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What was Cleopatra’s beauty routine?

Cleopatra VII, the last active pharaoh of ancient Egypt, is still remembered today for her legendary beauty and seductive charm. She was a shrewd politician who used her striking looks to establish key alliances and gain power in a male-dominated world. So what were the secrets behind Cleopatra’s captivating beauty and elegance?

Cleopatra’s Baths

Bathing was an important part of Cleopatra’s daily beauty regimen. She took milk baths to soften and whiten her skin. The lactic acid in milk acts as a mild exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and give the skin a luminous glow. Milk also contains vitamins like vitamin B that promote cell turnover for smoother skin.

For fragrance, Cleopatra added scented oils to her bath like jasmine, rose, cinnamon, almond oils. Her favorite was likely frankincense oil. The ancient Egyptians believed frankincense oil had rejuvenating effects and anti-aging benefits.

After her milk baths, Cleopatra finished off by rinsing with water poured over her by her attendant. The rinsing helped close her pores and cleanse off any remaining residues from the milk and oils.

Cleopatra’s Cosmetics

Cleopatra was an early devotee of cosmetics and applied kohl eyeliner derived from galena and malachite minerals daily. The dark eyeliner framed Cleopatra’s eyes dramatically and was believed to ward off eye infections.

For blush and lip color, Cleopatra used a reddish pigment called carmine, made from crushed cochineal insects. It gave a flattering rosy flush when applied to the cheeks and lips.

Cleopatra finished her makeup with an ancient Egyptian perfume containing scented oils and resins. The perfume not only made her smell divine but served as an effective insect and snake repellent.

Cosmetics Table

Cosmetic Ingredients Purpose
Kohl eyeliner Galena, malachite minerals Defined eyes, warded off infections
Blush Carmine from cochineal insects Flattering rosy flush on cheeks
Lip color Carmine from cochineal insects Rose-colored lips
Perfume Scented oils, resins Pleasant fragrance, insect repellent

Cleopatra’s Hair

Cleopatra was known for her thick, luxurious hair. To maintain her shiny black locks, she used a hair mask made from castor oil. The oil nourished her hair and scalp and protected her tresses from the dry Egyptian climate. For styling, Cleopatra often wore her hair in braids adorned with gold ribbons and ornaments.

Cleopatra’s Diet

Diet also played an important role in Cleopatra’s beauty rituals. She maintained a primarily vegetarian diet of figs, grapes, dates, olives and almonds. Her non-dairy diet enriched her skin while flax seed oil and olive oil kept her hair and nails healthy.

Cleopatra drank flax seed oil daily which contains antioxidant-rich omega-3s that fight inflammation. This helped give her a glowing complexion. She also drank barley water which has anti-aging properties to keep the skin firm and youthful.

Cleopatra’s Skincare

Like milk baths, Cleopatra also used sour milk as a facial mask. She applied it as a face pack and let it dry before rinsing it off. The lactic acid gently exfoliated and nourished her skin, brightening her complexion.

Honey was another essential skincare ingredient for Cleopatra. Honey is a natural humectant that softens and hydrates the skin. Its antibacterial properties also help keep breakouts at bay. Cleopatra used honey masks several times a week for smooth, youthful skin.

Cleopatra’s Skincare Routine

Product Ingredients Method Purpose
Sour milk Sour milk Applied as face mask, rinsed when dry Gentle exfoliation, skin nourishment
Honey mask Honey Applied to face, rinsed after 15 mins Hydration, antibacterial
Milk baths Milk, scented oils Soaked body in bath Skin softening, moisturizing
Castor oil hair treatments Castor oil Applied to hair and scalp Shiny, nourished hair

Cleopatra’s Perfumes

Fragrance was an integral component of Cleopatra’s beauty regimen. She made her own unique perfumes by blending scented oils like myrrh, cinnamon, frankincense, jasmine and rose.

These natural oils served several purposes beyond just making her smell good. The ancients believed these plant extracts had medicinal benefits and anti-aging properties as well.

Benefits of Cleopatra’s Favorite Perfume Oils

Oil Beauty Benefits
Myrrh Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic
Frankincense Anti-aging, healing skin cells
Rose Soothes irritation, hydrates skin
Jasmine Antiseptic, emollient
Cinnamon Plumps lips, stimulates blood flow

Cleopatra’s Lifestyle Habits

In addition to her daily beauty rituals, Cleopatra’s overall lifestyle also contributed to her flawless looks.

She got ample sleep and took afternoon naps to rest her body and allow it to rejuvenate. Cleopatra also made sure to stay hydrated by drinking broths, fruit juices and water throughout the day.

Regular physical activity was part of her routine as well. Cleopatra took relaxing walks along the palace gardens and got cardiovascular exercise through dancing. This helped her maintain a toned, fit physique.

Lastly, Cleopatra reduced stress through activities like reading, listening to music and spending evenings on her houseboat on the Nile. Her low-stress lifestyle prevented premature aging and wrinkles.


In summary, Cleopatra’s legendary beauty was the result of diligent pampering, regular treatments and holistic lifestyle habits. She followed a multifaceted routine that addressed everything from skincare, haircare and cosmetics to diet, exercise, hydration and relaxation techniques. It was this strategic combination of beauty rituals and healthy habits that maintained Cleopatra’s allure as the most beautiful and captivating woman of her time.