A Brief Disclaimer
There is a multitude of ways to use cosmetics in glamour spells, from the color itself, to sigils, and so on. I typically use a variety of ways in conjunction when applying my makeup (and I LOVE doing my makeup). Usually, it's just to promote a particular mood for the day to enhance a certain aspect of my own personality. You can use it to make yourself more attractive for a new love or a current love, but glamour magick is so much more than just getting it on with someone else. It can be self-love, confidence inducing, making you braver, or just happy. So don't dive into this thinking that it's shallow and only on the surface.
A Brief History of Cosmetics:
Starting in Egypt, cosmetics was first employed for sun care. They would rub oils into the skin to protect themselves from the harsh desert life. It wasn't until 4000 BCE when they started to actually apply copper, ore, and minerals to their faces for coloring and contouring. About a thousand years later, you'll find the Chinese discovering nail polish to show social status. While in Greece, they apply lead to lighten their faces and even hair to their eyebrows to make them more prominent. The Japanese also pick up their own geisha makeup, and other citizens would use rice powder for their faces and henna for their hair. (If only we all could've been this safe, right?) Come around to the AD's and Roman men invent blonde hair dye. The henna found in Japan, is also being used in India and even North Africa for decorative skin designs. During this time, perfumes are also starting to be invented in the Middle East, but won't be imported to the rest of the world until the Middle Ages due to the Crusades. In the Elizabethan Era Europe, cosmetics as a way to enhance beauty really takes off and France becomes a major perfumer. In the 1800's its found out that many of the cosmetics used contain very dangerous chemicals and so Queen Victoria declares makeup improper and only for the actors. It's not really brought back until the 1900's, when its more and more pressed upon women to look younger and more beautiful in society. In today's world, its still very much the same, however, we're taking a more interesting turn and are wanting to go back to the natural beauty. Some, literally.
Back to the Basics:
The current trend is taking even cosmetics back to nature, which is wonderful and very witchy. We know in our practice what herbs and dyes to use to make your lips red and tinge the cheeks. While I'm all for doing it yourself, I would highly suggest from this in the makeup line unless you thoroughly research it first. However, I'm likely a biased candidate because my skin is extremely sensitive and I'd probably hurt myself making my own because I'm also very allergic to many bee products. Even the Burt's Bees chap stick is an unfortunate mishap in my hands. If you're anything like me, there are many brands that are literally taking it back to beginning, but without the lead and arsenic. I personally use and recommend Julep, who are not only all natural, but also vegan and cruelty free. They have this really awesome subscription box for only $24.99 a month, and I'm going to shamelessly plug it in here
. (No I am not being asked to do so, I just am so in love with their product and want others to love it as well.) We see many of the same ingredients used in makeup, like roses and honey, used specifically in love and beauty rituals. The scents in lotions and perfumes are often used to invoke specific deities and even emotions or actions. Needless to say, witches have been doing this for centuries even while the main populace moved on, so it's nice to see a movement taking a more pagan direction. If you're interested in DIY cosmetics, I did find this pretty cool blog that gives you a bit of a heads up so you know what you're getting yourself into. You can ground rose petals into coconut oil and make a lovely all natural lip color that also hydrates while infusing it with the intent of speaking only kind or lovely words. Beets are also used in love spells, their ink is especially powerful for writing love spells, charms, or in a book of shadows. Below is some lovely blush recipes that are perfect for any skin tone. You can also create your own foundation powder using cacao powder, turmeric, and beets (if you need a warmer tone), all of which are also common ingredients in love sachets. So you can see, in just these three examples, how it's becoming a little more important to go natural for certain things especially when using them for witchcraft.
(this image is from pinterest, source not known)
The Witchcraft Side:
Cosmetics of all types have always been considered a very pagan thing; it's even stated in the Bible to keep away from such things. But why? Probably because many tribes and old world peoples would use the all natural colorings, like clay and berries, to make up war paint, do decorate their faces and bodies with symbols or sigils for rituals, and even use them to seduce. We hear tales of Cleopatra and her lipstick colors and even Elizabeth I felt they had healing powers. We hear tall tales like those of the supposed 1770 banning due to witchcraft in Britain and also tales we wish were tall like that of Mrs Bathory. Makeup evolved into something outside of a bath and war and into a fashion. Though it was started to put on a brave face or call down the Gods, today it's looks is much different outside of a Halloween party, but that power and intent still lies within it today. Which is why it's rather important that we pay attention to this all natural trend and help it along so we can resurrect the real properties of this largely integrated part of paganism.
We'll discuss the actual magick application and how all of this ties in with our next blog post.
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