Fifty Shades Of Red - The History Of Lipsticks
November 2, 2015 2:42pm CST
The lipstick as we know it has more than a century under its belt or rather cover. Yet, women’s desire to paint their lips is much older. Thanks to the diligent work of archaeologists we know that already 5000 years ago rich women in Mesopotamia crushed semi-precious red jewels and smeared the stuff on their lips. In Ancient Egypt a purplish red dye was extracted from focus-algin, iodine and some bromine mannite. Unfortunately this mixture wasn’t healthy and many women became ill. Cleopatra preferred natural ingredients: crushed carmine beetles for the deep red pigment, ants for the base, pearlescence, a substance found in fish scales, supplied a shimmering effect. (Eek!) Queen Elisabeth I made a powdered white face and bright red lips fashionable. To get that effect she used a blend of beeswax and red stains from plants. The Czarina Catherine the Great of Russia didn’t even trust natural stuff. She commanded her ladies-in-waiting to suck her lips to make them full and red! Why have women always painted their *lips* red and not, say, their noses or their ears to attract attention? I found the following explanation on the net: “During arousel in mammals the sex organs fill with blood and are flushed red.…This flush of red is simulated in the use of …lipstick. The reddening of the face symbolises youth, sexuality and fertility.” Well, well. In 1883 two Frenchmen had the brilliant idea to make the red paste easier to use. Castor oil was added as well as beeswax and deer tallow to make it firmer and then the substance was *rolled into small sticks* and wrapped in tissue paper, the first lip*sticks* were born! They were presented in Amsterdam at the World Fair in 1883, but women didn’t take to them at first. They were called ‘saucisses’ (little sausages) which sounded nice but they were very expensive, they melted in the handbags and looked too much like children’s crayons. The women’s attitude began to change when in the 1920s film stars painted themselves small, dark red mouths, the most famous one being the actress Sarah Bernhardt who used to call her lipstick ‘stylo d’amour’ (love pen) because of its phallic shape. In later years film stars painted themselves wide, bright red lips and the female fans followed again. The final breakthrough came when the retractable lipstick tube was invented which found its way from America to Europe after the Second World War. In the 1960s warm, radiant colours were fashionable, the 1970 saw candy and pastel tones, and in the 1980 neon pink and even black came on the market, nowadays anything goes. When film stars started using lipsticks, it was first the women of the lower strata of society that copied them. For a long time elegant ladies found it vulgar to have too much colour on their faces. In 1912, however, American suffragettes painted their lips bright red when marching in the streets claiming their voting rights, their red lips emphasised that they wouldn’t keep their mouths shut. According to a German author, lipsticks are ‘loud cosmetics’, they don’t work clandestinely like powder or concealer. Painted lips are like an exclamation mark on a woman’s face telling the world that here’s a woman who isn’t afraid of uttering her opinion. A woman can’t use lipstick hoping to become more self-confident, that doesn’t work. It’s self-confident women who use lipsticks. --- If you find this text on another site, it has been plagiarised.
17 people like this
5 Nov 15
So I do not have self confidence eh? lol. I am not fond of using lipstick, really. For one, I do not like their smell. When I smell them on my lips, I want o puke(sorry, just being honest). though there are times I want to use it, I choose a lipstick which smell I can stand without allowing myself to puke.
3 Nov 15
That was amazingly interesting. I never even wondered about the history of lipstick. I don't wear it either, but I did when I was younger. First of all even if I was a queen I can't imagine putting crushed bugs on my lips. And its interesting to know it was the movie star that made it so popular. I kept seeing Elenore Roosevelt when you were going through the history. She was a favorite of mine and I don't remember ever seeing a photo of her with lipstick on. (maybe most of the photos are black and white.