearance.

Here at Skinstation, we are dedicated to providing the traditions of old throughout our modern and contemporary beauty and skin care treatments. Our wide range of treatments and products, includingObagi ELASTIderm eye treatment, are individually tailored to meet the client’s needs. For further information, please feel free to contactour knowledgeable team on 01481 736699 or email us at[email protected].

Latest update: 05/08/2015
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