The word “cosmetic” comes from the Greek word “Kosmetikos” which means a sense of harmony, tranquillity and order. The ancient Greeks were fascinated by their local produce, and, not surprisingly, used most of the ingredients they found within their natural environment to create their beauty products, and these ideas have shaped many of the modern beauty treatments we use today.
Greece’s Mediterranean climate made the growing of fruits, nuts and vegetables an easy process, and these skin-nourishing ingredients formed the basis of many of the ancient Greeks’ first body oils and lotions. Olive oil was in fact one of the most important products in ancient Greece’s skin care creations. Initially, olive oil was extracted to make fragranced oils, yet it quickly became a part of all Grecian culture, including cooking, lighting, pharmaceutical purposes and cosmetic use. Olive oil became the staple for daily personal hygiene and body care, used as a beautifying skin cleanser and after-bath moisturiser. Greek men would rub olive oil into their skin before exercising or going into battle.
As with most countries, the Greek’s main aim was to achieve smooth and supple skin, as well as looking effortlessly beautiful and striking in their appearance.
The Greeks associated tanned skin with the lower classes, because only the most wealthy and educated did not have to work outdoors. The ideal Grecian woman was seen to have pale skin, dark hair (often in curls) and berry red lips and cheeks.