Author`s name Olga Savka

Lipstick had long evolution to become the everyday thing women use today

In Oceania, women colored their lips with lipstick containing the basic component made of tiny molluscs

Every woman today absolutely automatically applies lipstick before going out of home. This habit is very old indeed: women began to apply lipstick in primeval times. Colored clay or berry juice served the very first lipstick at that time. But nobody knows why primitive women applied lipstick at all, either to attract or to scare men away. Rock carvings and cave petroglyphs discovered in Africa and Western Europe prove that women of primeval times actually applied lipstick. lipstick

A mixture of natural pigments and animal fats was the progenitrix of contemporary lipstick in Ancient Egypt. Red lead, ferrous oxide was used to colour that lipstick which smelt of rust. To make the odour better, fragrant essences were added to lipstick. Archeologists discovered remains of such mixtures in tombs of noble Egyptian women.

Some cuneiform texts tell that women applied juice of acrid plants, juice of wild iris for instance, to add color to their lips. Such juice caused blood flow to the lips and they remained intensive red within a rather long period of time. It is said that some Moslem women still use the method to add color to their lips today.

Natural pigments were widely applied in the ancient times. Henna was used to color not only hair but also body and it gave really steady color. Lips colored with henna remained bright for several days. In old times, noble Japanese women were not allowed to appear in public without intensive makeup. At that, faces often looked like masks thanks to thick foundation and dark lipstick. It is known that the basic components of that lipstick were tar and beeswax, the latter made lipstick structural and thick. It is astonishing but today beeswax is still one of the basic lipstick components.

Oceania women colored their lips with lipstick containing the basic component made of tiny molluscs. It made lipstick bright red. Some famous cosmetics brands still add this component to lipstick, at that this sort of lipstick is rather expensive. Dye obtained from under the mollusc shell is very costly because it is harmless, stable and contains unique moisturizing substances. So, lipsticks and rouge containing the pigment are appreciated for their high quality.

In Latin America and some eastern countries, women colored lips with carmine, another dye stuff of animal origin. Insects known as cochineal were the source of the stuff. The insects were collected, dried out and then ground to get brick red powder. Carmine was also popular in Russia, it was really expensive here as every product imported from abroad. Those who could not afford carmine applied materials at hand, such as beetroot or carrot juice. It is incredible but some women even applied pounded orange clay: it was mixed with water and then women applied such lipstick to lips. The effect of the lipstick was really stunning and scared foreign merchants very much. Some historical documents reveal that Russian women in the old days applied makeup excessively, made their faces too white, brows were too dark and lips were colored violet or orange. But that wild makeup was typical of women in the 11-13th centuries.

In the years before Inquisition, women in Europe applied cinnabar as lipstick. That was vermilion, a component really dangerous for health.

In the Middle Ages, women applied no cosmetics because of a special directive of the Pope. But in several centuries, the tradition of applying makeup was revived and once again makeup was often too excessive.

In the 17th century, the English parliament issued an unprecedented law according to which men had no problems in divorcing their wives in case it turned out that women's makeup during matchmaking wonderfully concealed all of their defects that became obvious after marriage.

In the 18th century, lipstick became popular with men not only women. Men of the French court circle applied carmine mixed with grease to lips thus making them bright against the background of beard and moustache. 

It was in 1915 that lipstick for the first time took the form we know today, a retractable stick. Just within several years lipstick became an everyday attribute. In the 1930, Elizabeth Arden said that girls with lipstick on their lips stood a better chance in getting a job than those who had no makeup at all. The motto made lipstick incredibly popular. In silent films women applied very bight lipstick and made the lips outline well-defined.

Thanks to the long lipstick evolution we now have a wide range of lipsticks beginning with medical, hygienic to moisturizing or resistant lipsticks. All of them are improved versions of components used by our ancestors.