In the 21st century, makeup is for everyone. Men are quickly catching onto products such as concealer and eyeliner to enhance their own features.
As gender equality movements progress, the line between who ‘can and can’t’ wear makeup is becoming ever more blurred. Now more than ever, makeup is seen as a tool of self-expression, whoever that self may be.
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Cosmetics can be found in most societies on earth. In ancient Egypt, men and women used cosmetic materials such as kohl and henna. Dark green, black or blue kohl was used to decorate the eyes to ward off the evil eye. Scientists now believe the lead in this makeup killed bacteria, keeping wearers healthier.
Egyptians also used castor oil as a protective balm and used creams consisting of beeswax, olive oil, rosewater and more.
Today, many brands are acknowledging a need for gender fluidity in cosmetics; this means cosmetics brands can market to an entirely new demographic, resulting in an increase in sales).
Historically, makeup was never something associated with gender in the first place. In Ancient Egypt, for example, the use of eyeliner and other cosmetics was a sign of wealth—usually one that men donned to signal their status to passerby’s and strangers. In more recent history, people in the LGBTQ+ community have always used makeup as a way to connect with femininity and identity in a way they could not without it.
In this era, the ideal woman is described as:
In Ancient Egypt, women were encouraged in their independence and beauty. Ancient Egyptian society promoted an environment where premarital sex was entirely acceptable and women could divorce their husbands without shame.