Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Lip Color and Lipstick Invention
In ancient civilizations, women crushed colored stones and used them to decorate their faces and lips.
Egyptians used a mixture of dye and iodine, which was sometimes dangerous. Cleopatra, though, was said to wear lip color made by crushing carmine beetles, and adding that dye mixture to a base made of ants. The addition of fish scales added a much-admired shimmery effect.
Later, in medieval Europe, the Church banned the wearing of lipstick. Cosmetics were worn only by prostitutes.
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, a pale face and bright red lips came into fashion, and this time a product less dangerous was used. Lip color now was made of beeswax and plant dye.
During Victorian times, when lipstick was once again banned, this time by Queen Victoria, women resorted to drastic measures to redden their lips, such as chewing them, biting them, and even using brandy to bring out the color.
In 1880s Paris, a perfume manufacturer sold the first commercially successful lipstick. The perfume store was the House of Guerlain, established in 1828 on the rue de Rivoli. The lipstick was in the form of pomade, and was made with grapefruit mixed with butter and wax. For the next several decades, the House of Guerlain continued the enterprise, selling their popular cosmetics and perfumes. In the twentieth century, the perfume family was bought out, but even today, production continues. Guerlain products are considered by many to be the best, and alas, some of the priciest cosmetics and perfumes in the world.