Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mascara

Mascara \ma-SKAR-uh\ or \ma-SKAHR-uh\ , noun;
1. A substance used as a cosmetic to color the eyelashes and eyebrows
(source)
The word mascara dates to the 1890's from Spanish mascara ("stain, mask"), which derives from the same source as Italian maschera ("mask"). That source is Middle Latin masca ("mask, specter, nightmare"), but before that the origins are uncertain. It may come from Arabic maskhara ("buffoon") from sakhira ("to ridicule"). Alternatively, it may have come from a Germanic source similar to English mesh that was later influenced by Proven├žal, Catalan, and/or Old French words. Another possibility is Occitan mascara ("to blacken, darken") from mask- ("black") which is believed to come from a pre-Indo-European language.

Using mascara goes back much, much further than the 1890's. In ancient Egypt people used kohl to darken their lashes, eyes, and brows as far back as 4000 BCE. Mascara similar to what we use today was developed in the 1800's by a chemist named Eugene Rimmel (sound familiar, ladies?) using a new invention: petroleum jelly. While revolutionary, petroleum jelly mascara was extremely messy and has long since been replaced by oil- and wax-based products.

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