Roman Skin Care History

A History of Men’s Grooming: Ancient Roman Skin Care & Beard Oil

We’ve spent a lot of time on the history of beards, which to be fair, is fascinating even to the average guy, little attention is paid to skin care history. Admittedly, it doesn’t sound all that exciting. But contrary to what you’re probably thinking, the story behind today’s skin care and beard oil products is an intriguing one. Take, for example, the discoveries made about ancient Roman skin care.

Ancient Roman Skin Care – Was This The World’s First Moisturizer for Men?

In fact, ancient Roman skin care was more advanced than we’d previously thought. When you think about 2nd century AD, you’d be forgiven for thinking people washed their faces with lake water. However, it seems the world’s first moisturizer was created long before it became a household item.

Back in 2003, a group of London archaeologists found an unopened tin of skin care cream in a Roman temple drain. The tin was packed with a white ointment that wasn’t far off from the creamy moisturizers for men of today. Deeper analysis revealed the cream was made from animal fat, starch, and a tin dioxide mineral called cassiterite. The archaeologists even used the same formula to create a new cream which was a bit greasy but extremely effective as a moisturizer.

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Beard Oil’s Early Start

Beard oil had a similar early start. Beard oil, in various formulations, saw wide usage throughout several cultures and eras. The Greeks were forced to grow their beards in tribute to the Sun God, Apollo. To aid in healthy growth and development, these men relied on the fatty acids of castor oil. It’s an ingredient still used in many of today’s beard oil products. Though Greece is often associated with using olive oil for skin care, it’s castor oil that was responsible for all those well-groomed ancient Greek beards.

During the Roman Empire, the young boys pulled a page from Greece’s book. They rubbed olive oil into their facial hair when it first started to grow. Their first shave was a religious ritual, so it was crucial to show up with a nicely maintained beard.

In the beginning, beard oil was a basic necessity for a well-groomed, healthy beard. Now, with modern advancements and developments, it has ushered in a men’s grooming revolution. Beard oil is no longer a simple or ritualistic product as it once was in ancient Roman skin care. It’s a consumer-friendly product that’s just as desirable as it is useful. That’s quite a journey.

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