Sunday, 10 January 2010


I just read a really interesting article about scientists who have discovered that Neanderthals in Spain 50,000 years ago used body paint as cosmetics with shells found, which are thought to be make-up containers. This discovery goes a long way to prove they weren’t as dumb, as up for it football hooligans at a cup final. Remains of recipes found were made up of yellow pigments, which is thought to have been used as a foundation (nothing changed there then especially amongst some teenage girls) and red powder mixed with a reflective black mineral – sounds like a party to me? The archaeologists at Bristol University believe this is a conclusive sign they used cosmetics, which proves they could think in a sophisticated symbolic and ritualised way.

I love the fact that body paint and cosmetics is the proof that our ancestors were more developed than we thought. There has never been a time in history or any culture that hasn’t used cosmetics to celebrate life or death such as Native Americans painting their bodies and their horses before going to war. The ritual of painting your body before going into battle or for decoration meets a fundamental human need of ceremony. Today we have lost a lot of ritualism as religion has declined. In our busy modern lives for most of us having a jaffa cake and cup of tea ready at 7.30pm sharp when Corrie starts is often the closest we come to high ceremony. Last night I saw the classic 80s film ‘Predator’ with Arnie, which is one of my favourite films. I love the fact the hunter becomes the hunted and find it a really powerful metaphor for not hiding and running away from anything, even if all your friends are dead in a South American jungle and you need to open a can of intergalactic alien whoop ass. My favourite scene is when Arnie figures out the man hunting alien from space can’t see him if he smothers his body in body temperature cooling mud. Just before he sets a trap and is about to confront his worst nightmare in the alien, Arnie silently smears mud all over his body. I love the ritualism, the attitude and the heightened emotions involved with simple body paint here being used as a weapon.

This time of year we need weapons of our own as we are all fighting fatigue, the snow and toxins. I love the ceremony of bathing and using body masks such as Rituals Himalaya Clay, pure detox body clay with its de-stressing Holy Basil and circulation boosting and reviving black pepper. The clay doesn’t smell weird but goes on smoothly when massaged onto dry skin. The minerals in the mud and ingredients help to draw out toxins from the body and you can rinse it off after 5 mins in the shower. The Body Shop’s Simply Purify Clarifying Clay Mask is also really creamy and even heats up as you slather it on, which helps to open your pores and get rid of toxins. The dead sea mud in this body mask is laced with stimulating and purifying rosemary, pine and lemon to help your skin look radiant and refreshed. So the next time you smear on any type of mask or make up get primal and know you are doing something our ancestors from all over the world have been doing for thousands of years.

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