Why Ancient Egyptian cosmetic recipes are still used by Lush today
The use of natural ingredients in cosmetics is traceable back thousands of years. Some of the earliest evidence of people wearing makeup is from artefacts recovered from Ancient Egyptian burial chambers. Drawings depict heavily made-up faces, the eyes lined with thick black kohl to create the iconic almond-shape that is still popular today. Decorative makeup was perceived as a way to form a spiritual connection with the gods and pigments were created with raw materials such as with green malachite crystals, gold leaf and powdered scarab beetles.
Ancient Egyptians took care of their bodies; they worried about weight gain, getting wrinkles and losing their hair just as we do now. They used olive oil, sesame oil, bitter almonds and cardamom to moisturise their skin and castor oil as a balm to keep their hair shiny, whilst henna was used to dye the hair, skin and fingernails. Queen Cleopatra, the notorious beauty and last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, is said to have bathed in milk and honey to keep her skin soft and youthful.
We too know the value of these natural ingredients. Our Ceridwen’s Cauldron luxury bath melt is made with whole oats (which create a creamy oat-milk bath as they soak in the water), frankincense and cedarwood oils and skin softening cocoa butter, to create a bath fit for a queen.
Many of our product formulas hark back to Ancient traditions and practices. We make our Ultrabland cream cleanser with rose water, beeswax and almond oil, and is based on an ancient formula for cold cream invented by the eminent Roman physician, Galen. His original formula was a mixture of rose oil, water and melted beeswax – a basic formula for a ‘water in oil’ cream that has stood the test of time, and has become one of our cult products, Ultrabland.
In Ancient Egypt, taking care of one’s appearance transcended economic status and was a part of everyday life for all members of society. Both men and women placed great value on personal appearance and hygiene; they bathed a number of times a day in water mixed with soda – which is similar to how we make our bath bombs. They’re made with sodium bicarbonate to create a fizzing effect, combined with luxurious essential oils, natural butters, flower petals, lustre and vibrant colour.
We still take care of our bodies using natural ingredients because we know they’re full of the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that will benefit our skin and hair. Galen pioneered the use of natural ingredients for cosmetic benefit, and it’s his discoveries that still have an influence on our idea of ‘fresh’ and why it matters in cosmetics.