Women and Beauty: Queen Berenice, her hair beauty care

Women and Beauty: Queen Berenice, her hair beauty care



Beauty recipe for Queen Berenice's hair, which has gone down in history for her hair:


- a piece of elm bark not too lignified at least 10 cm long per side
- 2 l of water
- a bunch of rue


Boil the elm bark in water for one hour, keeping the container covered. Filter and add a bunch of rue and boil for another 15 minutes and allow to cool.

In the meantime, proceed to wash your hair using a neutral shampoo. When the scalp is clean, rub the skin for a long time with the water thus obtained and then proceed with the normal styling.

Repeat at least once a week for a month in spring and autumn.

Olive oil is an authentic beauty elixir, and these are the ways to use it in your beauty routine

From Cleopatra to Miranda Kerr: oil is really liquid gold, even on skin and hair

Olive oil: an essential that has never been lacking in Sophia Loren's Mediterranean diet, but not only! The precious juice that comes from the pressing of the olives has a lot to offer in terms of beauty and the legend tells that even Cleopatra - ancient Egyptian queen - loved long baths in olive oil. Today Selena Gomez always drinks a teaspoon before going on stage ("because it is good for the throat") and its properties are not unknown even to other stars, who use it to to feed skin and hair.

For the skin of the face, nothing is more suitable than antioxidant properties of olive oil. As Caroline Artiss, author of numerous books on natural beauty explains, "olive oil contains three of the major antioxidants found in nature: vitamin E, polyphenols and phytosterols". These fight free radicals and other external aggressors such as pollution and UV rays that cause premature skin aging. Clearly, the use of olive oil in our skincare routine is not intended only for the skin of the face. Taking up the anecdote of Cleopatra's beauty secret, it can also be used to massage the skin of the body or for the treatment of cuticles.

But the remedies do not end there because, by combining a little sugar with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl, you can get a perfect do-it-yourself scrub: exfoliating the skin now is essential for the tan that awaits us in beach! As for the hair, a pack with olive oil it is an ideal treatment for dry and brittle hair, to always try before shampooing and rinsing thoroughly. He gives us a valid reason to try it at home Miranda Kerr, than the French edition of Elle he said: "At least once a week, I prepare a pack of olive oil and lemon juice. I leave it on my hair as much as possible, this is a recipe that my mother taught me and I have not yet found a better remedy to treat hair when it is stressed, especially after the seasons of fashion week ". And if you say so, you just have to try.

The Queen reveals the secret of her hair

Queen Elizabeth always has a flawless look and her hair is no exception: during the period of lockdown - in his few public appearances - the icon of England has always shown a rigorous and worthy style of a good hairdresser. But what is its secret? Many have wondered if the Queen had a hairstylist of confidence that despite the government detention he had gone to visit her e the answer is no!

The meeting with Cessaro and the kingdom [easy shit | shit]

After five years of imprisonment and humiliation - which go by the name of Alexandrian captivity -, Cleo decided to reverse the political situation. The princess had matured a lot during her imprisonment: she had regained her confidence in the art of cosmetics, had dyed her hair a more sober blond, had discovered the highlights and had gained an enviable culture by reading the "Bible" and the "History of the Bidet" by Luciano Spadanuda.

In 51 BC, the Roman general Julius Cessarus came to Egypt to overthrow Berenice and seize power. With insightful political action, Cleo hastened to buy the alliance of influential court eunuch Lele Mora, promising him an annual subscription to "Vogue" magazine.

Conquered Alexandria and executed Berenice, Cessaro was now preparing to reign over the vast empire just created. But he hadn't reckoned with the young Cleo ...

The enterprising girl, endowed with every fantasy, hiding herself in a pink carpet, was led by Lele Mora in the presence of Cessaro: the carpet would have been a generous gift from the eunuch to the new lord of Egypt. But, behold, from the carpet, unrolled by the eunuch at Cessaro's feet, Cleo appeared, richly jeweled. "This stratagem earned the girl power over Egypt", we read in Plutarch ("Life of Cleopatra", IX, 9).

Having become Cessaro's lover and sending her brothers and sisters still alive into exile, Cleo established a reign of pleasure. He hired the Hollywood make-up artist Meschka as an advisor, who taught the queen the arts of light make-up and the color contrasts of cosmetics on different types of skin.

Cleo soon became eager to experiment her arts on Egyptian women: so, in March 48 BC, she organized a mascara party in the royal palace. More than two hundred women were made up by the skilled Cleo and Meschka on that memorable evening, remembered by literary and epigraphic sources.

In 44 BC, Cessaro was called to Rome to quell some civil guerrillas: the murder of his beloved, victim of a conspiracy, left Cleo in a gloomy desolation, which only the change in hair color could, in part, mitigate.


Perfume was a necessity in Versailles. The palace was occupied by thousands of people, some of whom paid close attention to their personal hygiene. The whole court stank. To keep the smell of the Queen's room, a large assortment of fresh flowers, flower pots and perfume bags was needed. They usually smelled of orange blossom, rose, violet, lavender and lemon, all the scents the Queen loved.

These aromas also have a prominent place in its own scents. The queen loved both simple scents, such as purple or orange flower water, and more complicated concoctions with iris, jasmine, lily, vanilla and musk, sometimes infused with spicy accents of cinnamon and clove.

What do you think of Marie Antoinette's beauty secrets? Would you have followed them too?

The secrets of female beauty in antiquity

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“There is a secret nerve in the heart of every man
that responds to the vibrations of beauty ».
(Christopher Morley)

An enigmatic ancient beauty.

We can consider beauty, in its changeability and in its multiple declinations, an indispensable weakness, "the wonder of wondersHow did Oscar Wilde define her? And why not! Although in a different way, we are all sensitive to beauty.

Every era - and every culture - has been reflected in an ideal of beauty, never unique and almost always inspired by the female figure.

In reality it would be correct to speak of "aesthetic canons" from the classical era onwards - before which we tried to make the physical appearance pleasant without pursuing a real "ideal" -, keeping in mind however that ancient aesthetics expressed a reflection on beauty in which the concept of beauty did not coincide with the current one (reflecting itself not only in the proportion of physical forms and in the pleasantness of the features but also in the moral qualities of the person). As Plato wrote, "What is beautiful is good". Having said that, let's see what the beauty secrets of ancient women were.

A journey through ointments, infusions, perfumes and cosmetics of the ancient world.

Although the Bible mentions the practice of makeup, it seems that the accessories that testify to its use date back to 5000 BC. These are spatulas for make-up, small jars, vials and palettes of pigments.

Ancient Egypt

Nefertiti, the Egyptian queen considered the most beautiful of antiquity.

In 3000 BC the trick was the prerogative of the priestly caste who made a ritual use of it. The ancient cosmetics had different meanings: ritual, funerary, magical, therapeutic and ornamental, even if the latter were imposed at a later stage. It is not surprising that the ointments used for the mummification of the bodies of the dead were also used to massage the bodies of the living after bathing. Alongside products for the temple, the use of cosmetics also spread to everyday life, and not only for the wealthier classes.

According to the testimonies of archaeologists, at the time of Nefertiti (around 1360 BC) Egyptian women (but also men) washed each morning with a mixture of water and carbonate of lime and rubbed their bodies with clay from the mud. of the Nile. The bath was followed by a massage with vegetable oil mixed with aromatic herbs to soften the skin. One of the first female beauty secrets, if we want to define it as such, was a "mask" based on ostrich egg beaten with milk, clay, oil and flour.

During the make-up phase - which at least up to the Old Kingdom (2700 BC - about 2200 BC) did not vary according to sex while later it was distinguished in colors for men and women -, the skin was smeared with a yellow tinted background. ocher, the cheekbones highlighted with red ocher, the eyes edged with black khol (galena powder, derived from a mineral based on lead sulphide), the eyelids painted with eye shadows and the veins of the temples highlighted with blue (originally the monopoly of the preparation of cosmetics belonged to the priests, then it became the prerogative of a secular corporation). Her nails were colored with henna and her breasts were painted with gold powder. A heavy wig, usually reserved for dignitaries and their families, covered heads with hair considered too fine.

A very popular toilet object was the mirror (it appears that mirrors, or perfectly smooth metal surfaces, already existed from the Old Kingdom although they were the prerogative of the rich).

The ancient Egyptians depilated themselves using creams made of "boiled and chopped bird bones, fly dung, sycamore juice, gum and cucumber heated and applied" (as reported The cone d'onguent gage de survie in Buleetin of the Istut français of Oriental Archeology by Nadine Cherpion, 1994). The perfumes, of which they made extensive use, were initially packaged with rubbery resins to which splinters of aromatic wood were joined, and later with oils and fragrant substances (such as cinnamon, cassia, myrrh, resins) or floral (lilies, marjoram, flowers of henna) to which wine was added. One of the most used products was the perfume cone, placed on the head so that it could spread the fragrance on hair and clothes.

The wide use of cosmetics, ointments and perfumes increased the trade with the countries that produced spices, incense and fragrances.

All this tells us that, although there were no defined aesthetic canons, the Egyptians attached great importance to the care and cleanliness of the body, intimately linked to the purity of the spirit. And this explains the construction of bathrooms in homes (of nobles, officials and sometimes even workers).

«The Egyptians prefer to be clean rather than beautiful»Wrote Herodotus.

Numerous archaeological finds offer us evidence of the ancient use of cosmetics also among the Sumerians, Hittites, Assyrians and Babylonians.


While in pre-classical Greece the concept of beauty was rather vague, in the classical one (from the 5th century BC) it assumed more delineated tones expressing itself in the measures, harmony and symmetry of soft forms, associated with the qualities of grace and balance.

In ancient Greece, up to III BC. century, women used body ointments, brushed their teeth but wore little or no makeup (just the eyebrows drawn in a single stroke). Later, with the importation of cosmetics and perfumes by Egyptian and Asian merchants, they let themselves be carried away by the charm of make-up.

The most popular cosmetic was white lead (a pigment made up of lead carbonate) which gave the skin a white color. To color the cheeks, instead, red lead (lead oxide of orange color) was used, or that obtained from vegetable pigments or from algae (sea algae). While the red was applied to the lips and cheeks with a brush, a layer of black antimony powder was passed over the eyelashes and eyebrows.

The transmission of the recipes of the beauty secrets took place from mother to daughter, thanks to the work of packers who frequented the entrances of the gynoeciums where the women of high society made their creams.

In the Hellenistic-Roman decadent phase, which began with the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC) and ended with the beginning of the empire of Augustus, even the women of the more modest classes wore makeup.

As evidenced by the numerous representations of the classic "pleated" hairstyle, even the hair was very frequently treated for their coloring, especially blond, and their perfume with lavender.

After they conquered Greece (146 BC), the Romans absorbed the customs of the Greeks and consequently also their aesthetic canons. The matron of the republican era (starting from 509 BC) was rough like the woman of archaic Greece, but that of the Empire (starting from 29 BC) made use of cosmetics, make-up and perfumes. The stereotype of female beauty in ancient Rome was centered on a figure with a clear complexion and opulent forms, which fatigue and a heavy diet did not struggle to maintain.

The dressing table of the Roman patrician was comparable to a real one tour de force: he devoted himself to long baths (having not yet appeared the soap, detergents such as fine clay or bean curd were used), skin exfoliation, hair removal (with a paste based on oil, pitch resin and caustics), massages ( usually with olive oil), make-up and hairstyle. All these operations mobilized a large number of slaves.

The beauty treatments of the Roman patrician women in a painting by Juan Gimйnez Martin.

Beauty secrets: hair was thickened with hairpieces and elaborately styled with overlapping curls, teeth rubbed with horn powder, breath scented with parsley, pimples and imperfections hidden behind fake moles. During the make-up phase, the face was lightened with nivea cerussa (a dangerous ointment derived from white lead), the eyes darkened by antimony, and the cheeks and lips dyed with alcanna, with the juice of mulberry blackberries or with sandracca (the dangerous arsenic sulphide). All the necessary cosmetic was prepared fresh by specialized slaves.

Poppea has gone down in history for its baths in donkey milk, the desired effect was to firm and soften the skin. Less well known, however, is his recipe for the beauty mask prepared by mixing the same milk with breadcrumbs.

In addition to various pastes and infusions obtained with the strangest ingredients (bull testicles, bees drowned in honey, pounded ant eggs, sheep fat, butter, broad beans, chickpeas.) An important role was played by the Baths, including those of Caracalla, true apogee of ancient Rome's cosmetics.

With the progressive affirmation of Christianity, the trick was mocked and considered sinful and the gestures linked to embellishment, inserted in a context of profane practices.


The architecture of the Roman baths inspired the Turkish bath, born from the encounter between Western and Eastern cultures.

In the 5th century, between Fes and Constantinople there were thousands of Turkish baths and hammam. In the soft light of the bathrooms, the woman used black soap to eliminate skin impurities and white henna to make her complexion more golden and her hair shiny. Argan oil and clay were the complements for skin care. The teeth were rubbed with the peel of walnut roots, the lips made red by the red akar and the eyes surrounded with the Khol.


Dominique Paquet, Miroir, mon beau miroir. Une histoire de la beautй, Paris, Ed. Gallimard, 1997.

Nathalie Chahine, Cathrine Jazdzewksi, Marie-Pierre Lannelongue, Franтcoise Mohrt, Fabiennne Rousso, Francine Vormese, Beauty, image and style, Modena, Ed. Logos, 2001.

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