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Cleopatra's Timeless Skincare Routines

20th Mar 2018

The legendary Queen of Egypt was known to be “a woman of surpassing beauty who was brilliant to look upon,” as the Roman historian Cassius Dio put it. A combination of character and intellect, Cleopatra’s charm struck her subordinates, as well as the Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius, AKA Marc Antony.

Because of Cleopatra’s unparalleled beauty, many have researched into what her beauty routines were all about. Cleopatra was believed to use a number of what, was then, groundbreaking ingredients, to enhance her physical appearance:

Milk baths

Legend has it that Queen Cleopatra bathed in milk every day to improve her complexion. Style Craze shares the benefits of milk baths , stating that they give you smooth skin and provide relief from skin irritation. A milk bath is recommended for people with dry skin because lactic acid can serve as a moisturiser and exfoliating agent. It deeply cleanses and removes sebum from dry skin.

Milk is usually accompanied by honey because the latter also gives similar skin benefits. Honey, which was in fact found in Ancient Egyptian pots, has natural antioxidants that can help slow down the ageing process by controlling wrinkles and fine lines.

Sea salt

Cleopatra also maintained her radiant skin by reportedly using sea salt scrubs to exfoliate. Aside from removing dead skin cells, sea salt also encourages regeneration, a process which tightens the skin and gives it a youthful appearance. Regeneration can also reduce skin discolouration and improve uneven skin tones. How Cleopatra found out about the healing properties of sea salt remains a mystery.

Almond oil

According to some accounts, the queen of Egypt would trim her eyelashes and then rub them gently with almond oil. She definitely had the right idea, as almond oil provides many skin and health benefits, and is also great for hair health. Cure Joy suggests that almond oil has anti-inflammatory and nourishing effects that are good for the scalp and hair follicles.

Rose water

It is believed that Cleopatra’s maidens would boil rose petals in a pint of water for the queen to use as a toner. Rose water is a good choice for a toner because it removes excess oil from your face, thereby preventing acne breakouts. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe redness and irritation. That’s why rose water is suitable for people with sensitive skin.

Because of her reputation and outstanding physical beauty, Cleopatra is often referenced in beauty-related topics. Some beauty brands even have a Cleopatra-themed line.

She is also often the centre of various entertainment mediums, and the media's depictions of her always have her incomparable beauty at the forefront of their narratives. For instance, the 1963 film Cleopatra cast Elizabeth Taylor in the lead role, who was one of the most beautiful actresses in the world at the time. Because of this movie, the Cleopatra look, which is characterised by elaborately decorated eyes, raven black hair, extravagant hair ornaments, and flawless skin, has become an iconic beauty trend that’s present even today. Cleopatra's appearance is also highlighted in more recent creations using her as a central figure. Foxy Bingo's popular Cleopatra slot game makes use of intricate gold designs and Sphinx symbols, which both reference the Queen's glamorous attire and signature makeup. The title also gives a nod to how she dominated an entire nation with her allure. Through such portrayals as well as historical descriptions of her irresistible personality, Cleopatra's charm captivates people, even after two thousand years since her passing. In fact, this is probably one of the reasons why people continue to study and use her skincare routines.