The History of Facial Masking

Face masks of all kinds are a popular staple in the modern skin care and self care routine. But what many do not know is that facial masking is one of the earliest known types of cosmetic product, dating the history of facial masking back centuries ago.


Facial masking starts it long history on the eastern hemisphere of the world. Egyptian Queen Cleopatra was known for using her beauty as a weapon in political and social gain, keeping her youthful appearance a top priority in her life. She would use a mud mask on her skin and another of eggs whites to maintain her complexion. Mud masking restores healthy skin cells and draws toxins out of the skin. Ubtan masks are used in India for religious purposes for the Haldi ceremony seen in Indian weddings. Ubtan masks have turmeric and coconut oil, with benefits of skin whitening, skin soothing, and antioxidant replenishment. Yang Gui Fei of the Chinese Tang Dynasty would use masks of pearl, white jade, ginseng, and lotus root to brighten her skin and remove spots and wrinkles. Africans used palm oil on their skin and in their masking techniques.

While the previous masks are all examples of wet masking, the concept of peel off masking originates from Paraffin Masks used in the Roman empire as holistic medicine. It was used to clean pores, reduce wrinkles, and moisturize skin. These masks call for wax on gauze to be put on your skin, that would then be pulled off.

Facial masking made its way into Europe during the 17th century. Coconuts and coconut oil becomes a common staple and was commonly used in skin care routines. As dangerous as it was popular, lead was a facial masking ingredient used in hopes of skin brightening benefits. Elizabeth the First would use face masks of egg whites and lemon juice. While Marie Antoinette would use milk in her facial masking. It was in the 19th century that face masks in Europe become commercial.

Face mask experimentation continues on into the 20th century. In the 1910's, rose water was used as in morning face massage routines while interesting ingredients like butter and beef were believed to help with bruising because the fat in them were thought to rejuvenate the skin. This carried into the 1930's when cosmetics entrepreneur Helena Rubinstein recommended meat masks to be used overnight for skin soothing benefits. Clay masks were the rage in the 1920's. Then colored face masks and peel off masks became the trend in the 1960's. The hippy influence of the 1970's pushed for more natural ingredients in skin care like honey, papaya, and avocado. Ingredients rich in lactic and glycolic acid become popular in the 1990's for its benefits for smoothing skin texture. Cooling gel masks were also popular at the time for relieving puffiness in the eye area.

Currently, the face mask business is booming and the popular form of face masking is in the form of sheet masks. A trend originated in Korea, the sheet masks industry is now estimated to be worth $8.8 billion by 2021. Face masking continues its journey through ingredient experimentation and have come a long way. Innovation is key and Pure Aura stands by this as we have become a part of this journey to find real solutions to skin care.