The History of Lipstick: Death Romantic Story
Today Atomee will continue to introduce the origin story of makeup. In the last blog, we talked about the origin of blush. And this time it turns to the origin history of lipstick. The world’s first lipstick was discovered in the Sumerian city of Ur (about 5,000 years ago). Although the first lipstick appeared in the Sumerian civilization, the ancient people who loved lipstick the most were definitely the ancient Egyptians.
Start from Ancient Egyptians
When mentions the history of makeup or lipstick, we must know the ancient Egyptians. The Ancient Egyptians loved to wear make-up. Everyone will make up everyday whoever men or women, and whenever celebration or not. There is a theory that the sun-drenched environment of the Nile Delta made the ancient Egyptians particularly conscious of and in need of skincare and cosmetics.
Even more dramatic is that, at the height of the Egyptian empire, every household had their own metal and wooden tools for making lipstick. The Ancient Egyptians were bold in their pursuit of color. They combine various natural dyes to create a wide variety of lipstick formulas.
Red was the first choice. Because the common person who used lipstick mostly took the color from the ochre. While some will mix them with resin gum to increase the stickiness. But purple and black lipsticks are also very popular. To top it off, they’ve even blended a blue lipstick out!
And when we talk about Egyptian lipstick, we have to talk about Cleopatra VII, a lipstick enthusiast. She was the last female pharaoh of the ancient Egyptian dynasty of Claudius Ptolemy, and is better known as “Cleopatra“.
She had a particular preference for a magenta color extracted from the fat and eggs of female rogues. What’s more, her preference makes magenta become the most classic shade of lipstick, and this habit continues to this day… Except that, to make beauty become a common thing, she laid down the rules for the use of lipstick: lips had to be colored with damp wooden strips. And even after her death, people still remembered to put a few jars of lip gloss in their tombs. And in the history of lipstick, she is the one that can’t be ignored.
Stigmatizing in early Ancient Greek
Unfortunately, with the recession of ancient Egypt, lipstick became less and less popular. In the early days of Greek civilization, women did not like to wear lipstick, and the only people who wore lipstick were prostitutes. And it’s said that the ingredients of early ancient Greek lipsticks were
a. Sheep’s sweat
b. Human Saliva
c. Crocodile Dung
This egregious formula shows the lowly status of lipstick at the time… And the first law regarding lipstick was also enacted at that time. “Prostitutes will be severely punished if they appear in public at unspecified times, or if they do not wear lip gloss and makeup of the specified color (usually burgundy) to distinguish themselves from “ordinary” women.”
However, by the middle of Greek civilization, lipstick suddenly made a big hit. The reason is unknown ……
All in all, lipstick went straight from being a daily necessity for prostitutes to the new favorites of the elite aristocracy in an instant. The aristocrats’ lipsticks had to change their recipes and made lipsticks from fruit and vegetable juices (such as mulberry and seaweed), comfrey roots, and cinnabar. But this is just the game of the rich.
Boom in Ancient Rome
Right after the Greek civilization rose the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire is a totally hedonistic society, with its unbridled wealth. And the extravagance of its upper classes makes the use of spices and cosmetics reach an all-time high.
And at this time, there is an interesting story about lipstick. Atomee thinks it shows the death romantic of red lipstick. One of the most capricious of these was Roman Emperor Nero’s Empress Poppaea. Legend has it that she had over 100 attendants who fixed her makeup, including keeping her lips full of color at all times. She was also the one who invented “the hickey game”. In this game, she would kiss Nero with lipstick all over her lips, leaving her own red lipstick on Nero’s lips intact. Nero and Poppy’s love game, which was modified by many people, resulting in the kiss of death.
Because the ingredients used in their lipsticks, except the traditional ochre, the white lead powder used by the Sumerians, and cinnabar used by the ancient Greeks, also included seaweed containing mercury. It is a highly toxic formula that made the lipstick poisonous.
I don’t know if this had anything to do with the Roman Empire’s eventual rise and fall.
Dark Ages in European Middle Ages
The Dark Age of the European Middle Ages came around 500 AD. And then the dark age of lipstick also came.
At that time, the church believed that lipstick could greatly enhance a woman’s sex appeal and was a sexual symbol of evil. By the middle of the century, religious criticism intensified, stating that “a woman in make-up is the embodiment of Satan”. And the use of make-up to alter one’s appearance artificially was blasphemous to the glory of God.
At the same time, the Crusaders brought back all kinds of lipstick from the Middle East. Lipstick even took on the mysticism of evil witchcraft. The church said that lipstick had the power to heal the sick, protect life, drive away from the dead, and control the male mind. That statement further angered the Church. So the production, trade, and use of lipstick even became an evil act of witchcraft. Interestingly enough, lipstick still managed to quietly flourish despite the critical attitude of the church and the regime against it. It seems that everyone has a rebellious streak, hahaha. Even the royal family is obsessed with lipstick.
Recover from the Old Century
And there is also death romantic story about lipstick in this period. In the 1500s, when Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne, she was also a lipstick fanatic. But instead of magenta, she preferred a deep red lipstick made of rouge, Arabic rubber, egg whites, and fig milk. It’s said that she and her entourage also developed the first solid lipstick based on gypsum. And then the women of the court have followed the Queen’s example. Queen Elizabeth also believed in the healing power of lipstick and used it almost as medicine. When she was sick or depressed, she wore a lot of lipstick, and on the day of her death, she used up about 1.25 centimeters of lipstick!
And about the next history of lipstick, we all know the rest of the story. In 1867, the first department store in history to sell cosmetics, B. Altman’s Department Store in New York City appeared. It produced and patented a cosmetic that could be put on the cheeks and lips. In 1910, The first tubular lipstick came to the eyes of the public. And in 1915, we introduced the first metal tube lipstick. In 1923, the swirling lipstick was invented, which gradually led to the invention of the lipstick we use today.