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history of lipstick

history of lipstick

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Published by radioflea
a feature article on the history of lipstick
a feature article on the history of lipstick

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Published by: radioflea on Oct 13, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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DIO, Rafaela M.BSDC 311-JA historical feature for ENVICOM*
Read My Lips: the Lipstick's Life Story
Hidden within its rich color is a history not as smooth as cream formula. Long before today'swide acceptance, lipstick had been controversial, dangerous and immoral.
A twenty-first century woman, Jane Mercado, 26 and a call center agent in Lipa, Batangas, is notcompletely
without wearing her shade of lipstick. She just cant possibly leave the housewithout it, Forget the mascara or the blushbut not the lipstick.Somehow, the same outlook had been shared by the women of Ancient Mesopotamia in 5000BC. Babylonians could have never left their cabins without a lip color ingeniously made from crushedsemi-precious stones.But early Egyptians had better idea than powdered rocks. According to Meg Cohen Ragas andKaren Kozlowski, in their book, "The Cultural History of Lipstick," Egyptians decorated their lips with areddish purple mercuric plant dye called
which stains like henna. Little did they know that it wasmade of iodine and bromine mannite and was potentially poisonous. Instead of turning their faces lookhealthier, ancient Egyptians puckered up to illness and death!Cleopatra preferred the more natural ingredients. Would you believe that a woman as elegantas this queen actually used bugs? Using a brush, she applied carmine dyea deep red pigmentextracted from dried and grounded carmine beetles. The queen's make-up artist proved to be reallyresourceful. Crushed ant eggs were used for base coating and for shimmering gloss, a substance fromfish scales called pearl essence came out effective. Despite these gross origins, carmine dye wasexpensive and not practical for the average Egyptian women.In the 16th century, lipstick was upgraded to a blend of beeswax and plant dye. Queen ElizabethI helped boost the lipstick's popularity when she made blood red lips and chalk-white faces the superiorfashion statement during her reign.But lipstick was not always admired. To Ragas and Kozlowski and Thomas Hall, an English pastorand author of the "Loathsomeness of Long Haire" (1653), the wearing of lipstick led to a movementdeclaring that face painting was "the devil's work" and that women who put brush to their mouths weretrying to "ensnare others and to kindle a flame of lust in the hearts of those who cast their eyes uponthem."The church must have been very influential to the state that in 1770, the British Parliamentpassed a law condemning lipstick. It stated that "women found guilty of seducing men into matrimonyby a cosmetic means should be tried for witchcraft." And when Queen Victoria took throne in 1837, sheprohibited lipstick and declared it impolite. By then, lipstick was a tabooit was recognized as vulgarand uncouth as the level of prostitutes. With make-up at the end of the fashion line, paleness hit voguefor almost a century.
Stage performers, in spite of the prohibition, were allowed to wear make-up and so, slowly,women began to be attracted to the lipstick's charm again. In the late 19th century, a synthetic form of carmine was infused into an oil and wax base, creating a lip color that looked more natural and pleasingthan carmine dye. However, technically up to this point, lipstick was not yet a lip
Lip color was soldin tinted papers or paper tubes. Unlike today's lipstick, it was not portable and handy. Carrying it inpockets melts the paste and keeping it in handbags was just as messy. This meant that women couldapply color at home but could not do touch-ups.1883, two French men resolved the problem by adding castor oil and deer tallow making afirmer material. It was then rolled into small sticks and wrapped in silk paper giving birth to the firstlipstick. Later that year, the innovated lipcolor was presented at the World Fair in Amsterdam but it didnot appeal to some women. The lipsticks were called
(little sausages), they were quite costlyand looked much like crayons.Improvements were constant. Around 1915, lipstick started to be sold in metal containers, withvarious push-up tubes. The first retractable tube was patented in 1923, in Nashville, Tennessee. Thispackaging allowed manufacturers to package to sell, creating stylish and seductive packages forconsumer goods.Lipstick owes its widespread recognition to the movie industry.Film stars painted themselveswith small, dark red mouths, the most famous being the actress Sarah Bernhardt who used to call herlipstick
stylo d'amour' 
(love pen) because of its phallic shape.And the demand for lipstick boomed aswomen wanted to look likeSarah Bernhardt,Louise Brooks, Clara Bow and other stars of the silverscreen.In the 1930s, leaders in the industry such as Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden openedtheir first salons, offering a wide-range of service from facial massage to hair dressing to make-up.In the late 1940's, Hazel Bishop, an organic chemist in New York and New Jersey, created thefirst long lasting lipstick, called No-Smear lipstick. And with the help of Raymond Specter, an advertiser,Bishop's lipstick's business flourished.After WWII, lipstick had become more accessible. When most people could not afford expensiveluxuries, companies concentrated on making cheap lipsticks mainly for women workers. In 1952, Revlonhad the first big media lipstick advertising in their campaign, "Fire & Ice."In the 1959 Marilyn Monroe movie, "Some Like it Hot", almost all the actresses wore brightlipstick, creating a new fad. Young girls that imitated and wore flashy lipstick were generallyreprimanded by their parents. Finding a growing market, lipstick manufacturers began creating colorslike lavender, pink, and peach. Max Factor produced a popular lipstick color called Strawberry Meringuethat suited the needs of the teenage fashion.Trends were shifting every minute that only after a few years, women wanted to break from thetraditional red lips. 1964 was the onset of white lipstick. Gala cosmetic company began to introduce palecolored lipstick. Rock groups such as Ronettes and the Shirelles popularized pale-looking lips. Girls wouldapply white lipstick over pink lipstick or even use concealer for paler effect.

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