Teaching Science through History II

Cosmetics in Ancient Egypt

by Sandy Stai

The setting is ancient Egypt. The task is to render the face more attractive and comfortable (and to do so safely). Consistency, texture, spreadability, durability, and color are all properties of matter that must be mastered. Various chemical products for body care (odor, appearance, temperature regulation, skin condition) form a context. Mineral pigments provide a resource. Here, trial and error meet the cultural contexts of religion, practicality, medicine, and technology.

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