Kiss! The History Of Lipstick

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Lipstick is a cosmetic that applies color, tone, surface, and protection to the lips. Many colors and variations of lipstick exist. A few lipsticks double as lip balms to add both variety and hydration.

Lipstick has been around for over 5,000 years, and goes back to ancient Sumeria. 

What was once a luxury reserved for royalty is now accessible to all women. We’re going to discuss the history of lipstick to show how times have changed and how lipstick has made its mark on both gender roles in society and the beauty industry.


Earliest History of Lipstick

The earliest known use of lipstick dates back to ancient Egypt (and maybe even Sumeria), where the cosmetic was reportedly used by men and women. Ancient Greek women also applied lipstick to their lips and cheeks, as an early form of blush. 

Lipsticks were made from a variety of materials, including beeswax and henna, but they were often made from lead oxide or brick dust.

Sounds healthy!

Lipsticks were made from a variety of materials, including beeswax and henna, but they were often made from lead oxide or brick dust.

Some historians believe that Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra introduced her countrymen and women to the idea of lip coloring during her reign in 30 BC.

While lipsticks continue to be popular today, they weren’t always so widely adopted. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that they became widely available.

Queen Victoria was said to have been an early adopter of lipstick; she reportedly wore it during her coronation ceremony in 1838 as part of an effort to look youthful.


The First Lipstick

  • The ancient Egyptians used a form of lipstick to protect against the sun, wind, and sand.
  • When they weren’t using it to protect themselves from the elements, they were using it as a way to enhance their appearance.
  • Egyptian men used to wear lip color as well as women, who preferred red or brown shades (although there was no specific word for “lipstick” at the time).

Ancient Sumerians And Mesopotamians

  • Lipstick is a cosmetic product containing pigments, oils, waxes, and emollients that apply color, texture, and protection to the lips. The word “lipstick” was invented by the French chemist Nicholas Dubois in 1884 and made its English-language debut in the United States around 1914.
  • The Ancient Sumerians and Mesopotamians used lip color to make their lips look fuller and more attractive. This is thought to have been the first use of lipstick.
  • The Sumerians used a mixture of red ochre with beeswax as an early form of lipstick.

The Egyptians

The Ancient Egyptians used lipstick to protect their lips from the sun and wind. They created a mixture of red ochre and beeswax, which they applied using a small rod made from the leg bone of an ox or a sheep.

The Ancient Egyptians used lipstick to protect their lips from the sun and wind. They created a mixture of red ochre and beeswax, which they applied using a small rod made from the leg bone of an ox or a sheep.

They also appear to have experimented with different colors, as there are several representations in art depicting both dark-skinned men and women wearing reddish lipstick, as well as the eyelashes and mascara famously recognized as Egyptian eyes.

The Middle Ages

In the middle ages, lipstick served different purposes, including:

  • Lipstick was used as a medication.
  • Lipstick was used as a cosmetic (and also by men). The first documented use of lipstick dates back to 3,000 BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia, where lip color was used on both sexes (even though only men wore makeup). Queen Elizabeth I introduced lip rouge into England in the 1500s when she wore bright red lips with white face powder at all times; this became known as “the Elizabethan look.”

From the Renaissance To Industrial Revolution

Makeup was used to cover blemishes, enhance the beauty and create drama.

In the Renaissance period, women would use white lead powder to hide their skin imperfections. 

The white powder was applied with a sponge or brush and then dusted off with a fine cloth so that it would only be visible when the light hit it just right. This technique was known as “the art of using white lead” or “the art of painting with white lead”.

During this period, women also wore red lip color because they believed that red lips were associated with healthiness and youthfulness. They also thought that wearing red lipstick made them look more beautiful than if they didn’t wear any makeup at all!

Lipstick at this time may have been made from ambergris, which comes from the stomachs of sperm whales. That’s sperm whales, not whale sperm, as has been rumored online.

Ambergris is no longer used in cosmetics.

Hollywood and Beyond!

But how did lipstick get to this point? During the early 20th century, lipstick was worn by upper-class women who wanted to imitate their stage and screen idols like Marilyn Monroe. In the early days, these women were also known as “flappers” because they wore short skirts, danced all night, and drank alcohol—all things that had been frowned upon in previous generations.

In addition to making their lips look fuller (and thus more youthful), early actresses liked wearing lipstick because it made them feel more beautiful and confident. Women began experimenting with different colors and techniques for applying their makeup until they found one that worked best for them!

Since the dawn of the 20th century, lipstick has been a staple cosmetic, and certainly one of the most popular of all. It has never really gone out of fashion, though colors and gloss levels clearly change every few years.


Conclusion

The history of lipstick is as long and varied as the colors, designs, and people who wear it. The story is also ongoing, with a constant stream of new products and ideas being developed to this day.

It’s probably fair to say that lipstick will never go out of fashion, but we can’t predict what form it will take in the future.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).