Face Care and Makeup in Antiquity

Face Care and Makeup in Antiquity

In the past (up until very recently) gender roles were extremely specific and therefore one can assume that the archaeological find reflects something about the user or the owner of the object itself. Through the objects that are uncovered in excavations – cosmetic containers, small bowls and various minerals – one can easily imagine how a woman from the Second Temple period would wear makeup. I will briefly present below some of the customs for face care and makeup that were practiced in ancient times.

The custom has its beginnings in magic and cultic practices in which the ancients used to apply creams and makeup to the faces of the statues of their gods in order to “bestow life on them”. Over time the custom found expression in the lives of individuals, women and men alike, for both aesthetic and therapeutic reasons. Ancient evidence of people applying make up to their face comes to us from Egypt where kohl sticks, cosmetic materials and written descriptions were preserved.

Link to the full article

Curator: Alegre Savariego

Photographs: Marianna Salzberger, Clara Amit, Yoram Lahman

Photographic Archive: Yael Barschak

Texts: Alegre Savariego

Editing: Inbal Bezalel-Pisetzky, Meyrav Shay

Translation: Don Glick, Kamil Sari

Design and Development: Liat Weinblum