THE HISTORY OF SKINCARE

explore where and when skincare began and how it has developed over the years.

THE HISTORY OF SKINCARE

 

Liz Taylor as Cleopatra




BEAUTY AT THE WEBSTER

The History of Skincare

In celebration of The Webster Beauty launch, let's explore where and when skincare began and how it has developed over the years.

In ancient times, beauty was no less serious a matter than it is today. After all, the face of Helen of Troy is said to have "launched a thousand ships, and burnt the topless towers of Ilium" in Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus (1604).

The first archeological traces of skincare routines was founded in Ancient Egypt, dating from 6000 BC. During this time, cosmetics were not only a beauty consideration but also a health concern. The harshness of the environment made skincare a necessity. Thus, the birth of the early forms of sunscreen, with concoctions based on olive oil, ostrich eggs, dough, milk, and essential oils from plants and herbs. Women would use castor, sesame, and moringa oils to hydrate their skin and prevent lines, as well as a soap paste made out of clay and olive oil to cleanse their skin. Religion and politics also promoted the use of cosmetics as Ancient Egyptians forbade anyone from speaking spells unless the person was fully cleansed and oiled. Wealthy Egyptians were buried with their skincare products to ensure a safe passage into the afterlife.

 

MZ Skin Hydra-lift Golden Facial Treatment

 

An Ancient Custom by Edwin Longsden Long

More than 5,000 years ago, India invented Ayurveda, a lifestyle-focused form of medicine, using plants for to promote good health and prevent aging.

In China, beauty rituals started around 1760 BC. The must-have look was a healthy and natural pale face, using powders and skin lighteners. An Empress developed her skincare routine, based on products, facial massages, and a specific diet, which she documented in writing. She used cleansers made from seaweed and jellyfish and believed that eating black beans, sesame seeds, and Chinese yams were beneficial for her skin. Later, courtesans would go to great lengths to have clear and smooth skin, using white lead-based powders and lotions to remove pigments and bleach their skin.

In Ancient Greece, precious oils, perfumes, cosmetic powders, eye shadows, skin glosses, paints, beauty unguents, and hair dyes were in universal use. Ancient Greeks made their skincare products using fresh berries, milk, olive oil, honey, and yogurt. They also prized clear smooth skin, and we owe them the recipe for a skincare staple—cold cream. In Ancient Rome,
face masks were made of olive oil, rosewater, animal fat, arugula, cucumber, almond oil, and eggs.

The same desire for clear and smooth skin lasted through Medieval times and the Renaissance in Europe, promoting the use of toxic substances like lead or arsenic in powders. The ingredients used were expensive so products were not often removed, so instead, they were layered over. Removal of those layered powders was dicult, so people used acidic substances like wine or vinegar. To remove blemishes, people employed even harsher and dangerous ingredients such as mercury.

 

Portrait of Empress Xiao Xianchun

 

Royal Fern Phytoactive Serum

The Baroque times were somewhat kinder and healthier – people used saunas to cleanse their skin and milk baths to improve skin texture and tone. The connection between lifestyle choices and skin quality also ruled the 1800s. Thanks to the industrial revolution, hygiene products became more accessible, Chapstick, Vaseline, and baby powder, all created during this era, were used as part of daily skincare routines.
The 20th century saw an exponential rise of cosmetic brands and products: L'Oreal was born in 1909, sunscreen was invented in 1944, Estee Lauder debuted its cosmetics line in 1946, and Clarins, Ponds, Oil of Olay, and Clinique were all launched in the 1950s. In the 1920s, pale complexion gave way to a healthy bronzed glow. Suntanning and self-tan products became fashionable until WWII when skincare was scarce and women had to be inventive. However in the 1930s, beauty products were still not safe for women to use, and the FDA revised the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in 1938 following injuries and health issues related to the use of cosmetics.

The 1960s saw technology leaps, including in the skincare industry, where lasers were introduced to treat skin conditions. In the 1970s chemical peel treatments were all the rage and performed by doctors in safe environments.

The second half of the century saw a rise in plant-based and "natural" skincare with brands such as Sisley in the 1970s and Burt’s Bees in the 1980s. The 1990s saw a multitude of doctor brands appear on the market – Dr. Murad being first one, quickly followed by Dr. Brandt and Dr. Dennis Gross. With the rise of doctor brands, science and technology became prominent and key ingredients such as AHAs and Retinols took over the skincare stage.

Today, skincare is safe and diversified, and new trends still emerge as innovation becomes stronger than ever. The Webster is now offering a highly curated selection of the best of skincare, including doctor brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm, Royal Fern, Augustinus Bader, and MZSkin, natural brands such as Kat Burki, Tammy Fender, Vintner's Daughter, MySuperflower, Costa Brazil, and Liha Beauty, facialist-developed formulas by Joanna Vargas, and legacy brands like Sisley and Clarins.

SHOP SKINCARE

  1. Age-Response Compound K Hyaluronic Booster Add to Wish List

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    $125
  2. Age-Reversing All-In-One Concentrate Age-Reversing All-In-One Concentrate Add to Wish List

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    $185
  3. Vitamin B Activated All-In-One Concentrate Add to Wish List

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    $185
  4. Moisture-Balance All-In-One Face Cleanser Moisture-Balance All-In-One Face Cleanser Add to Wish List

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    $65
  5. Advanced Multi-Perfecting Red Oil Serum Advanced Multi-Perfecting Red Oil Serum Add to Wish List

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    $115
  6. Concentrated Revitalizing Lifting Mask Concentrated Revitalizing Lifting Mask Add to Wish List

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    $85
  7. SUPER Smart Hydrator SUPER Smart Hydrator Add to Wish List

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    $168
  8. Resurfacing Compound Resurfacing Compound Add to Wish List

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    $228
  9. Kaya Anti-Aging Face Oil Kaya Anti-Aging Face Oil Add to Wish List
    Costa Brazil Kaya Anti-aging Face Oil
    $125

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    $125
  10. Brightening Serum Brightening Serum Add to Wish List
    Dr. Barbara Sturm Brightening Serum
    $310

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    $310
  11. Lifting Serum Lifting Serum Add to Wish List
    Dr. Barbara Sturm Lifting Serum
    $300

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    $300
  12. Darker Skin Tones Face Cream Rich Darker Skin Tones Face Cream Rich Add to Wish List

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    $230
  13. Darker Skin Tones Enzyme Cleanser Darker Skin Tones Enzyme Cleanser Add to Wish List

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    $75
  14. Darker Skin Tones Face Cream, 50 ml Darker Skin Tones Face Cream, 50 ml Add to Wish List

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    $215
  15. Darker Skin Tones Discovery Kit Darker Skin Tones Discovery Kit Add to Wish List
    Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones Discovery Kit
    $110

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    $110
  16. DROPS DISCOVERY SET DROPS DISCOVERY SET Add to Wish List
    Dr. Barbara Sturm Drops Discovery Set
    $125

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    $125
  17. THE CLEANSING BALM THE CLEANSING BALM Add to Wish List
    Augustinus Bader The Cleansing Balm
    $70

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    $70
  18. Everyday Serum Everyday Serum Add to Wish List
    Superflower Everyday Serum
    $68

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    $68
  19. SUPA BALM MINT SUPA BALM MINT Add to Wish List
    KNC Beauty Supa Balm Mint
    $22

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    $22
  20. Calming Serum Calming Serum Add to Wish List
    Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum
    $250

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    $250
  21. NIGHT SERUM NIGHT SERUM Add to Wish List
    Dr. Barbara Sturm Night Serum
    $310

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    $310
  22. Clarifying Serum Clarifying Serum Add to Wish List
    Dr. Barbara Sturm Clarifying Serum
    $250

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    $250
  23. Darker Skin Tones Hyaluronic Serum Darker Skin Tones Hyaluronic Serum Add to Wish List

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    $300
  24. RETINOL INFUSED EYE MASK 10 PACK BOX SET RETINOL INFUSED EYE MASK 10 PACK BOX SET Add to Wish List

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    $40
  25. COLLAGEN INFUSED LIP MASK 10 PACK BOX SET COLLAGEN INFUSED LIP MASK 10 PACK BOX SET Add to Wish List

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    $40
  26. SUPA BALM  ROSE SUPA BALM  ROSE Add to Wish List
    KNC Beauty Supa Balm Rose
    $22

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    $22
  27. Clarifying Mask Clarifying Mask Add to Wish List
    Dr. Barbara Sturm Clarifying Mask
    $145

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    $145
  28. Drench Intensive Hydration Serum Drench Intensive Hydration Serum Add to Wish List

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    $180
  29. Brightgen Maxiumum Glow Serum Brightgen Maxiumum Glow Serum Add to Wish List

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    $180
  30. Re-Gen Renewal Sleep Serum Re-Gen Renewal Sleep Serum Add to Wish List

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    $180

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