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Beauty Rituals Through Time: Changing Attitudes Towards Ageing

Beauty Rituals Through Time: Changing Attitudes Towards Ageing

Welcome!  As we celebrate 'As Young As You Feel Day,' let's journey through the centuries, exploring beauty rituals through time and uncovering the fascinating evolution of skincare practices and attitudes to ageing. 

Ancient Wisdom: Nurturing Beauty with Nature

In ancient civilisations like Egypt, the quest for eternal youth intertwined with religion, rituals, and an appreciation of nature. Pharaohs and nobility indulged in luxurious skincare preparations, often comprising natural ingredients like crushed gemstones, honey, milk, and botanical extracts. These ancient beauty practices enhanced physical appearance and held spiritual significance, symbolising rebirth and eternal life.



Around 69 B.C., Cleopatra's skincare routine required a stable consisting of at least 700 donkeys to fill her bath with milk and ensure her skin remained soft and young! Since you are unlikely to have 700 female donkeys around as Cleopatra did, you can recreate this ancient beauty ritual by adding skin softening coconut milk or soothing colloidal oats to your bath. You could increase your Cleoopatra-like bath quality by adding some fragrant essential oils or a pipette full of Restore Radiance Booster to lift your mood with bergamot, mandarin and sandalwood.

Across the Mediterranean, the Greeks and Romans embraced olive oil and honey for their skincare benefits, recognising the importance of botanicals in preserving youthful vitality.  The Romans were known to apply perfumed oil to the skin and scrape it off - an early form of oil cleansing.

The Himba women of Northern Namibia have for centuries considered their hair and skin as a mark of power and beauty.  They rub the skin with Otjize, a mixture of typically tree resin, animal fat, soil and a red pigmented stone.  This paste cleanses and protects the skin acting as a form of sunscreen.  The glowing red look of the skin symbolises blood as the essence of life and earth.

According to Cambridge scholar Alexandra Zhirnovaa, it was in the third-century that the Christian idea that “real” beauty is within was first used by influential male writers to try to control how women dressed.  “Many of the ideas that govern how we perceive women’s appearance today have their roots in the middle ages,” when many early Christian male writers seemed to fear that "women who have this power over men can control them and disrupt the male order of the world.”

Middle Ages to Renaissance

As we journey through the medieval and Renaissance periods, societal norms and religious influences continued to shape beauty ideals. Pale skin symbolised nobility, leading to the use of lead-based cosmetics for a porcelain complexion, albeit at significant health risk.  

Yet, amidst these trends, herbal remedies and botanical infusions flourished. Rosewater and lavender oil were prized for their rejuvenating properties. Skincare rituals incorporated natural remedies like citrus fruits and herbal tonics, reflecting a holistic approach to beauty that celebrated inner and outer well-being, something which we can all probably identify with now. 

According to the Historic Royal Palaces, Elizabeth, the First, who reigned in England in 1558-1603 underwent a lengthy and detailed beauty routine every day of her forty-four-year reign. To keep the queen's forehead wrinkle-free, her ladies pasted it with curd skimmed from posset – made from milk mixed with sugar, wine or ale. She also used a cleansing lotion made from two newly laid eggs and their shells, burnt alum, powdered sugar, borax and poppy seeds ground with water. It was believed to whiten, smooth and soften the skin.  

This rare image of Elizabeth is a painted miniature and shows her in her later life.


Victorian Era: The Rise of Cosmetics and Self Expression

The Victorian era witnessed a surge in cosmetics and beauty treatments from cold creams to tonics and serums.  Skincare rituals became increasingly elaborate, yet beneath the surface, there was always a fascination with youthfulness.

As we entered the early 20th century, advancements in science and technology revolutionised the skincare industry. From Madame C.J. Walker's invention of cold cream to the mass production of beauty products, skincare became more accessible. 


Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove in 1867, was the first self-made female millionaire. She developed innovative products to care for black skin and afro hair. Her story is a source of inspiration. She broke through the beauty industry's glass ceiling to empower black women  and celebrate their beauty.

Modern Era to Present Day

Scientific innovation has revolutionised skincare in the modern era, offering anti-ageing treatments and products tailored to individual needs. From retinoids to hyaluronic acid, the arsenal of anti-ageing ingredients continues to expand, promising unprecedented results in the battle against wrinkles and fine lines. It sometimes feels like we are going to war as we age!   

Embracing Change: Nourish Your Skin, Nurture Yourself

Thankfully, amidst the sea of products, treatments and injectables, there is a growing recognition of the beauty of ageing gracefully - embracing change as a testament to a life well-lived and nurturing ourselves through the process.  

At Pamoja, I celebrate your age.  As, creating high-performance natural skincare to nourish and support a healthy skin barrier. My simple-to-use skincare ritual encourages self-care to nurture the body, mind, and soul.  



I hope you've enjoyed this blog, which shows the diverse tapestry of beauty traditions and attitudes toward ageing. From ancient civilisations' mystical approaches to the scientific advancements of the modern era, our quest for timeless beauty continues to evolve.

As we embrace our beauty journey, let us draw inspiration from the wisdom of the past while ageing gracefully and embracing the beauty within each of us.

Sarah x 

Are you new to Pamoja?

Hi, I'm Sarah, a 50 year old perimenopausal woman, trained skincare formulator and founder of Pamoja.

Sarah Taylor Pamoja Skincare

Pamoja is a high-performing natural skincare brand designed to help you nourish your skin and nurture yourself, because I believe you deserve more kindness in your daily routine.

Now with over 460+ five-star reviews. As seen in Vogue, Stylist, Woman's Health, Health and Wellbeing Magazine, Natural Health Magazine, Top Sante and more.

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Copyright: Sarah Taylor 19th March 2024.

Other reading:

Ectoin: A Game Changer Ingredient for Radiant Skin

Skin SOS: Caring for Dry Skin in Perimenopause 

10 Ways to Use a Booster Oil


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