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17 Makeup Facts That Show Humans Will Do Anything For Beauty

Is it time to bring back crocodile intestinal oil, or nah?

Posted on January 14, 2016, at 10:16 a.m. ET

1. What's the deal with red lipstick? Some scientists think that red lips on women is a biological cue for mating.

Juan Naharro Gimenez / Getty Images

Their argument is that redder lips are associated with oxygenated blood, which is a sign of higher estrogen levels and sexual arousal. This is obviously the first thing someone thinks when they see someone with hella red lipstick.

2. Ancient Egyptians used a mixture of ant eggs and crushed beetles for lipstick.

Lennart Tange / Via Flickr: lennartt

"Oh, you didn't have to get all dolled up with ant egg just for me!" - someone thousands of years ago, thankfully.

3. The same chemical that those beetles produce is still used today in modern lipstick.


Ok, but at least we are done with ant eggs.

4. Humans have probably been wearing cosmetics for at least 125,000 years.

Discovery / Via

That may well be longer than we have been wearing clothes. It may even be longer than we have been using language to communicate.

5. According to scientists, how we wear makeup likely reveals a lot about why we find certain feminine features — like eyes and lips — attractive.


Many scientists think that the way humans use cosmetics enhances features that natural selection has already deemed attractive. Women tend to have a greater contrast between their eyes, lips, and the rest of their face. We've been using makeup to enhance those features for tens of thousands of years even if we aren't aware of it. Get out of my head, makeup!

6. Sparkly eyeshadow has been around since at least the Ancient Egyptians. They often used a paste made of malachite (a greenish sparkly mineral) and ground-up beetle shell.

20th Century Fox / Via

Again with these damn beetles.

7. Roman women were pretty in to thick eyelashes. They made mascara by putting burnt cork mixed with water all up in there.

ABC / Via

Crude, sure, but it works.

8. Roman women also ingested the oils from poisonous nightshade plants to dilate their eyes and make them look bigger.

Tjado / Via

Big eyes were super hot back then.

9. Poison for beauty is still in. Botox, aka botulinum toxin, is a toxic chemical produced by the same bacteria responsible for the fatal disease botulism.

ctskindoc / Via

Botulinum toxin is less catchy sounding, anyway.

10. Super toxic lead-based mixtures were all the rage in cosmetics from ancient Egypt all the way to 19th century Europe.

Kaplan Lawyers / Via

If you had painted your walls with such a chemical, you would likely be required by law to mention its use if you were to sell the home. It's hella toxic.

11. And as late as the 1800s, leeches were often used as a way to reduce redness in the face (by literally sucking the blood out of it).

JesseAndMike / Via

I mean, the science holds up, at least.

12. Scientists say both men and women like clear skin because it is a sign of youth and good health.

Ivan Lam / Via

Biologically speaking, that's what you need in a mate if you want your genes to live on! Makeup has long been used to cover up blemishes.

13. Ancient Romans used a mixture of oil obtained from the intestines of a crocodile and cyprus oil to make freckles and pimples disappear.

Disney / Via

What drunken debauchery led to thinking of this practice?

14. Mono-brows were totally hot for the women of Ancient Rome. Penciling that shit in was totally legit.


The great poet Ovid suggested that women who lack this trait could remedy it by inking in a connector line.

15. Ancient Egyptian men wore nail coloring to show their status. Pharaohs and aristocrats got to use red.

CBS / Via

In today's enlightened world, you don't have to be a pharaoh to wear red. You may still feel like nobility, though.

16. Roman centurions, infantrymen of their day, often used bleach to dye their hair and put perfume in their helmets.

HBO / Via

Bleached hair is badass. Also, It almost certainly smelled pretty rank up in those helmets.

17. What ever the reasons may be, it seems that the decoration of people's faces and bodies may well be one of the oldest and most consistent of human behaviors.

BuzzFeed Video / Via

In other words, wearing makeup is human. Human AF, actually.

BeyonceVEVO / Via

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.