Cosmetics, Styles & Beauty Concepts in Iran & Mesopotamia
The use of cosmetics is documented to have begun around 10,000 BC; however, the bulk of our information comes from around 3,000 BC from the written records of the ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian texts and artifacts. These ancient people were a lot more at ease with their bodies and sexuality compared to the later periods. Both males and females used make-up, had long or short hair as they desired, wore jewelry, coloured their body parts and dressed elaborately and colourfully. Men had no problems wearing skirts and fashion and style was not used to emphasis marked gender differences. However, it did distinguish class and status. Body was used freely and sexuality was often perceived as a gift from gods and goddesses and was celebrated. Judging by the number of nude male and female attendants and personalities depicted, nudity did not seem to be a problem. However, high-ranking females would not expose their bodies as much as the ordinary females did as a sign of their high status.
Scented oils and ointments were used by this time to clean and soften the skin and mask the body odor. Dyes and natural paint was used to colour the face, mainly for ceremonial and religious occasions. Rich people applied minerals to their faces, skin (Iranians use roshoor) and used oiled-based perfumes in their bath.