History of Lipstick


When did we all start painting our lips? Much before the common era, Cleopatra was known to grind carmine beetles and ants to get a rouge color for her lips. Women in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization applied lipstick to their lips for face decoration. Ancient Egyptians extracted purplish-red dye from fucus-algin, 0.01% iodine, and some bromine mannite, which resulted in serious illness. Anthropologists suggest  the lips remind us of another pair of so called lips below the belt because they flush red and swell when they’re aroused which is why, if this theory is correct, red lipstick still remains the most popular color.

Lipstick Banned!

In Medieval Europe, lipstick was banned many times by the church and was thought to be used as an ‘incarnation of satan’, cosmetics being ‘reserved’ for prostitutes and whores. This is a funny concept or thought, “Sorry miss, this lipstick is reserved for that prostitute over there. No you cannot have it.”  Lipstick started to gain popularity in England the 16th century, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who made piercing red lips and bright white faces a fashion statement. By that time, lipstick was made from a blend of beeswax and red stains from plants. It was only to be banned again by queen Victoria calling it immoral. In 1770, the British Parliament passed a law condemning lipstick, stating that “women found guilty of seducing men into matrimony by a cosmetic means could be tried for witchcraft.”

In America in the 1930’s-40’s women were proud to “put their face on.” To support the troops and look a little more like their favorite movie stars. Since then, lipstick has proved to be a standby for many, many women. And men…

Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm  Leave a Comment