The lipstick is a staple in nearly every womens makeup routine and is also probably the most popular item in a women’s handbag. Lipstick is so popular that it has a national day dedicated to it! National Lipstick day is celebrated annually on July 29th and although it may have been celebrated for years, in 2016 it was named by the modern day founder, Huda Kattan from Huda Beauty by an announcement from the National Day Calendar’s registrar. If you are a makeup enthusiast like me you will know who she is!
On this day you can celebrate by wearing your favourite colour whether it’s a sheer neutral shade or a voluptuous bold and share posts on your social media using the hashtag #NationalLipstickDay
This year I want to share with you guys a little history on the lipstick, more so the red colour and also my current favourite Reds lippies. If in doubt or even just casually I love wearing a bright bold Red. I would wear it on day out, to work or jazz it up for a night out. You can’t go wrong and I find it really compliments my skin tone and lip shape and gives me a boost of confidence.
The idea of painting the lips has been around for thousands of years for both men and women and would have started off by using colours from crushed insects and other natural pigments made into a paste and then applied to the lips. Many historians consider the Ancient Sumerians to be the inventors of lipstick dating back to 3500BC, but some like to pass the credit to Ancient Egyptians where lips where lined with a mix of red ochre, Carmine and wax/fat.
Fast forward a few thousand years to the Medieval period, the idea of colouring the lips was condemned in Europe for “Challenging God and his Workmanship” so due to this it was constantly in and out of favour by the people. However during 1200’s the ladies of the Italian Society would use lipstick to distinguish social class, with the upper class wearing bright pink whilst the lower class would wear earthy red tone, to indicate their lower social status.
In the 16th Century Queen Elizabeth 1 popularised the use of white face powder and red lips, made using a mixture of cochineal, gum arabic, egg whites and fig milk, although English Pastors at the time tried to label lip painting as “devil’s work”, it became one of the classic parts of Elizabethan fashion. It was a tool to bring out the chaste, delicate and graceful appearance of a women. As the years went by the fight to perceive lip painting as a sin continued, but the people including men of respectable background , carried on using various shades of red to show off their social standing.
Red lips was known to be a tool of seduction, so in 1770 the British government passed a law that formally made the wearing of lipstick punishable if a women was found guilty of seducing a man into marriage by cosmetic means. England as well as America protected the men from being “tricked” by allowing the marriage to be annulled if the wife was found guilty of using lipstick during their romance before marriage.
The use of lip stains fell out of popularity during the reins of Queen Victoria, however historians mark the 1860’s as the beginning of cosmetics worldwide. It was in 1870’s that Pierre François Pascal Guerlain, founder of the french cosmetics brand Guerlain invented its first commercial lipsick, which was a lipstick wrapped in paper. Pierre François Pascal was a perfumer, who has brought pack to Paris, some liquid lip paints from London and has the idea of making it into a stick, inspired by his cousin who was a candlestick maker. Before this lipstick, products were used from flask or jars and applied with the fingers. At the time lipstick was still something you would use in secrecy
By the 20th Century makeup has started to become socially acceptable. According to author Madeline Marsh, the most famous demonstration of red lipstick was when the suffragettes took the streets of New York, wearing bright red lipstick where it become a symbol of female rebellion.
It was then in 1915 that Maurice Levy created a metal tube with a lever that would raise the lip stick for applying. But it was then in 1923 that James Bruce Mason put together the design of the lipstick that we know today.
The ingredients of the original lipsticks had common ingredients such as crushed insects for colour, beeswax and olive oil, some formulas also still contained potentially toxic ingredients . This make the lipsticks turn rancid very quickly and was also harmful to the user. There was no law until 1938 for the safety of cosmetics.
The red lip has started to become very popular , with growing popularity in old motion silent pictures and consumers trying to replicate the exaggerated dark lips of their favourite actresses like Clara Bow’s cupid bow and Mae Murray’s pouty lips.
Lipstick was declared the most important cosmetic for a women, that was made evident by the growth in the market even during the Great Depression , where small purchases would lift the spirits of the people at such difficult times.
During the WW2 cosmetics campaigns encouraged women to upkeep their beauty routines as part of their civic duty to remain feminine. One advertisement for Tangee lipstick during the war boldly stated, "No lipstick…. will win the war. But it symbolises one of the reasons why we are fighting—the precious right of women to be feminine and lovely under any circumstances.”
As fashion and style evolved so did the range of lipsticks and by the 1960’s there was a decrease in the colour red, as a more neutrals lip and makeup routine was popular in the hippie culture and continued into the 1970’s. Feminist groups also started to condemn lipsticks for being a product that was used for the pleasure of men.
Over time the popularity of the goth culture brought in black lips, the disco era brought back the cherry red glossy looks and the punk rock culture brought back the culture of men also using lipstick.
You could also say that Madonna was the most popular icon of the 1980’s and is remembered not only for her cone shaped bra but also the bright red lips she brought back. However towards the end of the 80’s and early 90’s trends went strong towards nudes and brown tones.
The mindset towards lipstick shifted in the late 1990’s by the feminists groups to encourage women to enjoy their sexuality and femininity wether it be with a lipstick or in their own other ways.
Going into the Millennium, wearing lipstick isn’t just about going with the trends but also to match your mood and outfit and a wide range of colours are still very popular with us dipping into the past fashion and beauty trends. Products now contain less toxic ingredients and many brands now also include animal cruelty free, vegan and organic products. Lipstick also come in a variety of formulas and finishes in ranges of sticks, crayons, pencils and liquids. We as people have evolved as to what a lipstick means for us and the way we express it without having to worry about what gender we are, being prosecuted if your husband fell for a certain makeup look and most importantly being able to wear what ever you shade one openly!
My Current Faves
I love wearing a bold red lips and I think its my most go to colour. I remember when I bought my first red lipstick I felt so shy to wear it as it was such a bright shade, but over time it screams confidence and chic , so its my go to. I am currently into a more matte red as I like it bold and clean on the lips, so I have been moving back and forth with the Rimmel Liquid Lip colour in Fire Starter. If I want a more creamier glam finish I go to The Loreal Paris Colour Riche in Blake's Pure Red. I have a new favourite from Crayola Beauty Colour Crayon in Strawberry which is more vibrant and isn't to deep with the darker tones. As with any lipstick for optimal payoff ensure the lips are flake free, moisturised with a balm and then just apply and go!
What is your go to lipstick and colour? Dont forget to get those selfies up and use the hashtag #NationalLipstickDay to be part of the fun!