Ancient Greece is famous for its many inventions, its philosophers, its fascinating mythology, and its fabulous buildings.
But did you know that Ancient Greece was also a society where beauty was a top quality to have? And that’s not so surprising since they invented the gold number for beauty…
Whether you watch statues of goddesses or read philosophical treaties, beauty was everywhere. Indeed, being kallòs (beautiful) was a requirement for both men and women.
Consequently, women translated this high conception of beauty in their daily rituals. Let’s discover Ancient Greek beauty secrets today!
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What was the conception of beauty in Ancient Greece?
“When a beautiful soul harmonizes with a beautiful form, and the two are cast in one mould, that will be the fairest of sights to him who has the eye to contemplate the vision” – Plato
Ancient Greeks loved physical beauty and revered Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. Other goddesses and women were renowned for their beauty as well, such as Helen of Troy. Painters and sculptors represented them with long flowing hair and a radiant skin.
Thus, they always tried to improve their appearance through natural ways: diet, exercise, and natural cosmetics.
Speaking of cosmetics, they were a very important part of Ancient Greeks’ lives. Indeed, the word “cosmetics” comes from the Greek word kosmetikos, deriving from kosmos. This conveyed an idea of harmony, balance, and divine order. Beauty was revered as divine and had to be daily entertained.
Consequently, Ancient Greeks relied on natural cosmetics that they found in their natural environment. They include many ingredients that they ate daily as well.
Everything You Need To Know About Ancient Greek Beauty Secrets
Beauty Secret #1: Olive oil as a moisturizer
The poet Homer referred to olive oil as “liquid gold”. Olive oil was a staple that was used in the kitchen as well as in the daily beauty rituals of women. This ancient beauty secret was a first-class moisturizer in every household. Also, Ancient Greek women used it to make their skin and hair look shiny and healthy.
Olive oil is a natural source of healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins. It revitalizes dry skins while boosting the cell renewal process.
Beauty Secret #2: Milk and yoghurt
Dairy products were a daily staple in the diet of Ancient Greeks. However, milk and yoghurt were also beneficial because of their softening properties. Rich people especially relied on milk from donkeys to keep a glowing skin. Otherwise, they could also used milk from goats and cows.
Also, Greek yoghurt was a miraculous ingredient to treat certain skin ailments such as sunburns. Yoghurt has a unique combination of lactose, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Thus, it has soothing and nourishing properties. Consequently, it is perfectly understandable that Ancient Greek women used yoghurt to cure their sunburns!
Today, the cosmetic industry still uses yoghurt in their products, such as the Greek Yoghurt Nourishing Probiotic Gel Cream by Korres.
Beauty Secret #3: Flowers and herbs
Ancient Greeks used many herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables in their cosmetic recipes. In particular, they considered rose as the “queen of flowers”.
For instance, they would use rose oil to soothe and moisturize dry skin. Also, rose water was a key cosmetic staple to cleanse and hydrate the skin of Ancient Greek women.
Containing vitamins A and E, rose water is extremely nourishing and helps to reduce wrinkles. Also, it is also useful to tighten skin pores.
Among the other herbs used by Ancient Greeks, you have:
- lotus flowers
Beauty Secret #4: Sea salt
Just like Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Greeks relied on a mixture of sea salt and olive oil to exfoliate their skins. They followed their exfoliation ritual with a bath to soothe their skin.
Moreover, they would soak in seawater as a therapy to relax their bodies and minds. This practice is the ancestor of what is called “thalassotherapy” nowadays.
Rich in minerals, sea salt has many properties for the skin. Indeed, it increases blood circulation and has antiseptic effects. Moreover, sea salt is a natural detoxifier since it helps absorbing toxins from the skin.
Beauty Secret #5: Honey
Like dairy products and olive oil, honey had been an ancient beauty secret of Greece since 5,000 BCE. They used honey primarily as a face mask.
Also, they would use honey and milk in their bath to nourish their skin, like the Ancient Egyptians. In particular, Cleopatra was a huge fan of this recipe! Honey has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to get rid of dead skin cells.
Beauty Secret #6: Pomegranate
Pomegranate was a favorite fruit of Aphrodite, and was a symbol for fertility and good luck. Ancient Greeks used pomegranate juice to cleanse their pores and balance their oily skin.
Beauty Secret #7: Lethal make-up
Ancient Greek women favored light skin as it was a symbol of high status and class. Therefore, they relied on makeup to enhance their beauty. Prostitutes (hetaires) had a bolder look, with an outrageous make-up. On the contrary, prestigious women sported a more natural look.
However, their make-up was lethal because they used a cosmetic recipe created by a Greek philosopher called Theophrastus of Eresos. He used a recipe with ceruse or lead carbonate to lighten women’s skin.
Lead is extremely toxic and as expected, many women faced health problems – and even died. Fortunately, the authorities banned the use of lead in cosmetics in the 19th century.
Beauty Secret #8: A balanced diet
Did you know that the diet of Ancient Greeks was part of their ancient beauty secrets? Indeed, they relied on a very healthy Mediterranean diet to sustain their bodies on a daily basis.
They would eat lots of vegetables, seasonal fruits, fish, olive oil, cereals and grains, and legumes. They ate little amounts of meat and drank lots of wine.
Summary: what were the most important Ancient Greek beauty secrets?
Ancient Greek beauty secrets are surprising because they are extremely up to date. Indeed, they relied on a combination of natural cosmetics, diet, and exercise to make the most of their physiques. And women used ingredients straight from the kitchen that you can still use today.
Well, that’s all for today! What do you think of the Ancient Greek beauty secrets? Do you use them in your beauty routine? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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