Lipstick

bernhardt

Lipstick is a cosmetic product containing pigments, oils, waxes, and emollients that applies color, texture, and protection to the lips. Ancient Mesopotamian women were possibly the first to wear lipstick. They crushed semi precious jewels and used them to decorate their lips.

Ancient Egyptians extracted purplish-red dye from seaweed, iodine, and toxic bromine, which resulted in serious illness. Cleopatra had her lipstick made from crushed carmine beetles, which gave a deep red pigment, and ants for a base. Lipsticks with shimmering effects were initially made using a pearlescent substance found in fish scales.

During the Islamic Golden Age the notable Arab Andalusian cosmetologist Abulcasis invented solid lipsticks, which were perfumed sticks rolled and pressed in special molds. In Medieval Europe, lipstick was banned by the church and was thought to be used as an ‘incarnation of Satan,’ cosmetics being ‘reserved’ for prostitutes.

Lip coloring started to gain some popularity in 16th century England. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I bright red lips and a stark white face became fashionable. By that time, lipstick was made from a blend of beeswax and red stains from plants. Only married, upper class women and male actors wore makeup. In 1770 a British law was proposed to the Parliament that a marriage should be annulled if the woman wore cosmetics before her wedding day. 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 entertainers 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 vermillion in cosmetics applied to the face. By the end of the 19th century, Guerlain, a French cosmetic company, begin to manufacture lipstick. The first commercial lipstick had been invented in 1884, by perfumers in Paris. It was covered in silk paper and made from deer tallow, castor oil, and beeswax. Before then, 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, which was extracted from Cochineal 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).

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.

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. In 1923, the first swivel-up tube was patented. As women started to wear lipstick for photographs, photography made lipstick acceptable among women.

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. 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.

According to some anthropologists, the lips are similar in appearance to the labia because they flush red and swell when they are aroused, a possible conscious or subconscious reason why women in many cultures make their lips even redder with lipstick.

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. 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.

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.

By the 1950s, movie actresses Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor helped bring back dark red lips. However, since parents generally frowned on teen girls wearing red lipstick, some teen girls began wearing pink and peach lipsticks, which became a trend. Rock groups such as the Ronettes and the Shirelles popularized white lipstick in the 60s. Girls would apply white lipstick over pink lipstick or place under-eye concealer on their lips. 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, frosted lime green, and silver sparkled navy blue. Black lipstick also 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 be available as little girl’s play makeup. They had another resurgence in the very early 21st century.

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.

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 lipstick contain a lot of 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. Shimmery lipstick may contain mica, silica, fish scales, and synthetic pearl particles to give them a glittery or shimmering shine.

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