"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. Egyptians like Cleopatra crushed bugs to create a color of red on their lips." (Colorful and tasty, too!) But bugs were not the only interesting ingredient in early lipsticks. Women in the Minoan civilization colored their lips with bright red cosmetics. Lip paint in ancient Greece was initially restricted to prostitutes and courtesans but expanded to the upper class between 700 and 300 BCE. Greek women colored their lips with cosmetics made from dyes containing Tyrian purple, crushed mulberries, and the toxic pigment vermilion. The Chinese made some of the first lipsticks that were made from beeswax over 1,000 years ago to protect the delicate skin of the lips. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), scented oils were added to them, which gave the mouth an enticing factor. Aboriginal girls painted their lips red with ochre for their rite of passage ceremonies.
Fast forward to 16th century England. "Lip coloring 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. Before this time, 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.
The lipstick craze began to gain traction in the United States in the latter part of the 19th century. "Lipstick was colored with carmine dye which 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)." Perhaps more than you wanted to know but I found it interesting that in the 1800s, lipstick was still being made using insects! This lipstick did not come in the now-familiar tube, but was sold in pots and applied with a small 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. Simply scandalous! The Sears Roebuck catalog first offered rouge for lips and cheeks by the late 1890s. But 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.
Lipstick began being sold in cylinder metal containers by 1915. That little invention was designed by Maurice Levy. "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. 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 their own spin on versions of long-lasting "lip stain" or "liquid lip color."
If you have done any lipstick shopping lately or accompanied anyone who has, you know that there a seemingly infinite selection of color, many not even close to being natural-looking, And there are many types of lipsticks and methods of application as there are colors. There is something for everyone! While choices abound, I know that Mom and Grandmom will stick with their traditional red. And speaking of mom, I hope she has time to read my blog today. She'll be thrilled to learn that red lipstick can be made from bugs. I'm sure she'll want to try that! But, then, Dad, will throw a fit and tell Mom that she's wasting perfectly good food. And so it is at the Wart household.
Please come back tomorrow for a look at what was on the menu for the ancient Romans. Until then I wish you
PEACE (and a super new week!).