The word "cosmetics" comes from the Greek word kosmetikos meaning "skilled in adornment" (Sage 33). The evolution of cosmetics has truly changed through the centuries. The way people wear makeup and the reasons why they wear it have changed dramatically over time. The Roman philosopher, Plautus, once wrote, "A women without paint is like food with out salt." The attraction of a beautiful face did not appear yesterday; painted ladies and even gentlemen have been known through time in artwork and illustrations. The art of cosmetics has definitely changed over time and through different cultures including: Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, French, Italians, and Americans. .
It is believed that the use of cosmetics dates back to ancient Egypt circa 4000 B.C. Scented perfume jars have been discovered in the tombs of various pharaohs (Sage 33). It was during these times that cosmetics began to fulfill beautifying needs along with playing a predominant role in ritual burials. The sources used to concoct the numerous forms of cosmetics were extracted from the fertile land of the Nile River. The shepherds and hunters of the Mesolithic Period would often smear their bodies with grease from the castor plant. This process eventually evolved into the use of cosmetics as a form of sun protection. The children, as well as the adults, would use hydro silicate of copper to counteract the harsh rays of the sun (Angeloglou 19). .
The Egyptian's use of cosmetics did not vary much from class to class. They did not see the adornment as a barrier, but as simply a way of life. The decoration of the eyes is what primarily set Egypt apart from the future use of cosmetics by other cultures. The Egyptian women would vary the intensity of the eye shadow according to the season and even the various times of the day (Wykes-Joyce 18). The green make up that adorned the eyes was malachite. It was the most used unguent in Egypt.