The Ancient Romans loved cosmetics and those that could afford it often kept beauty boxes full of make-up and cosmetic tools and ingredients.
Ancient roman beauty box
Like many before Ancient Roman women desired pale skin and would use dangerous ingredients such as chalk to achieve the illusion of a fair complexion through face makeup.
A red rouge was made from powdered red ochre which would sometimes be mixed with fat to create a paste that could be applied easily to the cheeks.
Before Rome conquered Egypt and started to gain knowledge and inspiration from Ancient Egyptian women ( in particular Cleopatra) greens and blue eyeshadow was not yet used. Women used ground saffron to apply to the eyelids which was orangey in colour.
Soot was popular and was used as eyeliner and to lengthen the lashes. Long eyelashes were important to the Ancient Roman’s as it represented a woman’s virtue as lashes were said to fall out from too much sex.
Thick eyebrows were popular as they were in Ancient Greece and soot would again be used to emphasise the brow.
Soot was often obtained using an oil lamp, which was an essential tool when it came to creating makeup.
Lips were adorned red and again Red Ochre was used.
Berries or wine could also be used as a substitute.