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1.0 Introduction

Starting from an early age, women are introduced to images of beauty and
society’s ambiguous consensus on perfection. Face make-up is as old as man. It
varies from culture to culture. Make-up is an integral part of most women’s life
in our societies. The motivation to decorate the body and face has its beginnings
in pre-historic days, when from the start, men used it to camouflage their form
from predatory animals and to instill fear into threatening opponents (Corson
1972). As time went on, body painting and tattooing became linked to identity,
being used to mark clan membership, as an artifact in ritual celebration and
worship, and as a medium to stick and attract the opposite sex. According to Noth,
(1990), the role of make-up as a symbolic medium has ancient origins and whilst
the meaning and symbols painted on faces may have changed over the centuries,
the myth and mystery associated with facial adornment has not changed. Makeup is not a recent invention. Women and men wore make-up in ancient cultures,
such as Egypt. While the use of cosmetics has changed over the years, today in
societies all over the world, women are the main buyers and users of makeup.
Cosmetics are often applied to look attractive. Therefore, the use of cosmetics is
a way to support the women’s appearance. The modern world “bombards” us
with the image of a “perfect woman”, which makes more and many women
compare themselves with the media image and experience the feeling of growing
dissatisfaction with their own appearance. Numerous attempts are made to
modify it in order to achieve the desired image. With the help of facial makeup,
Research has demonstrated a positive effect of makeup on facial attractiveness
(Cash et al., 1989).

Silverio (2009), argues that in every society, there is a standard of appearance that
the population is expected to follow. In most cultures these standard norms of
behavior are considered to be cultural norms (Moriarty, 2008). In Cameroon, like
in most parts societies, it is agreed that bathing on a daily basis, brushing one’s
teeth, and other general bathroom habits have become part of the cultural norm.
It has often been an assumption in today’s culture that, if one does not take the
time to groom themselves properly, there is something wrong with them. Many
at times those who do not keep up with these grooming habits are assumed to
have a mental disease or defect, be poorly cared for, or have a low opinion of
No human society known to Anthropologists or social historians has not
decorated the body in some way or the other. These decorations have included
wide variations in body modifications both temporary and permanently, including
sculpting or shaping, tattooing, piercing, scarification, coloring. The display of
cosmetics is a cultural universal Kennett, (1995).
Women are so concerned with their physical appearance, and one way to enhance
their physical appearance is through makeup. Makeup is a regular part of many
women’s daily grooming routines. Liubov, (2016), argues that their external
appearance plays a key role in everyday life’s social interactions. Hence, taking
care of their appearance allows women to adjust and protect themselves, as well
as communicate emotional disposition (sympathy or aversion) and social
information (values, status). Makeup as a culture has changed over time and
keeps changing, the uses, frequency and motives for its use is equally rapidly
changing. As the category of make-up is so diverse and continually expanding it
is not feasible to examine the total sector Therefore, because the face is such an
important vehicle in daily communication, this study will be limited to visible
face-make-up alone. The present study will examine the socio-cultural

dimensions of beauty make-up practices among women in Buea South West
region of Cameroon.

1.1 Background of the Study

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