With makeup, you can achieve a clear skin tone and brighter lips. You will no longer look tired, and you will be infused with vitality. This magical moment will always make you look enticing. It seems that clean skin and healthy vitality have always been the timeless standards of beauty in both the East and the West. Women’s efforts to look good have continued ceaselessly and tirelessly. Face powder or foundation is considered the oldest base makeup product. The use of powder was first recorded in ancient Greece. In 4th century B.C., women ornamented their faces with rosy and white tones in Athens. In the East, cosmetics were used with mirrors in China around 1,100 B.C. In Korea, the makeup culture has flourished since the Age of the Three Empires. In Japan’s encyclopedia, <Hwahansamjaedohoe>, it is stated that Japan learned from Baekje’s makeup techniques, and that the people of Baekje wore subtle, natural makeup. We can assume that advanced techniques for putting on natural makeup were already popular back then. The people of Silla believed in the philosophy of Oneness of Body and Soul, meaning that a beautiful soul lives in a beautiful body, so both men and women focused on putting on makeup and beautifying themselves. They had a rather exquisite level of techniques to produce white powder. They used the grain powder of rice or millet, flower pollen, the ground powder of burnt seashells, white clay powder, or talc powder to highlight the whiteness of the skin.
In the Goryeo Dynasty, on the other hand, heavy powder and dark eyebrow makeup were popular among the Gisaeng, who then became a social system. The heavy powder and dark eyebrow makeup involves applying a thick layer of white powder and shaping the eyebrows thinly and vividly. This makeup style was also used during the Joseon Dynasty. However, this style was mostly worn by palace maids and Gisaeng; commoners and noble women did not usually wear makeup, and only wore natural makeup for banquets or appointments. In the Joseon Dynasty, they preferred makeup that did not alter one’s appearance too much. When someone looked clearly different with makeup, people detested such change in looks. If you are interested in the makeup style during the Joseon Dynasty, we recommend a classic novel titled <Yeoyonggukjeon>. It is a novel that personified women’s cosmetics and makeup tools. It discusses about 20 makeup tools, including a mirror, tweezers, ramie yarn, towel, mirror stand, and washbowl, and cosmetic items, including powder, blusher, hair oil, wheat oil, fragrance, and beauty water.