Whether it’s a light pink tint or electric tangerine, you’ll rarely see us without our lipstick. While it’s a modern essential, it’s actually been around since prehistoric times. In fact, the first signs of lipstick date back to ancient Mesopotamia. Women would crush gemstones and apply them directly to their lips for decoration. Ancient Egyptians would make a mixture of fucus-algin, iodine, and bromine that had a deep red hue- however, it was poisonous and often deadly. (The price of beauty??) The first glamour icon, Cleopatra, would crush carmine beetles and ants to color her lips their signature red. And for a pearlescent finish? Women would add the scales of fish. Yuck!
As time went on, cosmetics (specifically lipstick) advanced in leaps and strides. Arab cosmetologist, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, is credited for creating the first tube lipstick. In the 16th Century, lipstick became extremely popular- bright red lips and cheeks were a sign of high fashion. Unfortunately, cosmetics were ultimately banned by religious authorities and said to be “satanic” and reserved for prostitutes. This was the case for many years and lipstick remained unacceptable and brazen.
In 1880, the term “lipstick” became popular as the French cosmetic company Guerlain manufactured the first commercial version. It was made from deer tallow, castor oil, and beeswax. By the 1920s, lipstick was not only mainstream- but totally paramount. Since becoming an industry all its own, lipstick has undergone many changes. Original colors were typically slight variations of red, and packaging was minimal. The product was often applied with a lip brush. Of course, today- lipstick comes in all shapes, sizes, applicators, and colors. It’s gone through many social revelations (What time of day is appropriate to apply it? Can you get a job if you wear lipstick?) and is an iconic statement- from Marilyn’s classic red to the black lip favored in goth and punk subcultures.
We’re so interested in where lipstick began, and even more grateful as to how far it’s come. There are tons of fun trends, and we’ve stocked our beauty bags with a few favorite products. Shop our top picks below:
Shop Rue: 1. Korres: A rich, moisturizing balm that offers a hint of color and a lot of shine.
2 . Smashbox: This formula goes on clear and reacts to your natural lip color, creating a custom shade of pink that’s 100% you!
3. Bare Minerals: A sheer, nourishing gel that supplies even, bright, translucent color.
4. Smith’s: Our editor’s top pick!! This moisturizing balm is said to help everything from chapped lips to dry elbows, and it smells divine! Plus, it offers a flattering light pink tint.
5. Tarte: Many stains can dry out your lips, but Tarte’s actually moisturizes them! Plus, it gives you a bright pop of color that lasts all day.
6. Lipstick Queen: This lipstick is smooth, not sticky! It has a slightly translucent finish and build-able color.
7. LAQA & Co.: A lip pencil with a buttery texture and a ton of color. Perfect for when you want to make an impact!
8. Stila: The brightest in the bunch!! This Stila pencil will make your lips stand out, and the color won’t fade away with food or drink.