By Bidisha Mukherjee
A modern day lipstick is made up of a large number of ingredients like
oils, waxes, emollients, pigments, etc. The wax gives a stabilized shape
to the lipstick while the oil and fat content give it a soft yet firm
texture. The emollients like aloe vera or vitamin E helps to keep the
lips in well-moisturized condition. It may also have other additives
like alcohol as preservatives as well as sunscreen and fragrance. Lipstick is an indispensable part of the makeup
kit of millions of modern women all across the world. This is mainly
because, it is an easy and inexpensive way to make a fashion statement.
However, if you look into the lipstick history, you will find that the
practice of using it in order to give an attractive look to woman's lips
started thousands of years ago.
History of the Lipstick
Various historical records suggest that lipstick origins in ancient
Mesopotamia almost 5000 years ago. It has been found that the women of
the ancient Babylonian city of Ur used to mix crushed semi precious
stones with a paste and applied it on the lips to add color to them.
Evidence has also been found that women in Indus valley civilization
applied red color on lips. In ancient Roman civilization, women who
belonged to the upper class used lip colors that they manufactured at
In ancient Egypt too, women loved to tint their lips with attractive
purple-red color. They used to combine iodine and a compound of bromine
known as bromine mannite to obtain that lip color which proved to be
highly toxic. For that reason, it was later known as 'kiss of death'. It
is said that Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, used crushed
carmine beetles, ant's eggs and henna to prepare the luscious red color
for her lips. To add some shimmering effect to the lip color, extracts
from fish scales were also used.
The most obvious question that comes to our mind when we are discussing
about history of lipstick is 'who made the first lipstick'. The credit
for developing the first lipstick or the lip color in the form of a
stick is given to Abu al-Quasim al-Zahrwai. He belonged to Andalusia
area of Spain and is often referred to as father of modern surgery. He
created the first lipstick at around 900 A.D. He used wax to form the
base to which fragrances were added and then pressed into a mold.
During the Middle Ages, the popularity of lipstick declined. In that era, lipstick was considered to be a cosmetic
which is suitable for prostitutes and lower class women. Hence, women
belonging to upper class stopped using it. Lipstick once again regained
its popularity in the 16th century. It was the Elizabethan era and Queen
Elizabeth I, England, herself used bright red color on her lips along
with chalk white face powder. Once again, in the middle of the 17th
century, lipsticks faced stiff opposition from an England pastor named
Thomas Hall. He led a movement that strongly opposed the use of any kind
of cosmetics and regarded painting of faces as ‘Devil’s Work’. In 1770,
the British Parliament passed a law to ban wearing of lipstick. It
stated that if a woman wears lipstick, she could be tried as a witch!
In the late 1890s, the popularity of lipstick started rising all over
again. Gradually, it became a craze among women. The Hollywood film
industry had a major contribution in this regard. Women wanted to have
an enhanced and fuller lips like their favorite actresses and thus sale
of lipstick went higher and higher. The small pot of lip color was
replaced by the push up tube around 1915. Women wanted a lipstick that
stays on their lips for a longer period of time. Thus the "kiss-proof"
lipstick came into being. It was introduced into the market by a
cosmetic company called Hazel Bishop Inc. in 1950.
From the lipstick history you must have now come to know how it evolved
over a period of time to its present form. Today, one can find lipstick
of a wide range of shades. Apart from the color choices, there are also
lipsticks in the market with special ingredients that are essential for lip care. Like, some of them have sunscreens, moisturizers and conditioners in order to keep the lips in healthy condition.
Article Source: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/lipstick-history-of-lipstick.html