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Romans makeup included fair, white skin.
However, they weren’t naturally fair so they had to rely on cosmetics to
lighten their complexions. To achieve that, they used chalk powder, white marl
and white lead, which was poisonous. The Ancient Romans liked large eyes with
long eyelashes and eyebrows. They would darken their eyebrows with soot and
extend those inwards. On the eyes, they applied a kohl, which they made with
saffron, ashes or soot to make them darker. The kohl was applied with a glass,
ivory, wood or bone stick that had to be dipped into either water or oil before
putting on the eyes. Another way to darken the eyes was to use date stones and
charred petal roses. But the Romans also used colourful eye shadows. To make
green, they used the mineral malachite while blue was derived from azurite. The
Romans believed pink on the cheeks to be a sign of gold health. So, women would
apply several substances on their face to achieve that result. Men that wore
makeup were considered immoral. Still, some of them used white powder on their
face to lighten their complexion. Men would often remove their hair and use
perfume and this was accepted. Hair styling was important for men and
woman and hair fashion changed often during the imperial period (27BCE – 3CE).
Styles became increasingly elaborate and men generally kept their hair short,
neat and were clean shaven. During the Emperor’s
Commodus times, dyeing hair blonde become fashionable for men. Women wore wigs to hide hair damaged by dyes. During
the Imperial eras, these wigs were made with real hair. Blonde hair was
imported from Northern Europe, while black hair was imported from India. The
Romans also used dyes to accentuate the colours. Blonde hair was enhanced with
a mixture of Beeches Ash and goat’s fat while red was maintained by pulverizing
leaves of the Lawsonia Inermis, a plant in the henna ancestry. Black hair was
obtained by black antimony with animal fat, cypress leaves that were brewed and
then saturated in vinegar. Gymnastics would curl their hair and pin it
up. Curls were made using heated metal curling tongs. Hair pomades and creams were made from animal fats.  To create styles such as the raised curls
above, hair pieces or wigs were used. They would
use poppy and rose petals, red chalk, alkanet, Tyrian vermillion, crocodile
dung, red ochre  (it was more expensive
as it was imported from Belgium), mulberry juice, wine dregs, cinnabar and red
lead (these two were poisonous). The laurel reef was worn by people
of rank. Colours of their robes included purple dye which was the most highly
prized, only emperors, magistrates and priests could wear the expensive purple
edging. Perfume was applied used to scent the hair, ribbons were used to create
hair styles. Gold and pearls were also popular as hair accessories and to
create detailed hair styles. Rank and status determined whether the toga could
be worn and whether it might be coloured. A woman’s basic garment was a stola
which hung in pleats from the shoulders, were it fastened with a broach or
clasp called a fibulae. Over this ladies wore a palla (shall) which might cover
the head. Dyes were available and clothes were sometimes embroidered. The dyes
were madder(red) saffron(yellow) indigo(blue). The Roman Empire had various
trade routes that covered the Mediterranean and black Seas. The main trading
partners were Spain, France, The Middle East and Africa. They would import
iron, lead, leather, marble, olive oil, perfumes, dyes and wine. They made
trade as easy as possible, using currency.Most garments were made from wool or
linen but silk was imported for the wealthy. Foreign captives and slaves wore a
simple tunica and leather sandals or boots to protect their feet. Silk was rare
and expensive and affordable to the rich. Wool and linen was for the majority
of Romans. Due to weather conditions and the
poor quality of cosmetics, makeup needed to be reapplied several times a day,
which wasn’t very practical, especially for lower-classe women. The wealthy had
slaves called Cosmetae’s, whose job was to apply makeup on them as well as
making creams and lotions. Roman slaves wore little modest clothing. Their
clothing depended upon their role and task they performed. Menial slaves were
given basic clothing like cloth. The wealthy and poor had a very different
lifestyle. This is because the poor had to work constantly for very little pay
and what money they did have had to be spent on food and the farmers had to buy
seeds. There was no money left over to change the style of clothes or improve
appearance. 

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