Neanderthals Wore Makeup and Body Paint over 50,000 Years Ago

My mother loves sending me articles that are food for thought, so when she emailed me an article about recently discovered Neanderthal paint pots filled with pigment, I sat up and took note.

The discoveries comprised of black sticks of the pigment Manganese which were used as body paint by the Neanderthals. But the recent discovery showed they were more advanced then simply “body painting”: lumps of yellow pigment were discovered, and experts believe they could have been used as foundation. Scientists also found red powder mixed with flecks of brilliant black material. Nail polish? Blush?

Think about it: over 50,000 years ago!


The pigments were also coated on sea shells they wore.

Now, this really rocks my socks off, because makeup as we know it (foundations, paint sticks etc.) is supposed to be a fairly recent affair, certainly not as old as 50,000 years ago. We know that Egyptian royalty used cosmetics way back in 3500 BC (Nefertiti and the mask of King Tut), but that is only over 5000 years ago. The first modern day cosmetic company is L’Oreal, which was founded by Eugene Schueller in 1909 as the French Harmless Hair Colouring Company.

I was surprised to read that the use of cosmetics also appears in the Bible when Jezebel painted her eyelids (Kings 9:30). Who knew?

This makes the case for wearing makeup even more important – do you want to look worse than a caveman (or a cavewoman)?