With the debut of Dianne Dearmon’s novel, It’s Only Lipstick, Right? I thought an appropriate first post would be, well… something about lipstick! So, without further ado, here’s a short history.
Lipstick, or something akin to it, has been around a long time. Some women decorated their lips with crushed, semi-precious stones, but Cleopatra stained her kisser with color gleaned from crushed insects of the desired red hue.
Early Europeans, following the lead of their fashion-forward Queen Elizabeth I, used a simpler and let’s face it, less repulsive method of coloring their lips; beeswax and red dyes extracted from plants. But alas, the Victorian age rolled in and out went “unladylike” lip coloring, relegating the use of beauty-enhancing powders and pigments to women deemed immoral; actresses and prostitutes. Lip color wouldn’t be popular again until the late 1880s, when Guerlain, a world famous perfumer, manufactured the first lipstick. Wrapped in silk paper and made with castor oil, deer tallow and beeswax, Guerlain brought lip color back to fashion.
Most of the advances in lipstick came in the 20th Century. First, Maurice Levy invented the cylindrical tube. The stick was exposed when a small projection at the base was pushed upward by a fingernail.
Then in 1923, James B. Mason, Jr. developed the swivel tube. Hollywood and Fashion mags soon made lipstick the single most essential item a woman of beauty could possess. Recent innovations include longer-lasting colors, frosts, liners, glosses, plumpers and cruelty-free products.
As fashion repeats itself as it tends to do, trends from ancient times inspire today’s makeup artists. Jewels again adorn the lips of ultra-chic models as well as sequins, hand-made designs that literally use the lip as a pallet and employ an array of non-traditional colors that cover the entire spectrum.
Is it any wonder why most women consider lipstick one of the most important items in their cosmetics bags?
by Aimee Lindsay