ESSEX, Conn. — Until the Crusades, the use of cosmetics, as well as bathing, was frowned upon by the Roman Catholic Church in Northern Europe. It viewed personal grooming habits as a reminder of the corrupt and decadent Roman Empire that had occupied its lands for years, according to the E.E. Dickinson Witch Hazel Co.
Skin lotions and perfumes were among the exotic things brought back to Northern Europe by the knights who had gone off to fight in the Crusades.
During the years between when the Romans left and the Crusades began, the only lotions available were brewed by witches to be used as poisons or love potions.