The Evolution of Makeup and Its Impact on Eco-Friendly Cosmetic Packaging

Makeup has been an integral part of human existence for thousands of years. Its cultural significance isn’t merely confined to enhancing beauty but also to denote status, religion, and ceremonial observances. Despite its pivotal role in human societies, makeup has experienced a dramatic evolution, both in its application and packaging. With the rise of eco-consciousness, consumers are opting for eco-friendly cosmetic packaging, with polymer products leading the charge. 

The Ancient Egyptians

The first recorded use of makeup dates back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians took care of their appearance, signifying their social status, and believed that makeup had magical powers. They used finely ground minerals and flowers to create colored powders that they applied to their faces and eyes. They even went as far as to use mascara, made from kohl and crocodile dung, to darken and lengthen their lashes. The ancient Egyptians created a wide range of beauty products, some of which bear a resemblance to modern cosmetics. However, eco-friendly cosmetic packaging was non-existent in those times.

The Geishas of Japan

Geishas are associated with their elaborate makeup, particularly the white face makeup (oshiroi), which they apply to signify their role and maturity. In ancient Japan, the geisha was considered an artist skilled in various forms of performance, art, and conversation. The makeup was essential in transforming the geisha’s face and provided a blank canvas for artistic expression. The geishas used natural ingredients like rice powder, charcoal, and safflower to create their makeup. However, the eco-friendly cosmetic packaging was non-existent during that period.

The Roman Empire

The Romans and Greeks were known for placing a high value on physical beauty. Women used lead-based makeup to achieve the pale, ethereal look the men found attractive. The lead led to poisoning and resulted in hair loss, weakened teeth, and even death. Eventually, lead-based makeup was banned in the Roman Empire, and women resorted to safer compounds like chalk and barley flour. The Romans believed that beauty represented a person’s character and used makeup to enhance their natural beauty. However, eco-friendly cosmetic packaging was not a concern at that time.

Modern makeup

The 20th century marked a turning point for the makeup industry. The mass production of makeup, technological advances, and a shift in social attitudes towards makeup had far-reaching consequences. During this period, makeup became more affordable and accessible, prompting women to experiment with different colors and styles. Technological advancements led to the development of waterproof mascara, oil-free makeup, and long-lasting lipsticks. The modern makeup industry has also introduced eco-friendly cosmetic packaging, with polymer products leading the way.

Polymer products

Eco-friendly cosmetic packaging has become a top priority in the makeup industry. Many brands are switching to polymer products that are more sustainable, recyclable, and biodegradable. Polymer packaging is made of polyethylene and polypropylene, which are lightweight, durable, and eco-friendly. In addition, polymer packaging reduces the carbon footprint by reducing the weight of the packaging, lowering transportation and energy costs. Brands such as L’Oreal, MAC, and Estee Lauder have embraced polymer packaging, reducing the amount of plastic in their packaging.


The evolution of makeup has been nothing short of fascinating, with each era having its distinct cultural significance. The industry has come a long way, with eco-friendly cosmetic packaging becoming an integral part of the makeup industry. As the demand for eco-friendly packaging grows, manufacturers are turning to polymer products to make a more significant impact on the environment. With polymer packaging being durable and recyclable, the future of makeup seems to be in safe hands.