Nature, tradition and scientific research are the three pillars of cosmetics, in particular the green one, increasingly in demand and used by consumers all over the world, who love to take care of themselves using eco friendly products that respect nature.
But what exactly are cosmetics? The Italian law of 11 October 1986 defines them as follows: “by cosmetic products we mean substances and preparations, other than medicines, intended to be applied on the external surfaces of the human body (epidermis, hair system and hair, nails, lips, external genital organs) or on the teeth and mucous membranes of the mouth with the aim, exclusive or prevalent, of cleaning them, perfuming them, modifying their appearance, correcting body odors, protecting them or keeping them in good condition “.
The definition is absolutely pertinent but does not tell the whole history of cosmetics, which carries far more complex natural and social values. We can trace the origins of cosmetics to the Sumerian times and since then it has always served as an amplifier and corrector of the body aspects of the human being, inevitably linked to the natural biological cycle and to the coupling needs, first for their own satisfaction and then for procreation.
Mating rites play a central role in the plant, animal and human world. Just as plants – which do not practice self-pollination – through colors and smells attract external agents that will transport pollen from the male to the female part of the plant, human beings also use cosmetics to amplify or conceal their colors and own smells and attract the opposite sex.
Just as the flower opens up and shows off its most bright colors to bring the external agents that will transport the pollen closer together, so men and women prepare for the meeting by taking care of their bodies: this is reflected in the effort made in combing, perfuming, shaving or take care of your beard, whiten your teeth and much more: all these enhancement operations of your beauty involve the use of cosmetics.
These rites, common to all of us, were already practiced in ancient times. The Sumerian civilization has left us legacies of graffiti that reproduce the bathroom of women before the “knowledge”, that is the intimate relationship with a man. Then many slaves or subordinates prepared the mistress for her first time, starting with the ritual bath, then moving on to the massage and ending with hairstyle and makeup; then followed the rite of dressing. If we think about it, the same thing happens to the bride today.
In different ways, this “ritual” has always been practiced also on the male side and has gone up to the present day passing through all civilizations, religions, epochs and races. Even today in some parts of the world young men are prepared for their first mating using cosmetics.
The use of cosmetics, therefore, is as old as the human being although we cannot imagine it, perhaps because we are used to thinking of cosmetics such as jars and bottles that can be purchased in the supermarket or in herbal medicine and not to the dried leaves of a plant, to its roots or simply to clay and water.
Cosmetics is a history of over 4000 years and in 2021 the world turnover will reach 500 billion euros, placing it among the top ten world markets by turnover.
Many elements have come down to us. Think of the use of the red color, which represents passion, blood, war and betrayal: we find it in the best-selling cosmetic products in the world that serve to highlight the most sensual areas of the body: lipstick for lips, nail polish for hands and feet, hair dye. We could go on talking about eye shadows to highlight the eyes, or the blond hair that evokes historical myths.
However, the skin, the largest and most sensitive organ of the body, plays a fundamental role. Its care is almost obsessive because during mating it is the main vehicle of the feelings of pleasure. From depilation, to hydration, to firming, cosmetic preparations have always been used: creams, ointments, ointments, poultices and compresses.
With the passage of time, the time and silence reserved for self-care were lost, or at least considerably decreased, those precious moments in which, through the body, people also took care of their soul to achieve a psycho-physical well-being that stress away. Unfortunately, today the frenetic rhythms of daily life are in contrast with our biological rhythm and we can hardly give ourselves a space for ourselves, in which to relax and enjoy the beauty rituals. We don’t even succeed when we rely on professionals as a hairdresser and beautician.
Plants come to our rescue to give us the well-being that we need, both if contained in cosmetics and if used for small “do it yourself”. Thanks to their beneficial properties, they help us find our natural time, that place where we can rediscover our intimacy because, as is often said, we cannot please others if we don’t like ourselves and we can’t give ourselves to others if we don’t have inner balance.