A Modern Take On Cleopatra's Beauty Routine

Posted by in Makeup, Skin Care, bod

Cleopatra. She of the impeccable nose, a fratricidal beauty and one of Shakespeare’s most famous lovers all encompassed in one legendary carpet-wrapped package. Following starring take by Elizabeth Taylor in 1963, at the time the most expensive film ever made, a mythology of excess and allure are roundly set. So, how best to adapt the legendary Queen’s beauty routine 2000 years later?

1) Golden Face Mask

By all accounts, Cleopatra slept with a gold mask on her face, in order to preserve a youthful and bright general countenance. Gold is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties as well as increasing skin elasticity and stimulating the skin cells to allow for rejuvenation, so though the science was perhaps not exact 2000 years ago, Cleopatra certainly knew a thing or two.

Modern take: 24k Gold Face Mask by Peter Thomas Roth

2) Donkey milk

Being the ridiculously wealthy woman that she was, Cleopatra apparently had a farm of 700 donkeys working full time to produce the milk she needed to take her legendary donkey milk baths. She would mix in dead sea salt, honey and almond oil with the milk, these other ingredients exfoliating and keeping her skin moist, glowing, soft and supple. Donkey milk apparently also has powerful anti ageing and healing properties.

Modern take: J’adore Body Lotion By Dior, Body Milk For Women

So it’s not Donkey milk, apologies, but it if Cleopatra were alive today, you just know she’d want a bath tap running a very different kind of milk: body milk. The bottle, which resembles a classical amphora with golden filaments, also feels both very modern and recalls antiquity and certainly wouldn’t look out of place in 10BC.

3) Dead sea salt

Alhough it was evidently the rule rather than the exception in classical antiquity, Cleopatra was a fan of natural ingredients, transported from all over the classical world. These natural ingredients would then have been made into homemade pommades and recipes. One of her favourite ingredients was sea salt from the Dead Sea, which she would have mixed into other conction but also have used as a body scrub. Using sea salt from the Dead sea is also something almost as popular today as it was in the past. The benefits are numerous, treating various skin conditions and illness. Dead sea salt is also infused with magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium and zinc.

Modern take: Pure Salts Soothing Dead Sea Magik Salt by Westlab

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4) Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar, both cooked into beauty products and used raw, is fortunately something still easily accessible today. Some people like to simply use it on their hair. Egyptian queen Cleopatra, on the other hand, would rinse her face with both Essential Oils and Lime or Apple cider vinegar. Limes and apple cider vinegar has antioxidant properties that rejuvenate the skin and promote healthier, younger looking skin. Besides, essential oils keep your skin moist, hydrated and soft always.

Modern take: Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo And Conditioner Set by Novex

As previously stated, nowadays it's more common to use apple cider vinegar on hair rather than skin, so this apple cider vinegar shampoo and conditioner set perfectly balances old desires with new techniques.

5) Rose Water

When not using apple cider vinegar or sea salt, Cleopatra was also a fan of using a rose water spray on her face, which she believed was a way of reducing the presence of any blemishes or spots. This is a good use of rose water, which also has beneficial properties that make skin soft, gentle and smooth. A rose mist is both a good idea for daily use, but can be carried around for use whenever skin is oily, tired, dried or sweating.

Modern take: Hydrating Rose Water Gel by BBB London

6) Henna

Henna, used traditionally across North Africa and South Asia, was also a product that Cleopatra used with fondness. However, unlike the more current uses of henna, usually on hair or to decorate hands, Cleopatra would have used henna as a natural nail polish, giving her nails a natural reddish-brown colour. Henna has got many health benefits improving the strength of nails and ehancing nail cuticles. Used on other parts of the body, henna has also been suggested to relieve headaches, detoxify the body, protect the skin, and boost hair health.

Modern take: Organic Herbal Hair Colour Henna Red by It’s Pure

7) White clay face mask

Cleopatra had a full beauty routine and would also use facial masks, most often making them with white clay. This kind of white clay was usually a very good thing for dry or sensitive skin, getting deeply absorbed and exfoliating skin from deep below the surface, making sure the skin shines inwards out. It's also the sort of detoxifying ingredient that treats acne and purifies pores.

Modern take: Purifying Mineral Mask With White Clay by Lancôme