Ancient Egyptian beauty treatments

The ancient Egyptians shaved their heads to prevent lice, drank laxatives to clean the intestines, used tortoise shells, ostrich egg shells to deodorize the body …

The ancient Egyptians were always looking for many methods of body care and beauty to keep the body clean and aesthetically perfect. However, these beauty treatments are sometimes limited because they have to work and survive in harsh conditions. The ancient Egyptians used wigs and black eye makeup not only to appear gorgeous, but also as a method of survival in a sunburn-prone environment and to avoid attacks from insects, vermin…

Living in an unsanitary environment and amenities forced the ancient Egyptians to find many ways to survive. Their body care practices are the inspiration for a range of soaps, cosmetics, and fragrances that are popular today.

The people of ancient Egypt took a lot of measures to avoid parasitic lice on the body. As a result, most of them shave their heads with razors and tweezers, and wear wigs made of human or horse hair. If lice find a way to destroy the wig, they can easily throw it away.

Wigs also serve as a way to stay cool in hot weather. Wealthy people often own several sets of hair with many different hair styles, which can be worn on many occasions. People of the lower class could not afford beautiful wigs, so they often wore headscarves.

In addition to beauty, cosmetics are used by people here every day to help the health of both men and women. After smoothing their skin with oil and a honey or aloe mask, they apply eyeshadow, mascara, and eyeliner to their makeup. Eyeliner was a popular tool at the time, the Egyptians used it to protect their eyes from the sun’s glare and to repel flies.

Ancient Egyptian beauty treatments
The ancient Egyptians used a homemade compound to decorate the eye contour to protect the eyes from the sun and repel insects. (Photo: Oggito).

The ingredients for making the eyeliner include a mixture of crushed peacock feathers and galena – a lead ore mineral mixed with fat to form a smooth cream called kohl. They are then stored in small jars. The affluent class used elaborately decorated jars, the lower class would use cheap materials to make cosmetic containers.

The ancient Egyptians ground the herbs, flowers, and roots of plants into a paste, which was then mixed with oil, creating an underarm cream. Scientists have discovered that their deodorants are also made from crushed turtle shells and ostrich eggs.

Deodorants are not only used for the underarms, but some women also use them as wax hats to wear on their heads. The heat of the sun will melt the wax and spread the scent around.

Ancient Egyptian beauty treatments
Ancient Egyptian women wore scented hats on their heads. (Photo: Beauti Secrets).

To clean teeth, the ancient Egyptians ground salt, flowers, and mint into a powder to rub the mixture on their teeth. That powder when mixed with saliva will create a paste. They also created a toothbrush using small sticks that were then tied on top of the tree strips to make the bristles.

Historians have found some evidence of the ancient Egyptians filling and holding loose teeth with braces. Some mummies show that they once planted teeth. However, it is difficult to determine whether this work was done while they were alive or dead.

Fresh breath was important to the ancient Egyptians, who used different methods to reduce bad breath. People here often chew herbs such as parsley, mint during the day or after meals. To reduce bad breath, they use mint to make lozenges.

Ancient Egyptian men were circumcised because they believed it was a sign of cleanliness. Inscriptions in temples and tombs reveal that uncircumcised men are believed to be unclean and are not allowed to enter sacred places.

Women also go through their own rituals for cleanliness. They remove pubic hair using many natural methods and believe that this practice is beneficial in sexual health, warding off lice and fleas.

Doctors at that time attributed illness to an insult to the gods. Therefore, they encourage the use of bleach or laxatives to cleanse the bowels.

Every 3 days in a month, laxatives were used by the ancient Egyptians to eliminate diseases of the body. They use castor oil to push waste out of the body, even during diarrhea. People also use items to douche and clean the body from the inside. An antenatal specialist was also called in to examine their anus.

Egyptians bathed every day, but the method of bathing would depend on social class. Only the wealthy had a separate bath in the house. They bathe on a stone slab or in tubs filled with water brought up from the Nile by servants. Some upper-class families also have wooden, stone, and ceramic foot baths because many people don’t wear shoes.

The Egyptians used a natural substance called natron to make soap and always applied moisturizer after bathing to keep their skin soft. People of lower social class would bathe in the Nile.

The elite and the royal family often hire manicurists to take special care of their hands. The craftsmen know how to use nail files and small knives to trim and clean the owner’s fingernails and toenails. They used a primitive form of nail polish, using henna to paint orange and yellow colors.

Although they can’t afford to hire a manicurist, lower class people don’t let their nails get dirty. They can take care of their own nails using less expensive tools. Since most people go barefoot, they always take care of their feet by using moisturizers and ointments to prevent chapped feet and insects.

After bathing, people often apply a layer of animal fat to keep the skin moist. They use flaxseed oil, castor oil, and honey to reduce the appearance of scars and fight aging.

Some ancient Egyptian creams had the same ingredients as today’s sunscreens and were effective at repelling insects. The rich will buy cream or balm at the market, the lower class will make it at home.