Many colors and types of lipstick exist. As with most other types of makeup, lipstick is typically, but not exclusively, worn by women. The use of lipstick dates back to medieval times. Some lipsticks are also lip balms, to add color and hydration.
Ancient Sumerian men and women were possibly the first to invent and wear lipstick, about 5,000 years ago. They crushed gemstones and used them to decorate their faces, mainly on the lips and around the eyes. Also Egyptians like Cleopatra crushed bugs to create a colour of red on their lips. Also around 3000 BC to 1500 BC, women in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization applied red tinted lipstick to their lips for face decoration. Ancient Egyptians wore lipstick to show social status rather than gender. They extracted the red dye from fucus-algin, 0.01% iodine, and some bromine mannite, but this dye resulted in serious illness. Lipsticks with shimmering effects were initially made using a pearlescent substance found in fish scales.
During the Islamic Golden Age the notable Andalusian cosmetologist Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis) invented solid lipsticks, which were perfumed sticks rolled and pressed in special molds, and he described them in his Al-Tasrif.
In Australia girls would paint their mouths red with ocher for puberty rituals.
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Lip colouring started to gain some popularity in 16th-century England. During the time of Queen Elizabeth I bright red lips and a stark white face became fashionable. At that time, lipstick was made from a blend of beeswax and red stains from plants. Only upper class women and male actors wore makeup.
Throughout most of the 19th century the obvious use of cosmetics was not considered acceptable in Britain for respectable women, and it was associated with marginalized groups such as actors and prostitutes. It was considered brazen and uncouth to wear makeup. In the 1850s, reports were being published warning women of the dangers of using lead and vermilion in cosmetics applied to the face. By the end of the 19th century, Guerlain, a French cosmetic company, began to manufacture lipstick. The first commercial lipstick had been invented in 1884, by perfumers in Paris, France. It was covered in silk paper and made from deer tallow, castor oil, and beeswax. Prior to this, lipstick had been created at home. Complete acceptance of the undisguised use of cosmetics in England appears to have arrived for the fashionable Londoner at least by 1921.
In the 19th century, lipstick was colored with carmine dye. Carmine dye was extracted from cochineal, scale insects native to Mexico and Central America which live on cactus plants. Cochineal insects produce carminic acid to deter predation by other insects. Carminic acid, which forms 17% to 24% of the weight of the dried insects, can be extracted from the insect's body and eggs. Mixed with aluminum or calcium salts it makes carmine dye (also known as cochineal).:36
This lipstick did not come in a tube; it was applied with a brush. Carmine dye was expensive and the look of carmine colored lipstick was considered unnatural and theatrical, so lipstick was frowned upon for everyday wear. Only actors and actresses could get away with wearing lipstick. In 1880, few stage actresses wore lipstick in public. The famous actress, Sarah Bernhardt, began wearing lipstick and rouge in public. Before the late 19th century, women only applied makeup at home. Bernhardt often applied carmine dye to her lips in public.:36
In the early 1890s, Carmine was mixed with an oil and wax base. The mixture gave a natural look and it was more acceptable among women. At that time, lipstick was not sold in screw up metal tube; it was sold in paper tubes, tinted papers, or in small pots. The Sears Roebuck catalog first offered rouge for lips and cheeks by the late 1890s.
By 1912 fashionable American women had come to consider lipstick acceptable, though an article in the New York Times advised on the need to apply it cautiously.
By 1915, lipstick was sold in cylinder metal containers, which had been invented by Maurice Levy. Women had to slide a tiny lever at the side of the tube with the edge of their fingernail to move the lipstick up to the top of the case, although lipsticks in push-up metal containers had been available in Europe since 1911. In 1923, the first swivel-up tube was patented by James Bruce Mason Jr. in Nashville, Tennessee. As women started to wear lipstick for photographs, photography made lipstick acceptable among women. Elizabeth Arden and Estee Lauder began selling lipstick in their salons.
During the Second World War, metal lipstick tubes were replaced by plastic and paper tubes. Lipstick was scarce during that time because some of the essential ingredients of lipstick, petroleum and castor oil, were unavailable.:50 World War II allowed women to work in engineering and scientific research, and in the late 1940s, Hazel Bishop, an organic chemist in New York and New Jersey, created the first long lasting lipstick, called No-Smear lipstick. With the help of Raymond Specter, an advertiser, Bishop's lipstick business thrived.
Another form of lip color, a wax-free, semi-permanent liquid formula, was invented in the 1990s by the Lip-Ink International company. Other companies have imitated the idea, putting out their own versions of long-lasting "lip stain" or "liquid lip colour."
Throughout the early 20th century, lipstick came in a limited number of shades.
Dark red was one of the most popular shade throughout the 19th and 20th century. Dark red lipstick was popular in the 1920s. Flappers wore lipstick to symbolize their independence. Lipstick was worn around the lips to form a "Cupid's bow," inspired by actress Clara Bow. At that time, it was acceptable to apply lipstick in public and during lunch, but never at dinner.
In the early 1930s, Elizabeth Arden began to introduce different lipstick colors. She inspired other companies to create a variety of lipstick shades. In the 1930s, lipstick was seen as symbol of adult sexuality. Teenage girls believed that lipstick was a symbol of womanhood. Adults saw it as an act of rebellion. Many Americans, especially immigrants, did not accept teenage girls wearing lipstick. A study in 1937 survey revealed that over 50% of teenage girls fought with their parents over lipstick.
In the mid-1940s, several teen books and magazines stressed that men prefer a natural look over a made-up look. Books and magazines also warned girls that wearing cosmetics could ruin their chances of popularity and a career. The implication of these articles was that lipstick and rouge were for teen girls who acted very provocatively with men. Despite the increased use of cosmetics, it was still associated with prostitution. Teen girls were discouraged from wearing cosmetics for fear that they would be mistaken for "loose" girls or prostitutes.
In 1950 chemist Hazel Bishop formed a company, Hazel Bishop Inc., to promote her invention of long-lasting, non-smearing 'kissproof' lipstick ("stays on you... not on him"), which quickly gained acceptance. At the end of the 1950s, a cosmetic company named Gala introduced pale shimmery lipstick. Later, Max Factor created a popular lipstick color called Strawberry Meringue. Lipstick manufacturers began creating lipsticks in lavender, pale pink, white, and peach. Since parents generally frowned on teen girls wearing red lipstick, some teen girls began wearing pink and peach lipsticks, which became a trend. White or nearly white lipstick was popular in the 1960s. Rock groups such as the Ronettes and the Shirelles popularized white lipstick. Girls would apply white lipstick over pink lipstick or place under-eye concealer on their lips. During that time, many lipsticks were either matte, sheer, or slightly shiny. In the 1960s, lipstick was associated with femininity. Women who did not wear lipstick were suspected of mental illness or lesbianism.
In the 1970s, a number of cosmetic companies introduced lipsticks in more unusual colors such as iridescent light blue (Kanebo), frosted lime green (Conga Lime by Revlon), and silver sparkled navy blue (Metallic Grandma by Biba). M•A•C cosmetics continues to release limited edition and highly collectible lipsticks in a wide range of colors and finishes, including unusual hues of violets, blues, and greens.
Black lipstick became popular in the late 1970s and into the 1990s. In the 1950s, black lipstick had been worn by actresses starring in horror films. It became popular again due in part to punk and goth subcultures.
In the mid-1980s, so-called mood lipstick were sold to adults by mainstream cosmetic companies. This type of lipstick changes colors after it is applied, based on changes in skin's pH that supposedly reflect the wearer's mood. Previously these had been available as little girls' play makeup. They had another resurgence in the very early 21st century, offered by inexpensive as well as more exclusive cosmetic lines, and color changing chemicals also appeared in lip gloss, such as Smashbox O-Gloss, and blush, such as Stila Custom Color Blush.
In the 1990s, lipstick colors became semi-matte. Shades of brown were very popular. These shades were inspired by several shows such as "Friends". In the late 1990s and into the 21st century, pearl shades became very popular. Lipsticks were no longer matte or semi-matte, they were shiny and contained several interference pearls.
In 2012, bright bold lip colors became trendy again with saturated colors such as hot pink, neon, and orange.
In 2014 and early 2015 nude lipsticks were coming up to be incredibly popular. These lipsticks follow the general trend where "less is more". Examples of non-entities promoting this trend are Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner.
A lipstick lesbian is a female who is typically attracted to other females who are butchy and masculine, but she still remains feminine and has a “girly” identity. The term lipstick lesbian became popular by writer Deborah Bergman, a reporter for The Los Angeles Times. While running the LA Times, she created Lesbian News. “The Lesbian News was in good part responsible for popularizing the ‘lipstick lesbian’ who had been born in L.A. and has more recently been made famous worldwide through the television series, The L Word” (Faderman 275).
Lipstick contains wax, oils, antioxidants and emollients. Wax provides the structure to the solid lipstick. Lipsticks may be made from several waxes such as beeswax, ozokerite and candelilla wax. Because of its high melting point, Carnauba wax is a key ingredient in terms of strengthening the lipstick. Various oils and fats are also used in lipsticks, such as olive oil, mineral oil, cocoa butter, lanolin, and petrolatum.
Lipsticks get their colors from a variety of pigments and lake dyes including, but not limited to bromo acid, D&C Red No. 21, Calcium Lake such as D&C Red 7 and D&C Red 34, and D&C Orange No. 17. Pink lipsticks are made by mixing colourless titanium dioxide and red shades. Both organic and inorganic pigments are employed.
Matte lipsticks contain more filling agents like silica but do not have many emollients. Creme lipsticks contain more waxes than oils. Sheer and long lasting lipsticks contain more oil, while long lasting lipsticks also contain silicone oil, which seals the colors to the wearer's lips. Glossy lipstick contain more oil to give a shiny finish to the lips.
Lipstick is made from grinding and heating ingredients. Then heated waxes are added to the mix for texture. Oils and lanolin are added for specific formula requirements. Afterwards, the hot liquid is poured onto a metal mold. The mixture is then chilled. Once they have hardened, they are heated in flame for half a second to create a shiny finish and to remove imperfections.
A study by US consumer group Campaign For Safe Cosmetics, in October 2007 found 60 percent of lipsticks tested contained trace amounts of lead, especially in red lipsticks. The levels of lead varied from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million. One third of the lipsticks containing lead exceeded the 0.1ppm limit set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for lead in candy.
Use in vernacular
- The phrase "lipstick on his collar" is a euphemism to describe a man who is cheating on his partner.
- A "lipstick lesbian" is a gay or bisexual woman who exhibits feminine gender attributes. The alliterative term is thought to have come into common usage during the 1980s in order to distinguish between lesbians who adhere to more conventional gender roles and those who do not. In some contexts, it has pejorative connotations.
- Lippy is a British colloquialism for lipstick, particularly in Northern England.
- The phrase "lipstick on a pig" is a euphemism for unsuccessfully attempting to make attractive something (or some idea) that is inherently unattractive.
- The song "You're the Top" from the 1934 Broadway musical Anything Goes by Cole Porter refers to Drumstick lipstick. A New York firm with a French-sounding name, Parfums Charbert (founded in 1933 by William Gaxton and Herbert Harris; closed its doors around 1963/1964), manufactured a Drumstick perfume/cosmetics line (which featured drum-shaped flacons as its trademark) that included Drumstick lipstick. Advertisements for these products appeared in the New York Times in 1934.
In forensic science
Traces of Lipsticks, cosmetics, nail polish, or other smears could be found left on drinking cups, glasses, cigarette butts, and tissue papers and may all be significant forensic evidence in the investigation of a crime, especially in cases such as a sexual assault or a homicide. This physical evidence may be found on clothing, parts of the body, a tissue, or a cigarette. By comparing the composition of a lipstick smear with that of a victim, forensic scientists can demonstrate indirect proof of contact or a relationship between victim and suspect. Also, it is sometimes possible to extract saliva DNA from the print which might link a suspect to a crime scene. Various methods of forensic lipstick analysis are used. Small amount of lipstick (approximately 10 μg) could lead to good comparisons in TLC.
- Lip augmentation
- Lip balm
- Lip gloss
- Lip plumper
- Lip stain
- Lip liner
- Lipstick effect, an observation that lipstick sales tend to rise during economic downturns
- Lipstick feminism
- Lipstick (Jedward song), a song sung by twin-band Jedward for Eurovision 2011 "Feel Your Heart Beat"
- Sarah Britten, lipstick artist
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- The Times, Monday, Dec 12, 1921; pg. 7; Issue 42901; col C, Shops At Their Best: "Vanity cases are in endless variety, large enough to hold mirror, powder-puff, lip-stick, and other necessaries of feminine social life."
- Riordan, Theresa (2004-05-10). Inventing Beauty: A History of the Innovations that Have Made Us Beautiful. New York, NY: Crown Publishing Group. pp. 36–60. ISBN 0-7679-1451-1.
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- New York Times, March 17, 1912, "The Art of Making Up":"There was a time when to confess to make up was to place one's self beyond the pale...We flaunt the vanity box these days as frankly as our ancestors did in the eighteenth century.... Touch the lips slightly with a lip-stick, but do not make your mouth look like raw beef."
- "Clara Bow Lips – 1920s Beauty". About.com. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "Cosmetic Explosion That Started With A Lipstick". My Art Deco Style. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
- Berg, Rona (2001-01-01). Beauty: The New Basics. New York, NY: Workman Publishing. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-7611-0186-4.
- "The Roaring 20s – Image Review". Illinois State University. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
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- New York Times, December 10, 1998, obituary: 'Hazel Bishop, 92, an innovator who made lipstick kissproof'
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- Macrae, Sarah. "2012 Critics' Choice Awards Beauty Trend: Bold Lipstick". POPSUGAR Beauty Australia.
- "Best Nude Lipstick". bestnudelipstick.com.
- Faderman, Lillian, Simmons, Stuart (2006). Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians. New York.
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- My Product Alert: Extensive Report on Lead in Lipsticks
- US FDA: Document on Lead in Candy
- FDA Lipstick and Lead: Questions and Answers
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- Forman-Brunell, Miriam. Girlhood in America: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2001. ISBN 1-57607-206-1.
- Mansour, David. From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Kansas City, Missouri:Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7407-5118-9
- Mitchell, Claudia, and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh. Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing, 2007. ISBN 0-313-33908-2
- Riordan, Theresa. Inventing Beauty: A History of the Innovations that Have Made Us Beautiful. New York, NY: Crown Publishing Group, 2004. ISBN 0-7679-1451-1.
- Sherrow, Victoria. For Appearance' Sake: The Historical Encyclopedia of Good Looks, Beauty, and Grooming. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-57356-204-1.
- Media related to Lipstick at Wikimedia Commons