The Ancient Greeks created the word ‘kosmētikós’ from the adjective ‘kosméō’ meaning “to order, to arrange, to adorn’. The French evolved this word into the term cosmétique in the the sixteenth century, which we recognize today in English as ‘cosmetics.’
Organizing the self, a ritual of self-arrangement and adornment—performed by millions of people every day—is as old as humanity. This ‘self-arrangement’ takes place most often in private moments; we can see ourselves most intimately in front of our mirror at home with a sole-gaze. But, making up can be seen just as easily on crowded train commutes during the morning rush to work, at restaurants after dinner service has ended as a powder compact is drawn elegantly from a purse, or in many an iconic on-screen makeover scene. Cosmetics allow us to paint a portrait for each moment of our day. Quite simply, makeup is fundamental to life.
Deeply understanding this history (and the materials, processes, products, people, and muses of cosmetics) has significant cultural importance. In being part of the beauty industry for nearly a decade, I know first-hand how many fascinating stories abound in the cosmetics world, but have yet been told.
What is our focus now? The Makeup Museum will continue to collect, repair, preserve, analyze, display, and share artifacts, stories and ephemera of all types from the world of makeup. The Makeup Museum’s mission is to educate, inspire and celebrate makeup, in all its forms. We can achieve our mission only with the support and contributions of the people who use and love makeup as much as we do. You are part of the Makeup Museum. Please join us on this journey.