8 Ancient Beauty Secrets Still Trending Today—We’re Talking Biblical!
From highlighting to braiding to a classic cat eye—some of the beauty "trends" go back centuries.
Sun kissed highlights
Who knew ancient Greeks were the original California Girl? According to fashioningthepast.com, ancient Greek women wore their hair long and preferred golden hued locks. “This was achieved by using a vinegar solution that bleached the hair in the sun, or a yellow flower dye. Soap, pomades, and wax were also used to give the hair shine.” (We don’t recommend these techniques! Ask your stylist about balayage highlights for a more natural look.)
Ancient Greeks had a thing for “beach waves” too. “To enhance the texture of the hair, Hellenistic women often curled their hair and held it in place with combs,” reports fashioningthepast.com. Today you can purchase a curling wand or stick and perfect waves in a few minutes. Whether curled or worn straight hair played a role as a social communicator and emphasized class differentiation. Back then a short razor cut meant you weren’t a slave to fashion, you were an actual slave. Upper class women only cut their hair in periods of mourning.
The right hairstyle makes all the difference
Turns out in ancient Egypt appearances were everything and hairstyles indicated a person’s status, the higher the status the more elaborate the hairstyle. Ancient Egyptian women had many styles to choose from. According to historyembalmed.com, the women of early ancient Egypt kept their hair short, while females of the later New Kingdom rocked longer hair which they curled, plaited, or braided into ponytails and adorned with jewelry, gold strands, flowers, beads, and ribbons. But braids go back further than Ancient Egypt. In her book Biblical Beauty: Ancient Secrets and Modern Solutions, author Rachelle Weisberger, explores the history of hair styling originated by the Assyrians around 1500 BCE. She explains how the Talmud describes Eve, “God adorned her [Eve] before presenting her to Adam by braiding her hair.” Try sleeping in a braid for an easy overnight hairstyle.
Wigs can mean a whole new you
Much like a Katy Perry concert, back in Ancient Egypt wearing different wigs could change your whole look. Not only was it “cool” to wear a wig but it kept you cool too. In fact both men and women shaved their heads bald and wore a wig for comfort in the hot Egyptian climate. But wearing a wig was also a fashion statement. They were used on special occasions, ceremonies, and at banquets.
Once you go red you never go back
Even back in ancient days women may have been trying to find that perfect shade of red. Henna was used as a red hair dye, for moisturizing, sun protection and its ability to transform skin with red patterns. Considered the oldest documented cosmetic, Henna was widely used throughout the Middle and Far East. Rumor has it Henna fans included famous Egyptians Queens, Cleopatra, Nerfertiti, Fatima (the Prophet Muhammed’s daughter), and Mumtaz Mahal, to whom the Taj Mahal was built. Henna tattoos and hair dye are still popular today.
Don’t be afraid to get caught with a little egg on your face
Back during the 16th century, getting a little egg on your face was far from embarrassing; it actually was a secret for staying young. According to Mike Marenick, President of Heal Fast Skin Care. “HealFast Skincare is based on ancient recipes dating back to the 16th century where women would apply egg whites to their skin to help tighten and improve the skins texture. Today we use the whole egg (white and yolk) to provide all the vitamins, minerals and proteins that our skin needs to maintain proper elasticity and collagen levels.” Don’t like the idea of wearing your omelet? How about guacamole instead? Aztec civilizations used avocado as a skin moisturizer.
Beauty takes commitment and a little myrrh
Some women choose face lifts or Botox, but back in Biblical times, beauty took patience. In fact, Weisberger quotes from The Book Of Esther 2:12: “Before a girl’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete 12 months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh, and six with perfumes and cosmetics.” Referenced in other areas of the Bible, myrrh has proven properties for skin moisturizing, toning and rejuvenation can be found in skincare today. According to Weisberger, it was often used in the Bible for purification rituals. And Esther wasn’t the only queen who had a thing for myrrh according to sheknows.com and Mary Ellen Cassman, founder and president of Dorey Aromatherapy, Cleopatra also used the fragrant oils of myrrh, in addition to rose, frankincense, cypress, and neroli, to announce her arrival to Mark Anthony. Myrrh and each of these oils were considered to be aphrodisiacs. Here are some other facial oils that might be worth a try.
Perfecting the cat eye look
Trying to get the perfect cat eye look dates all the ways back to ancient Egypt where kohl was made from heavy metals with high concentrations of lead salts. Though lead can be dangerous, the Egyptians processed and filtered the materials for up to 30 days before creating the eyeliner prototype. The low levels of lead left over actually protected their eyes from the sun and boosted the skin’s ability to fight off infections. But just like today, not everyone was a fan of the cat eye trend. “Following the makeup trend of her day, Rahab, the legendary Canaanite prostitute, probably adopted the dramatic Egyptian style of outlining her eyes,” writes Weisberger. “The eye makeup, known today by the Arabic name of kohl, was a pasty black substance similar to modern mascara. For the Israelites, the image of the heavily painted kohl eye was so powerful that it was denounced in the Bible as a symbol of immorality and ungodliness (See Jeremiah 4:30).” Here are some other eyeliner looks that are the cat’s meow.