The search for the perfect, flawless complexion is one that has taxed human imagination and ingenuity since ancient times. It is said that even the Bible contains an allusion to “Face Painting.” The Book of Ezekiel mentions “Face Painting” in one of its verses. All the most glorious civilizations of antiquity utilized some form of what we now call foundation. Prominent among these are the ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans. These once might civilizations have come and gone, but the quest to conceal flaws follows us into our very modern world.
Of course, foundation, in both form and purpose has come a long way from its early beginnings. Historical documents indicate that the ancient Egyptians did not subscribe to make up for beauty’s sake alone. As a people, they attached a deep religious significance to the cosmetics they used. Ancient Greek ladies used a concoction of chalk and white lead powder to achieve the ancient beauty ideal of lily white skin. Wealthy Roman citizens also favoured the slathering of face creams made of, you guessed it, white lead powder with a generous helping of tin oxide and animal fat in an attempt to get a paler complexion.
The effects of constant exposure to these fatal concoctions can range from horrible disfigurement to a wasting death. But it didn’t end with the Greeks and Romans. The trend for pale skin and lead infused face creams continued for the ages to come. The poster girl for lead white skin, Queen Elizabeth was known for favouring a foul smelling concoction of white lead and vinegar. It was not limited to women either, men were also known to wear and suffer the effects of lead based make up.
Thankfully, for the modern girl, lead is no longer a staple of any of our favourite foundation’s formula. People offer their sincerest gratitude to Max Factor’s Pan-Cake for kick starting the modern foundation revolution. The Pan-Cake’s target market was originally film actors and actresses. It was revolutionary because it was the first foundation and powder in one. To appreciate just how life changing this was, you have to be born at a time where an actor’s make up routine was a more complicated process. Before Pan-Cake they had to use oil based make up then set it with powder to ensure lasting coverage. Post Pan Cake it was now a one-step routine with significantly better results. This was decades back in 1937. This essential beauty must-have has not been the same since then.
Nowadays, we have an entire industry spanning the globe cashing in on this particular beauty aid. Foundation options range from high end cult favorites to drugstore varieties that are as effective. Foundation is a huge part of the $532 billion USD global beauty industry.
Are you a full coverage or a sheer/natural coverage girl? Is your skin oily, combination or dry? Do you struggle with acne, scars or uneven skin tone? Do you want to conceal fine lines or discolorations? Before you go out and invest in foundation ask yourself these questions. These will really help you pick the best choice for your skin and lifestyle.