Makeup Facts: The History of Face Powder

Since ancient times people have always been concerned about their appearance for many different reasons – from protecting themselves from evil spirits up to expressing their social status or looking good. And one of the historically well-know ways to achieve these multiple purposes was the use of face powder.

I can assure you that the face powder is one of the most ancient and old makeup items ever created. It was used by men and women long before Egyptian era and was known in basically every prehistoric state. Nevertheless, the most prominent development the face powder achieved exactly in the Ancient Egypt during the reign of Cleopatra who made one’s beauty a cult with her own example.

The white porcelain-like skin has been a huge strive in ancient world as it was seen as the sign of nobility and aristocracy as rich and noble men and women could never get tan. And the face powder was the best tool to achieve the whiteness of the skin along with covering imperfections as well as tan. At that times chalk and lead were extremely popular and extremely hazardous for one’s health. Better options were wheat and rice flour that were not that opaque and thus not that popular. Pale white skin was also highly requested in the Asian countries and especially in Japan as a symbol of beauty and health.

As historically usual the European countries were late on the face powder introducing it in late XVI century. The necessity to use powder in order to look better spread quickly in Spain, France and England and the white rice powder was the most popular choice. During the reign of French King Louis XV the powder became a must-have for every aristocrat in the country leading to further creation of colored powder for cheeks and eyes.

Later on the powder made its triumphant return in the beginning of the XX century with the rapid development of stage and theatrical makeup and soon became a popular make item among ordinary women as it allowed to even out the skin tone and reduce oiliness and redness of the skin. The powder was produced in loose form and the first ever pressed compact powder was introduced by a British company in 1923 and the Max Factor company launched the first consumer powder in early fifties. The trend was then caught up by Helen Rubestein and Elizabeth Arden and today we enjoy the huge variety of amazing loose and compact powders for different skin types and skin tones.

I hope this post was interesting and entertaining for you.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Have an amazing day!

Hugs and kisses,


Products featured on the photo above: Clinique Blended Face Powder and Brush in Transparency 4 and Guerlain Blanc de Perle Bright and Sculpt Foundation in 1 Beige Pale. 

6 thoughts on “Makeup Facts: The History of Face Powder

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