Skincare, an integral part of human grooming, has a rich and diverse history that spans across civilizations, reflecting both beauty ideals and practical needs. From the ancient rituals of Egypt to the cutting-edge innovations of today, the journey of skincare is a testament to human ingenuity and the ever-changing perceptions of beauty.
Ancient Beauty Wisdom: Egypt and Beyond
While it is likely that skincare was used by some of the most ancient indigenous cultures around the world, the earliest definitive records of skincare use can be traced back to Mesopotamia and more so Ancient Egypt, where cosmetics were an intrinsic part of daily life. Around 6,000 years ago, Egyptians utilized natural ingredients like oils, ungents, plants, poultices and more to create skincare concoctions. These ancient formulations were not only used for aesthetic purposes but also for protection against the elements and for religious practices.
One papyrus found contains a formula combining sesame, castor, olive oil and moringa. Interestingly, today moringa is making a popular comeback as a new trending ingredient. While another papyrus dating back to 5000 years ago, titled “Transforming an old man into a youth” had a formula which contains mandelic acid obtained from bitter almonds. Today we know mandelic acid to be a natural exfoliant. These skincare practices were guided by a quest for preservation, as seen in the use of myrrh and frankincense for their purported anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
Grecian Glamour and Roman Refinement
Ancient Greece and Rome inherited and expanded upon Egyptian skincare knowledge. Both cultures emphasized skincare as a mark of distinction, with luxurious oils, perfumes, and powders forming the core of their routines. The Greeks even developed their own natural sunscreens using sand and oils, indicative of their early awareness of sun protection.
In these societies, the pursuit of smooth skin led to practices like plucking individual hairs and utilizing face masks made from various ingredients. While their obsession with pale skin continued, the later introduction of tanned skin as a fashionable attribute marked a shift in beauty ideals.
The Enriching Influence of Asian Skincare
Traditional ingredients like ginseng, green tea, and rice bran became the foundation of Asian skincare, emphasizing rejuvenation and harmony. These timeless practices evolved into modern innovations, propelling Asian beauty brands to global acclaim. Sheet masks and inventive ingredients like mucin exemplify Asia’s lasting influence.
The legacy of Asian skincare reflects a blend of ancient wisdom and contemporary progress, underscoring nature’s role in holistic wellness. They valued the importance of looking after one’s skin from an early age, not just topically but also from within. This enduring influence continues to redefine skincare, as Korean and Japanese skincare products gained a surge in popularity in modern times.
A Century of Discovery and Transformation
The 20th century saw remarkable breakthroughs in skincare science. Vitamins like A, C, E, and B emerged as potent tools in fighting premature ageing. Humectants and antioxidants revolutionized skincare products, prioritizing the nurturing of skin from within. The significance of natural ingredients gained prominence, replacing harsh compounds of the past.
The establishment of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1906 marked a pivotal moment in skincare history, heralding an era of regulation and innovation. Cosmetic giants like L’Oreal and Elizabeth Arden began producing a range of skincare products, setting the stage for the modern beauty industry.
Today, skincare has reached unprecedented heights, offering an array of products designed to cater to diverse concerns. With the advent of med spa procedures, non-invasive rejuvination techniques and advanced skincare products, the pursuit of radiant skin continues unabated. The emphasis on self-care and holistic wellness has ushered in a new era where nourishing the skin from the inside out takes center stage.
From Esoteric to Esoterance
One of the aims of our brand is to make it as transparent as possible for our customers. Skincare should be simple and easy to understand by all who use it, without being overwhelming. We wanted to combine the best of ancient and modern ingredients to deliver the best formulas possible, while sticking to our ethical foundation.
In this dynamic journey through history, skincare has evolved from ancient rituals rooted in preservation and protection to a thriving industry focused on enhancing and celebrating individual health and beauty. As we navigate the ever-expanding realm of skincare, we honour the ingenuity of our ancestors while embracing the boundless possibilities of the future.