I was browsing the Metropolitan Museum of Art's ancient cosmetic collection and I couldn't help but notice how similar the design of some of the pieces were to today's makeup. Sure, the ingredients have vastly improved and technology has advanced, but the basic design for some objects remains the same. I thought I'd share a few examples.
1. Swivel containers
Overall I prefer makeup in more traditional compacts that open bottom to top, but swivel palettes add a luxurious touch. Who knew they may have been rooted in ancient Egpytian cosmetic containers? The top row in this picture contains pivoting containers from roughly 1500-300 B.C. The blue one (middle) is in the shape of a column capital and has several compartments, while the one on the right is made of ivory and was most likely used to store powder or blush. (You can read more about the last two here and here). The bottom row shows what I think are some contemporary counterparts: Dior Cristal Boreal lip gloss pendant from 2009, Le Métier de Beauté Kaleidoscope eye shadows, and Hourglass Cosmetics Illume Creme-To-Powder Bronzer Duo.
2. Cosmetic boxes with drawers
I always thought palettes with sliding drawers were pretty cool - they're like jewelry boxes but with makeup. These boxes in the top row of the picture below (all Egyptian) are made of wood and have compartments for storing various cosmetics. The middle one is from the tomb of an artist and dates from 1279-1213 B.C., while the more elaborate one on the right dates from 1814–1805 B.C. and was found with a mirror and 4 ointment jars. Today, we have Lorac's Private Affair palette, Urban Decay's Book of Shadows, and Bobbi Brown's Holiday 2011 palette, all of which feature drawers reminiscent of their ancestors.
3. Makeup bags
The Met also has an ancient leather pouch meant to store cosmetic implements. While most makeup bags today are rarely made of leather, (companies tend to opt for nylon or plastic), some brands employ faux leather to give a more luxe feel. Case in point: Bobbi Brown's Chrome brush kit from 2009.
I find it so interesting that certain design principles for cosmetic tools from thousands of years ago still exist today, albeit in more technologically advanced ways.
Which item from the Met shown here is your favorite?