the beauty secrets of the ancient greeks

We all want what we can’t have.

The Ancient Greeks were no different. Dark-haired and bronze-skinned, their ideal of beauty was the total opposite: long and curly golden locks, and pale porcelain skin.

So they faked it. Here’s how:


In Ancient Greece, pale skin was a sign of prestige and beauty. It meant women (and men) didn’t have to work for long hours in the fields to support themselves. They were wealthy – the proof was on their skin (literally).

To achieve the look, women painted their faces with white lead, a toxic substance that shortened their already short lives. If lead wasn’t available, they’d turn to chalk. It was only a last resort, as chalk wears off very easily.

This paint needed a smooth foundation. So, women slathered creams made with honey all over their faces to keep it moisturized. If they wanted a shinier, glowier look, they’d add a few drops of olive oil.

Related: 4 Skincare Uses For Olive Oil


Ancient Greek women loved makeup – just like us. But they were so expensive back then, only the rich could afford them.

Not that you could see it. The no-makeup makeup look was all the rage. Natural beauty (achieved with unnatural means) was the ideal.

Next, they brightened their lips and cheeks with red-coloured pastes. Lipsticks were made with red iron oxide and ochre clays, or olive oil with beeswax. Olive oil was an essential ingredient of eyeshadows as well. It was mixed with ground charcoal.

But, the weirdest trend of all was the unibrow. Yep, that’s right. The Ancient Greeks, both male and female, used a dark powder to connect their brows!


In Ancient Greece, only female slaves wore their hair short. Free women had long hair, but could only wear it loose until they remained single. The moment they tied the knot, they’d tie it up, usually in a bun. If it was straight, they’d curl it. Diadem, jeweled combs, hair pins, scarfs, and other accessories completed the look.

Just like dark skin, dark hair wasn’t appreciated And most women had dark hair. So, they would lighten that too. How? By applying vinegar throughout their locks, and then sitting for hours in the sun. To prevent a tan, they’d wear broad-brimmed hats with a hole in the middle.

To keep their hair soft, moisturized, and shiny, they once again turned to olive oil. Applied and left on the hair for hours, it acts like a conditioning treatment. I do this too sometimes, and the result is amazing.

What do you think of the beauty secrets of the Ancient Greeks? Share your thoughts in the comments below.