A Persian girl brought up in a traditional home was not allowed to wear most cosmetics but before her wedding, she underwent a long process of preparation. It was seven different preparations were required for the complete bridal make-up that called Bazak, also known as Haft-Qalam ( seven pens ), Haft-Dar-Haft (seven in seven )or Har-Haft (all seven ).
The seven items were Henna (hana), Sefidab ( white powder), Sorkhab ( powdered rouge), Sormeh ( kohl), Wasmeh ( woad or indigo), Galia ( perfume) and Zarak (gold spangles). Although some of these preparations are still used.
In past, once a girl had received a proposal of marriage, she was allowed to wash her hands and face with a special soap made of almond oil and scented with rose water, then one person that now we called hair stylist came to her home and prepared her for wedding party.
First, she removed her facial hair that called Band-Andakhtan from forehead, around eyes, cheeks and upper lip but except her eyebrows, because Abro-Peyvaste (having joined eyebrows) was so fashionable! After removing facial hair, beaten egg white, rose water and lemon juice added and rubbed on the face to make the skin shiny and prevented pimples from developing.
Another important thing was about the long and luxuriant hair for women and cutting it was viewed as improper, then they called her Gis-Borideh ( cut hair ), because of that they always used herbal gel that named Katira ( special tree gum) and herbal oils.
Iranians used cosmetics extensively such as Sormeh (kohl) was for darkening eyelashes and eyelids, Chalk was used for whitening the complexion because pale skin was a sign of wealthy lifestyle and rouge was worn on the cheek.
At the end the differences between nowadays cosmetics and before, is about the reasons, quality of cosmetics, culture and customs.
Take an example, some nations in Iran believe that Sormeh can throw the evil away! Or another nation think that Sormeh can attracts men more!
Nowadays getting tanned is so fashionable among youth but in past they want to show their white skin due to they stay at home and they are wealthy because they don’t need go out for work, for these kinds of people they called Aftab Mahtab Nadide ( they don’t see sun and moon).
Now in Iran women and girls tend to wear make-up a lot, the difference is that, they don’t use herbal products like their ancestors.