The (hi)story of red lipstick

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Some women adore natural beauty, some women adore make up, and some of them adore lipstick. Some of them adore red lipstick. This is a story especially for them… the red lipstick lovers.

Red color lipstick represent identity, self-expression, women power, strength and liberation…

From the earliest history women wanted to present their beauty and to decorate themselves. So it is not unusual that we can find representation of lipstick on an ancient Egyptian papyrus.

Queen Cleopatra, made red lipstick famous, and she added shimmer to the lipstick by extracting pearly shades from fish scales.

cleopatra on papyrus with red lipstic 1

Interesting fact is that Ancient Egyptian women loved their lipstick so much, so they were buried with it.

In 20 century, cosmetics became more portable and popular after World War I. The metal push-up lipstick tube was invented in United States, and most famous manifestation of red lipstick was in New York when it became a symbol of the suffragettes, as part of their defiance and fight for the vote.

first lipstic 2

During World War II. Red lipstick became a representation of women strength and was given names like “Fighting Red!” “Patriot Red!” “Grenadier Red!”. So having your lipstick on became a part of your fight against the enemy.

WW2 red lipstic 2

So, if on one hand lipstick was always a symbol of sexuality, it was also the symbol of strength, and the power of women.

On the other side, Adolf Hitler also hated the trend, the Aryan ideal was a pure, un-scrubbed face and ladies in this time, had to avoid excessive cosmetics, red lipstick, and the nail polish. And he wasn’t only one…

Through the history, red lipstick was associated with prostitutes and lower-class women. Even as a power of witches. In the second half of 20th century, when the modern feminist seen cosmetics and lipstick as tools of patriarchal oppression. French fashion designer Coco Chanel along with red nail polish found it vulgar, and she was complaining that stains of lipstick were left on her glassware by her guests although she was using it.

Coco Chanel with red lipstic

However red lipstick is part of the history, it was popular through the centuries and it is popular now…

marilyn monroe with red lipstick

So, listen carefully, the red lips, are not just the red lips, but they are also whispering a long story…

red lips