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Who Invented Lipstick?


Have you ever wondered who invented lipstick and its origins? Its history goes back as far as 5000 years ago when women crushed precious stones to smear on their lips for color. The process of manufacturing lipstick has evolved quite a bit since putting crushed stones on sensitive lips.

The Ancient World

Ancient Egyptian women squeezed out color from iodine and bromine for lip color which eventually lead to diseases. This is how the phrase, “kiss of death” came to be known. It is said that Cleopatra’s lipstick was made up of carmine beetles and ant’s eggs to make a strong red color for her lips. For extra shimmer on lips fish scales were added into the mixture. Would you have put these kinds of things on your lips?

16th Century

During the 16th century, lipstick became very popular in England when Queen Elizabeth introduced the pale face teamed with bright red lipstick look. This didn’t last long though, in 1653 England Pastor Thomas Hall led a movement calling the painting of faces the “Devil’s Work”.

19th Century

In the 19th century, women liked to be seen as fragile, and they loved to put an emphasis on their femininity. Pale skin was a sign that a woman could afford to not work outdoors. Tanned skin, which is very popular today, was seen as vulgar and meant that a woman worked outdoors in the hot sun and harsh weather. In those days, a woman tried to look as pale as possible and not have any color on her face. In the 1890s there was a gradual acceptance of a woman wearing make up, however, it was still considered ‘not nice’ to admit that a woman wore make up on her face.


In the 1930s, Hazel Bishop invented the first kiss proof lipstick. At this time, lipstick had evolved into containing waxes, pigments and various oils.


Today, lipstick consists of ingredients such as cocoa butter, lanolin, Vitamin E moisturizers, collagen and sunscreen.


Resources, Pauline Weston Thomas for. “Make-up History Cosmetics before 1950.” Fashion History Costume Trends and Eras, Trends Victorians – Haute Couture. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2010.

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