Olive & Oil 31/05/2014

Olive oil in cosmetics? What story is this?

The advertising is pretending to forget even the Odyssey of Homer. the first archaeological evidence of cosmetics in ancient times was the discovery of vials that contained a mix of lead and olive oil in Egyptian tombs , dated around 5000 BC. The ancients knew a lot, realizing the countless dermal properties of the olive oil. Do you know that thing with the Graces sprinkled the body of Aphrodite ?

When I was a kid I always give you a smile enough to sentence the elders of my family often repeated: "The ancients knew a lot" But the , a few years later, struggling with my cosmetic creations, having to think again .

It 's true , the ancients knew a lot. They used in ancient times substances whose properties were well known and appreciated, and that have been "revalued" to this day.

The most striking example? Olive oil , which ... was born cosmetics!

The first archaeological evidence of cosmetics in ancient times was the discovery of vials that contained a mix of lead and olive oil in Egyptian tombs, dated around 5000 BC

Certainly the use of preparations of beauty goes back much earlier (some have been found cave drawings dating back to the primitive peoples in which men are portrayed with decorated leather), but these bottles Egyptians are the oldest tangible evidence that we have, and we now know that even the queen Cleopatra sprinkle olive oil, mixed with essences, face, body and hair to preserve intact her legendary beauty.

Cosmetic , therefore, are born with man and developed with the progress of civilization.

Their use "journeyed" from the east in Greece and, from there, in the Roman world, and olive oil, it has always been the basic ingredient.

In Greece they were used in the gymnasiu , a school in which the care of the body and the mind were of equal importance, and where they promoted the education, culture, health, fitness activities and the hygiene of the greek people, particularly of young people who spent a lot of time here. The men and women adults spent their free time to the public baths and they used to carry around a cruet of olive oil with which to massage the body after ablution.

It was also very important hair care: the classic hairstyle "folds" of Greek women was preceded by a ritual that wraps preparation olive oil.

For the face, it was the famous white lead of Rhodes, a substance made of lead carbonate that, when mixed with oil, covered in white face ladies and that Greece was "exported" to Rome.

In ancient Rome, the specialized cosmetae were slaves who had the task of preparing cosmetics "fresh." And there were several recipes based on olive oil: an oil-wrinkle provided , for example, the use of chestnut leaves and ivy that had to be dipped in olive oil and should not be "disturbed" for two hours.
A hair strengthener required that you miscelassero olive oil and castor oil. To this, was added perfumed essence to form a kind of lotion, which was applied on the head once a day .

Even the Romans, after the bath, he sprinkled the body with oils and ointments made ​​with olive oil mixed with flower essences, such as rose and jasmine.

Do you think that waxing is a recent invention? You mistake! The Romans already used it. Existed a depilatory cream based on olive oil, resin, pitch and other substances .

Pliny the Elder (24-79 d. C.) claimed that "two liquids are more pleasing to the human body : the wine inside and outside the oil ."
And if you do not overdo it with the wine, I think this statement still valid today.

With the decline of the Roman Empire the use of cosmetics a bit silly. It remains somewhat dormant during the Middle Ages, a time when attention to spirituality outclasses the pagan attention to a well as ephemeral and fleeting as the human body. In fact, during the Middle Ages, the olive oil was used yes, but to treat gynecological infections and other diseases.

In the Renaissance, returns triumphant admiration for beauty and "reborn" even perfumes and cosmetics: are initiated workshops distillation of aromatic essences that enrich water, alcohols, oils and ointments.

This renaissance of cosmetics assumes even excessive tones in the 700 with the explosion of wigs and cosmetics at the court of the king of France, in which noblewomen are subjected to long makeup sessions even before going to bed.

After the French revolution, which abolished the luxury , the sobriety returned in 800 with a more light and "romantic" cosmetics , olive oil but never disappears, and we find him in preparations for therapeutic purposes or to soften the calluses of the feet.

At the end of the 800 comes the cosmetics industry itself as we know it today, in which the cosmetics loses its character of craftsmanship and begins to be managed in a scientific and technological, with the construction of many different types of products and intended for mass consumption.
The methods of production are similar in some respects to those of the pharmaceutical industry and managed by experts. The European states begin to enact laws and regulations that, in order to ensure safety for many consumers, are becoming more stringent. The formulations thus become much more complex and functional , compared to the simple use of olive oil. However, the liquid gold that we know has never disappeared from cosmetics, and has recently been evaluated not only for its numerous properties dermal but also by virtue of the discovery and exploitation of natural products, keeping pace with the new ecological awareness and more conscious consumers.
The rest is the present time.

Since we have talked about beauty in ancient times, I conclude with two "poetic" questions that have to do with the Odyssey of Homer:
- Do you know that thing with the sorceress Circe anoint the body of Ulysses to make him "di vigor nuovo rifiori le membra" (to give power and energy to his body)?
- Do you know that thing with the Graces sprinkled the body of Aphrodite?

You know the answer!

di Diana Malcangi, OpusFirst