Eyeliner, Egypt, 4000 BCE

by Kelly Buffington '01

For centuries people have used cosmetics to enhance or decorate the human figure for aesthetic or religious purposes. The earliest archaeological evidence of the use of cosmetics can be traced back to the urban civilizations of the ancient world. In southern Iraq and in Egypt, men and women alike painted kohl around their eyes to make them look larger as well as to protect them from the evil eye. This thick black ointment, made of ground lead sulfide or antimony sulfide, is still used today.

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