“If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.” – Coco Chanel
Lipstick is your best friend whenever you’re going out. It’s small, easily fits into a purse and is often a lifesaver that makes us look presentable. It has a very long story dating back to the ancient times. So let’s dive into the history of lipstick!
Starting from ancient times lipstick-esque products came from very varying ingredients. In Mesopotamia women ground jewels that they applied to their lips. In ancient Egypt they used dye from seaweed, iodine and bromine mannite. Turned out the last ingredient was poisonous, so they discovered they can get red color from carmine beetles and ants, worn famously by Cleopatra. Greece condemned lipstick to be worn only by prostitutes, a practice that was also continued in the middle ages (women who had colored lips were considered witches).
For a short time lipstick came back to its good fame thanks to Queen Elizabeth I, who was known for a pale face and red lips. Commercially our dear friend was first sold in 1884 in Paris, though not yet in the shape as we know it today – it was placed in silk paper and made of beeswax, castor oil and deer tallow (eek!). Finally at the end of 19th century lipsticks were regularly sold and packaged in metal tubes. In 1923 James Bruce Mason Jr. patented the swivel up mechanism we know today. Thanks to the gorgeous old Hollywood stars the lipstick hype has begun.
Few more interesting facts and trivia in the history of lipstick:
- In 1920s Paul Baudercroux invented a lipstick called Rouge Baiser that was long-lasting, but it was actually so hard to take off the lips it was soon taken off the shelves
- Lip Gloss was invented in 1930 by MaxFactor
- In 1950 Hazel Bishop created a proper long lasting lipstick which became so popular she made millions of dollars on it
- In 1952 Queen Elizabeth II had her own custom lipstick shade made by Clarins for her coronation