Both men and women used beauty products in ancient Rome. People used these products to make themselves seem healthier and more beautiful, but also to show that they were rich, or that they were from a certain province, or that they did a certain kind of work.
Rich women had whiter skin than poor women, because they stayed inside instead of working in the fields as farmers. So women used whitening creams to make themselves look paler, and therefore richer. One Roman whitening cream from London in the 100s AD was made of cow or sheep fat, starch, and tin oxide. Other whitening creams used lead, even though lead was poisonous.
Greek and Roman Fashions, by Tom Tierney (2001). Coloring book for kids.
Clothes and Crafts in Roman Times, by Philip Steele (2000). Easy reading.
Costumes of the Greeks and Romans, by Thomas Hope (19th century, reprinted 1986). More advanced illustrations, for teachers and professional costumers.
Etruscan Dress, by Larissa Bonfante
The World of Roman Costume, edited by J.L. Sebesta and L. Bonfante (1994). A more culturally oriented study of not only what the Romans wore, but why they wore it. By specialists, but accessible to adults.
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