The Art of Makeup: Shades, Glamourous and Artistic

Makeup is an industry worth more than 530 billion dollars, with popular trends helping it grow each year. Makeup goes far beyond today’s trends, however, as it dates back all the way to ancient Egypt. Let’s look at how it all began and how it has evolved to become what it is today.

Makeup has been around for thousands of years and the history of cosmetics is as complex and varied as the palettes you can find on the market today. The industry has seen ample criticism, ranging from products that have been deemed unsafe, to animal testing, to the pressure it puts on women. However, at the end of the day makeup is a tool many women use to craft their own type of very personalised and specific art, one shade at the time.    

The word ‘cosmetic’ derives from the Greek “kosmetikē tekhnē“, meaning “technique of dress and ornament”, from “kosmētikos“, “skilled in ordering or arranging” and that from “kosmos“, meaning “order” and “ornament”. We can trace back the first use of makeup back to ancient Egypt. As early as 4000 B.C, kohl was worn traditionally by Egyptian women and men alike as well. They used kohl to enhance their eyes’ appearance and add more depth to their gaze. They also used various pigments to colour their eyelids, as well as fish scales to add shimmer to their lips. While there is some concern that the materials used had adverse effects, some historians believe that much of early makeup had antibacterial properties.

The story of lipstick began 5,000 years ago, in the city of Ur in modern-day Iraq. It originated from the Sumerian culture, and the stain was procured from naturally occurring substances like fruits and clay. Mesopotamian women even used precious jewels to add color and shimmer to their lips. Makeup is also mentioned in the Old Testament and the Book of Esther, which ones again proves that neither Estée Lauder, Clinique, nor Kylie Jenner can take credit for its invention.  

The Middle Age brought about a fair share of rouged cheeks and whitened faces. Queen Victoria is famously known to have said that makeup was vulgar. Still, it continued to grow in popularity as famous actors like Sarah Bernhardt and Lillie Langtry highlighted how it helped to enhance their natural beauty.  

Throughout all eras, we see a range of attitudes towards makeup, largely shaped by the different ideals of beauty. From bold to discreet, from bright colours to neutral tones, makeup never ceased to be controversial, drawing up a range of opinions. Western social etiquette in the 1870’s even forbade teachers and clergywomen to wear it.  

The cosmetics market significantly expanded in the 20th century. L’Oréal and Elizabeth Arden are one of the older cosmetics companies, having been founded in 1909 and 1920, respectively. 17% of the world’s women have forgone makeup during the pandemic, however, we see a lot of positive trends, such as more accountability, a tendency to use more natural products and less animal testing. While some see it as a tool of oppression, others see it as a tool for empowerment. Makeup artists have become ubiquitous, being in demand everywhere from department stores to movie sets. Celebrities endorse their favourite brands on social media, participating in collaborations, and even creating their own lines.  

Today, makeup is a wonderful way to display your style, highlight your best features or take on a new persona. Only time will tell what trends await us in the world of makeup. It is certain that makeup video tutorials will continue to be popular – from expert DIY tips and tricks to celebrity makeup artists’ routines. 82% of women believe that social media will continue to drive trends, so we can be certain that Instagram will continue to push makeup trends to the forefront, one image and one post at a time 


We always love to showcase the artistic talent that comprises the .ART community. Today, we highlight noteworthy adopters that work with makeup, making it even more glamourous and enticing. 

Felicia Boettcher

Based in Munich, Felicia Boettcher wears several hats: she is a freelance photographer, make-up artist and digital creative director. Felicia is known for working with diverse cultures and languages and has built a global clientele. In addition to her natural eye for composition, she possesses a wide range of makeup techniques and can create everything from glowy everyday looks to sparkling, bold ones. 

Boettchers work is up on Instagram under @up2felicia.art and on up2felicia.art 

Samantha Coles

Samantha Coles is both a makeup artist and a hairstylist living in Australia. She has worked red carpet events, including The BRIT Awards. Samantha Coles also has a host of celebrity clients like David Beckham, Ruby Rose, Snoop Dogg and Rebel Wilson. Her portfolio is both impressive and wide-ranging, as she creates both naturaleveryday looks.

 Her work can be appreciated on Instagram under the handle @samanthacolesart or her .artwebsite samanthacoles.art  

FACE CHART by Liza Kondrevich

FACE CHART is a makeup book that aims to help you master makeup by through makeup techniques, various tools, colourimetry, etc. It was produced by Ukrainian makeup artist and designer Liza Kondrevich, who has worked for many major cosmetic brands, including NYX Cosmetics. She is deeply passionate about her work and shares a plethora of makeup tutorials in her book. 

You can find FACE CHART on Instagram under its founder’s account @liza.kondrevich or take a look at her website facechart.art 

Vlada Haggerty

Vlada Haggerty is a talented cosmetic product photographer from Los Angeles. She works with slick e-commerce projects as well as highly creative, stylized images. Her photographs are colourful and encapsulate the texture of the productscreamy, powdery, shiny or and matte effects. She hopes to transform the commercialization of cosmetic products into artwork.  

You can appreciate her work on her .art website, vladahaggerty.art, or on Instagram under the handle @vladahaggerty.art 

Sol Kellan

Sol Kellan is a Mexican costume creator and makeup designer. She designed the characters costumes for Jesus Christ Superstar 2019, directed by Nick Evans. She also designed costumes and makeup for Natalia Lafourcade, Chula the Clown and Sampo Kurppa, to name a few. Her costume and makeup productions are highly expressive avenues for storytelling. 

Visit her website solkellan.art to find out more about her work and find her under @solkellan on Instagram. 

FACE CHART by Liza Kondrevich

FACE CHART is a makeup book that aims to help you master makeup by through makeup techniques, various tools, colourimetry, etc. It was produced by Ukrainian makeup artist and designer Liza Kondrevich, who has worked for many major cosmetic brands, including NYX Cosmetics. She is deeply passionate about her work and shares a plethora of makeup tutorials in her book. 

You can find FACE CHART on Instagram under its founder’s account @liza.kondrevich or take a look at her website facechart.art 

Special Mention 

MAKEUP WAR project by Xia Han

Xia Han is an artist who usually works within virtual worlds. MAKEUP WAR is a 2019 multimedia project, which includes a two-player 2D platform shooting game, in which you study the behaviour of women with the aim of recreating the social pressure that women face almost every day in their consumerist environments. He approaches gender inequalities in the context of consumerism. 

You can discover more about this project by visiting Xia’s website at xiahan.art or by looking at her work on Instagram under @xiaaahan 


ABOUT THIS SECTION  

.ART Domains are dedicated to connecting, empowering, and supporting our vibrant community. We care about fostering a sense of belonging to the art world, and this new section celebrates creators that have recently joined.ART. This is our way to give back and shine a light on the work of amazing creatives, especially in these testing times! If you would like to be featured, please have a look at our submission guidelines here. 

.ART Team
.ART Team
members are global citizens with interests ranging from art history to social justice. If we had an office cat we would have called it Basquiat.