Weird Things You Didn’t Know about Eyeshadow

Natasha Burton
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

From shimmer to matte, glitter to cream, eyeshadow is one of the most versatile makeup products around. It can make us look more sophisticated, more edgy or even younger. Pretty amazing, right? This beloved beauty accent actually has some interesting roots that go back thousands of years. Read on to learn how eye shadow was introduced to womankind, as well as some other fun facts.

1. It all started with the Egyptians.
Twelve thousand years ago, the first eye shadow was born—or at least, that’s when we have our first record of it being used. Ancient Egyptian ladies, including Cleopatra, used a substance called kohl on their eyes. Kohl was made of lead, oxidized copper and burnt almonds, among other things.

2. It was made from precious stones.
A bit later, in ancient Greece, eyeshadow was known as “fucus” and was made out of ultra marine and malachite stones. These shadows weren’t limited for use by just Grecian women, however. The Greeks actually exported their makeup to other Mediterranean civilizations.

3. It once had some pretty icky ingredients.
In the olden days in Japan, women used to do up their eyes with rice flour, crushed flower petals and—wait for it—bird droppings.

4. It contains metal.
One of the main ingredients of modern eye shadow is micah, which is actually metal in powder form. The more shimmer in the shadow, the more micah it contains.

5. It’s not fat-free.
Many beauty products, from eye makeup (including eyeshadow) to foundation to shampoo list tallow as an ingredient. Tallow, as in, boiled down animal fat. Ick.

6. It has a surprisingly long shelf-life.
While mascara should get tossed every three months, powder eyeshadow lasts you much, much longer. Most experts say that you can use it for two years before you should throw it out. 

Read more: Weird Things You Didn’t Know about Your Teeth




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