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Cosmetics are a type of health and beauty items used to care for the face and body, whether used to accentuate or modify the look of a human. Although cosmetics are usually considered to be just makeup used to improve the look of a person, cosmetics may also refer to a variety of items used to care for the face and body, as well as those used to add scent to it. Under these various types, a wide range of cosmetics are available, each designed for different purposes and featuring different characteristics.

Cosmetics are made up of a variety of chemical compounds obtained from either natural or synthetically manufactured materials. Skin care cosmetics can be used to cleanse, exfoliate and preserve the skin and replenish it with the use of cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers and balms; body cleaning cosmetics can be used for more general personal care, such as shampooing and body washing;

For thousands of years, cosmetics have been in use. Historically, the lack of control of the manufacturing and usage of cosmetics, as well as the lack of scientific understanding of the effects of different substances on the human body for most of this time, has contributed to a variety of harmful adverse effects on those using cosmetics, including deformities, blindness and, in some cases, death. The use of ceruse (white lead) in a variety of various civilizations, such as during the Renaissance in the West, and blindness caused by the mascara Lash Lure throughout the early 20th century, are examples of the widespread use of toxic cosmetics.

Makeup was needless in Greek and Roman theater. Actors wore various masks, helping them to represent a different ethnicity, age, or totally different likeness. In order to paint his mask, Thespis, considered the first actor, used white lead and wine. In medieval Europe, by coloring their masks a new colour, actors altered their looks. Performers who represented God painted white or gold on their faces; their faces were painted red by actors portraying angels. Throughout the Renaissance, when dressing up their faces, actors became imaginative and resourceful. Lamb wool was used for fake beards, and flour was used as face polish.

To a high degree, lighting regulates makeup. Because of inappropriate stage lighting, makeup will lose its effectiveness. In comparison, skillful lighting will profoundly help the craft of makeup. For the best possible result, good contact between the lighting director and the makeup artist is important. When designing a performer's makeup, recognizing the influence of light on makeup and different shades and pigments is critical. Among the fundamental laws of light are the following: nothing has color unless light is emitted from it; when all of the light is absorbed, an object appears black; when all of the light is reflected, an object appears white.