Bronze toiletry mirror, Egyptian, 800 BC-100 BC.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 25cm x 32cm

Bronze toiletry mirror, Egyptian, 800 BC-100 BC.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


The ancient Egyptians were very conscious of their personal appearance and followed a regime of applying fragrant oils to their skin and hair, and applying make-up to their eyes and mouths. Eye make-up was usually black or green and acted as a fashion statement as well as preventing sand and dust from the desert getting into their eyes. The oils they used prevented chafing from the desert wind and provided a scent. Unshaven men were deemed unclean and so a process of removing hair using tweezers was commonplace. The wealthier ancient Egyptians also wore wigs constructed from human hair.

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