Although our industry doesn't have the reputation of being the worlds oldest profession, I'm sure it would come in a close second. Since the very beginnings of civilization, humankind has gone to great lengths to improve upon their looks. Our ancient ancestors seemed to be just as vain as we are in these modern times although they didn't have the advantage of the modern cosmetic counter or the luxury of the spa experience as we know it today. Instead they relied on Mother Nature to supply them with the raw materials that they used to adorn themselves in the latest fashions. Finely ground minerals, pigments from vegetation of all sorts and colored soils were mixed with water, animal fats and the oils from plants and painted upon the body and face in patterns that I'm sure left them feeling as pretty as we feel today after a visit to the Estee Lauder counter at the local department store. ( It looks like we really haven't changed much over the years).
As in our modern times, fashions change, styles change and different cultures have varying ideas of what constitutes the perfectly adorned human form, although without the advent of mass media and clever advertising firms, they changed a little more slowly. I'm sure they were as critical of one another as we are of our peers. I can just imagine hearing an echo from our ancient past. " Did you see Glump at the bonfire last night? He was wearing last centuries red ochre, what was he thinking? Was he trying to look like his great grandfather, or what? Geez, Nobody wears that anymore. And what gives with that worn out coyote skin he had on? Everyone knows that bear skin is in.Hmmph!"
Sounds maybe just a little bit familiar doesn't it? I guess my point is that no matter how far we have advanced and how sophisticated we feel that we have become, we are still they same silly creature that we have always been. We are all, each and everyone of us, alone and desperately trying to fit in,to be looked up to, admired and accepted by our fellow creatures.. Loved. Perhaps my profession with its venerable history is more noble than I sometimes give it credit for being. Maybe vanity is more than an just an indulgance.
Over the next few weeks I plan to uncover some of the ancient beauty secrets used by civilizations long since passed.I'm sure you will find some of their rituals humorous, many were hazardous to the health and some were just plain disgusting. It will give you a new appreciation for our modern day salons and cosmetic counters. I hope to see you back here and as always, I appreciate your questions and comments.