Beauty has been an integral part of human culture since the early centuries. Despite the early cultures having not commercialized beauty, today, the industry accounts for over 50 billion dollars in revenue each year. The industry has undoubtedly come a long way from the ore and copper used to create primitive forms of makeup by ancient Egyptians. As customers demand for effective, sustainable, and economical beauty products, companies are investing in scientifically advanced products each year following the developments in technology, formulas, and ingredients. These developments make it important to understand the history of cosmetics to help us appreciate traditional products, industrial trends of today, and lookout for future trends.
History of Cosmetics
The use of cosmetics dates back to Egypt where ancient Egyptians made kohl (a mixture of copper, metal, lead, and burnt almonds) to enhance their appearance. The mixture was applied around their eyes, not only for beauty enhancements but also to shun away malicious eyes and dangerous spirits. Cleopatra, a renowned Egyptian used lip stain that was mixed ground carmine beetles to give it color, while women used a clay paste to color their lips. In ancient Greece and Rome, women used powder ground from stones and natural minerals on their faces. From the middle Ages to the 19th century, pale skin became ideal and women used lead, arsenic, mercury, and leeches to get the pale appearance. At the dawn of the 20th century, lipsticks, mascara, portrait photography, and affordable mirrors led to the development and mainstream use of cosmetics.
The industrial manufacture of cosmetics in the mid-20th century marked the new beginning to beauty and cosmetics. Cosmetic companies advanced to persuasive marketing efforts and rapidly improved products leading to the explosion of the cosmetic industry. The rapid advancement in technology and exploration of new ingredients and formulas have led to the development of multi-purpose skin-care and beauty products. Numerous brands have been developed using modern technology and ingredients to meet individual skin needs like jojoba oil for dry skin and salicylic acid for acne or. Sustainability has emerged as a key concern for customers in the cosmetic industry with many being environmentally conscious of the sourcing and packaging of their beauty products. Both existing and new incumbents in the industry have begun adopting Artificial Intelligence to helping them in becoming sustainable and compliant in their sourcing, production, and distribution processes.
With the rapid technological advancements, the cosmetic industry is bound to change drastically as Gen Z becomes pragmatic in brands and products. With natural makeup likely to become a future trend, cosmetic companies will be required to manufacture products from natural sources to remain in the market. As Big Data and Artificial Intelligence loom in each industry, the beauty and cosmetics industry will be required to take full advantage of these advancements to develop sustainable and affordable products. Genderless beauty is expected to advance in the future as men become conscious of their appearance. However, companies will requires specialized techniques to penetrate this niche.