Inspirational Women

Lipstick: A History

The lure of lipstick has been prominent throughout history, from housewives whipping up secret batches of tinted salves in the kitchen, to the modern day where global lipstick sales are set to hit $8.7bn by 2019.

With shades and finishes for days, men and women have been letting their lips do the talking since the dawn of time…

Lipstick

Mesopotamian women took a royal approach, adorning their lips with crushed rubies and gemstones for the original glitter transfer. For a classic red, Egyptians would use beetles and for a pearlescent finish, fish scales were added to give lips a luxe shine.

Lipstick

During medieval Europe and Queen Victoria’s reign, lipstick and cosmetics were a taboo, reserved only for the madams of Soho and Paris. So ladies took to secretly blending beetroot and beeswax to achieve the perfect, indistinguishable natural stain, until the birth of Guerlain in the 19th century. Finally the first commercial lipstick was created, and the rest they say is history.

19th century

In the early 19th century women were still even then coveting that Rosie Huntington Whitely lip (how does she do it?) trying to perfect the ultimate bee-stung shade using salves tinted with carmine for an effortlessly natural look. While the 20s saw the elevation of the cupids bow, with icon of flapper style Cara Bow carving hers out to a knife sharp edge, the 30s brought the Great Depression and with it an austere palette of dark plums and browns. Arguably the first popular use of the matte lip, paired back finishes mirrored the dire economic state.

Lipstick

The glamour of the 50’s translated to the lip, with movie stars and celebrities sporting swoon-worthy shades of pillar-box red and classic cherry. Whatever your preferred shade, it was glossy, pigmented and definitely in need of liner, which would need reapplying after a good Hollywood kiss.

Lipstick

The bohemian style of the 70’s filtered through to makeup bags, as the nude lip made its return. Softer than the stark pale pinks of the 60’s, women kept their lips neutral as they focused on voluminous hair and smoked-out eyes. Shades of orange, taupe and beige in finishes of frost and shine were most popular, Farah Fawcett pioneering the brown shine we all know and love.

Marilyn Manson

In the latter half of the 90s Marilyn Manson lead the grunge trend, taking the classic black lip and giving it an ombré with purples and red, for a look runways everywhere were trying to recreate.

Early 2000

In early 2000s, things took a subtle turn again with juicy wet-look lips matching silver lids and faces dipped in highlighter.

90s lipstick

The rise of the Supermodel saw brown make it’s comeback, as Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell lead with a shade example for every skin tone. From burnt oranges to plummy browns to paler nude, there was a shade to suit every blend of beauty.

Nikki Minaj

How can we recap the greatest lipstick in history without paying due attention to the ‘chola’ lip. To get that Latin flavour, think a young Jennifer Lopez pre-music stardom, lips were lined in brown and filled with frosted shades of honey, cream and off-white. Larger than life and overdoing it, it’s a favourite of ours not to be forgotten about.

Vanitas

2016 has seen the rebirth of every salvageable 90s trend, from chokers and crop tops to matte lips and faces. Liquid formulas take the effort out of application, helping you achieve a subtle, or not-so-subtle over line.

The lure of lipstick has been prominent throughout history, from housewives whipping up secret batches of tinted salves in the kitchen, to the modern day where global lipstick sales are set to hit $8.7bn by 2019.

With shades and finishes for days, men and women have been letting their lips do the talking since the dawn of time…

 Famed for our bold and distinctive on-counter make-overs, Illamasqua now introduce ‘Express Yourself’, a fast and innovative service that skilfully transforms your look in minutes. The Express Yourself menu offers an ever evolving range of looks from everyday essentials to the more creative and show stopping. Tonee Roberio from the Illamasqua Art Team has designed four key looks to launch the new service which focus on the skin, eyes, lips and brows.

Words by Minè Miralay

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Nadine Bourne

Nadine Bourne

Writer and expert