Giveaway: 100,000 Years of Beauty

It’s important for us beauty editors to do our homework.

But, of course, in this vocation, homework is quite enjoyable!


A virtual library of knowledge, 100,000 Years of Beauty was created by L’Oréal, and aims to explore the age old question, “What is beauty?”

This is seriously the most comprehensive, academic studies on beauty ever written — and entire course streams could easily be based on its contents. It has, suddenly, become my esteemed household library, and I find myself wanting to blow off deadlines to just…sit and read and absorb as much of it as possible.

Maybe I can study it! It’ll be used by the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in “Innovations in the Development of the Beauty Industry,” a course in the graduate degree program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management. The book will provide a platform for students to explore historical, sociological and socio-economic perspectives of beauty throughout the ages and across civilizations.

But seriously, you don’t need to be a student of beauty to appreciate this. It’s history, it’s culture, it’s EVERYTHING YOU EVER NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE WORLD.

“100,000 Years of Beauty” unites contributions from 300 writers of 35 different nationalities and 20 different disciplines including anthropology, archeology, ethnology, sociology, psychology and more. The end result is a holistic look at the role of appearance through the profound lens of social sciences.

“In a fast-changing world L’Oréal explores the fundamental question of the meaning of beauty,” comments Béatrice Daustresme, CEO, L’Oréal Corporate Foundation. “Contributing to and shedding light on knowledge of beauty and reflecting on the business of beauty – these are some of the motivations inspiring this work of social sciences research.”

Pyramid in shape, “100,000 Years of Beauty’s” innovative design is beautiful in both form and content. Published by Gallimard and under the editorial direction of Elisabeth Azoulay, the book features five volumes, spanning five major time-periods in chronological order:

· Volume 1: Prehistory – Features the origins of beauty in the earliest human societies

· Volume 2: Antiquity – Examines the great changes that transform, from a sociological and psychological point of view, the pursuit of beauty

· Volume 3: Classical Age – Explores the medieval and early modern periods as bringing about worldwide shifts in fashion and beauty

· Volume 4: Globalization – Journeys through the modern era, which are marked by the age of the individual and the desire to achieve social equalities such as fighting against racism, claiming equal rights for women, and sexual liberation

· Volume 5: The Future – Dawns the new digital age and alternative movements where beauty is a focus for cutting-edge medical and biotechnological research

One reader will win the entire 100,000 Years of Beauty book set! (This is a value of almost $300!) To have your chance to win, please share your biggest beauty history question – do you wonder about the origin of something? Or the future of it? Share! Deadline to enter is March 20.

Share This Post:
    • SANDY

      makeup/history question…hmm how about what were the first makeups used on men/women- did they stain-like fruits for what did hey use as natural scrubs

      how about what was used for shampoo beore shampoo

    • Susie Q

      Beauty question?

      When was nailpolish invented and why? I can understand using lipstick/blusher, but nailvarnish? It has no biological reason, or does it?


    • addrienne mertens

      i look at twiggy from way back and wonder why skinny no shape at all was considered beautiful? she used to eat cotton balls and tissues to feel full. geez why?

    • Jen

      I’d like to know how mascara is really made. I’ve heard it before that it is made from bat poop!

    • TodayHilary

      Who invented the tweezer and why ?!?!

    • Amber G

      Wow – this looks so interesting! I’m a voracious reader but this would definitely keep me busy. I have often wondered about the origins of beauty and how beauty is defined in different cultures. Who decides what is beautiful?

    • Jessica Eubanks

      Wow! Those books could seriously be used in a college course on beauty. Now that would be a fun class. I do often wonder about makeup, it really is a strange thing if you think about it. How and when did we decide that women are more beautiful with pink on their cheeks and lips, and dark shades on their eyes? So strange! I adore makeup though, and am thrilled that whoever came up with it did!

    • Soos

      How will globalization affect our present concepts of beauty?

    • Jenni K.

      So far as I understand it, most beauty processes exist to make people look more subconsciously beautiful, i.e. to look more fertile (younger), healthier (clearer skin), or aroused (blushed cheeks, full lips). That seems to make sense. Other beauty processes like foot-wrapping, force feeding or starvation I can see as being due to societal standards based around showing how little work women have to do/how rich one is. But what about the blackening of teeth in Vietnam or the elongating brass neck rings in Thailand? How did those come about? What led to these things being considered ‘beautiful’?

    • Mary@Everyday Baby Steps

      Was red the first color of lipstick? The most popular?

    • Tracey Byram

      I’ve often wondered about mascara. Who invented it, who was the first person to use it?

    • courtney

      i would like to know the ingredients in the makep we wear (foundation, blush mascara etc) it concerns me. I would love these books!

    • Judith (from Israel)

      What were Scottish women wearing when Scottish men were wearing kilts?

    • Camila F.

      I always wanted to know when and why woman started to wear lipstick! What was it made of in the beginning?

    • Nicole

      How did women stay appealing to other men when not everyone showered or bathed regularly? Is that why perfume was invented?

    • Mellissa C

      I always wondered who invented lip gloss.

    • Nikki

      I wonder when it became a Western beauty feature to have shaven legs, armpits, etc.
      nik_har at yahoo dot com
      (there is an underscore between “nik” & “har”)

    • Jennifer B.

      I wonder about at what point in history we have the first evidence of women being favored for that society’s concept of beauty.

    • Rachel

      My big beauty question is – why is makeup and vanity usually only reserved for women? I spend so much time putting on makeup and perfecting my hair… but my boyfriend is ready is five seconds flat!

    • Shirley Hodge

      The answer to why is makeup only reserved for women. At times in history men wore as much or more makeup as women but in this day and age while there is beauty products for men, colognes, hair dyes et al the manufacterers of cosmetics find it easier to peddle their crap to women who buy into the beauty thingy, no matter how superficial, espoused by the Vogue, Neiman Marcus, Estee Lauder consortium and others of that ilk. Gotta haves, bling, glam are all catch words and phrases created in the Madison Avenue offices of publicity guys designed to make you think that unless you buy and use the crap they are advertising then you cannot possibly be beautiful. Amazing thing is how many women fall for it.

    • deb

      I always wonder about the creators of products and how you even begin to make a product, such as, perms, who and how was the perm solution created.

    • evelyn

      enter me thanks

    • Jennifer

      Sometimes I wonder about the origin of cupcake liners….

    • Katy Morris

      I’ve wondered from time to time why makeup is only used on our faces? There are times I’ve wanted to cover up spots on my hands or arms…and I know I can do that…it’s just that most don’t. Did women used to do this in the past?

      This is an awesome giveaway by the way. Thanks!!!

    • Debbi

      I always tend to wonder when and why the idea of beauty in itself changed. Back in Renaissance days, it was not uncommon for people to not bathe but once in a year, and to cake on makeup on top of itself for weeks upon months to stay in fashion. At what point did people realize this was not beautiful and not healthy, and begin beauty regimens of bathing regularly, daily makeup removal, etc.?

    • Christine Felch

      What is the most bizarre beauty ritual?

    • Trisha

      I would like to know what the first eye shadows were made of. Have the ingredients changed a lot since then? How did they change the pigments? How were they applied?

    • Samantha Pruitt

      i was watching a movie and in it i saw this lady using a beet to blush her cheeks, what’s that about? is it (or was it) a common thing?

    • Apple

      Sometimes I wonder why people in the beauty industry dictates what beauty is when we know it is subjective, depending upon the race or culture.

    • scarlette

      Where did the mullet originate