The History of Lipstick


Eyes are the windows to your soul, as your kiss is the door to your heart. ~Miranda, the Kiss Whisperer

A History & Journey of Lipstick with a KISS

The use of lipstick and other means of lip color has been going on for centuries, with a good, underlying reason. Read on to find out more.

The Color of Riches

Generally, makeup has been used since the ancient civilizations as a mark of status and rank within society.  Only the rich, rulers, as well as noble men and women wore makeup. At that time the colors were made from natural sources for beauty and status.

  1. Sumerian Culture:  The color/stain was produced by crushing and grounding raw materials such as henna, clay, insects and applied directly to the lips, cheeks, and eyes. Mesopotamian Women:  They ground jewels and precious stones to create a shimmery effect to the whole makeup look. A few brands continue with this method. Imagine that!
  2. Egyptians:  Their focus was on the lips in addition to the popular kohl winged eyeliner we have grown to love. Cochineal insects were used to produce a striking red lip, a substance that is still used today in modern lipsticks. Other civilizations wore makeup including men and women. Even the children wore makeup.
  3. Medieval Times:  Red lips were perceived as unholy, but that didn’t stop the women at that time to add some color. They achieved their “makeup” by biting and pinching their lips to look naturally reddish and appealing.
  4. Queen Elizabeth Era:  Women started a trend of pale white skin with red lips.  The look that was popular among noble women at that time, as we see in the portraits today. Amongst this a simpler but painful method of wearing makeup surfaced.  People went as far as using their blood to apply as blush and lipstick.

The Lipstick

It was in 1880 that a French company, Guerlain started to produce lipstick commercially.  Made from beeswax, castor oil, and deer tallow, the lip color was wrapped in silk paper. This new product was used by a large number of women.  It was upgraded into cylindrical cases, and then into swivel up tubes. Much like today’s variety of colors lipsticks. Fast forward into the modern times; more beauty companies started producing lipstick commercially, making it affordable.  This allowed women to use lipstick during war time, in magazines, and in film (even men wore lipstick in those black and white movies to have their lips pop). As lipsticks were easily available than before, finding the latest trend for the “it” look was highly desired.  For example, in the “80s”, where dance culture was prominent, bright colors such as siren red and hot pinks were popular. Moving on to the next decade, people started to be environmentally conscious with makeup products made from natural sources.  Celebrity Bobbi Brown led the way to promote that particular makeup brand and set the stage for what is commonly used today.

Lipstick Today

The lipcolor market has exploded with beauty brands created or mentioned by celebrities, famous bloggers, instagrammers and influencers instead of big brands like it used to be for the look.  And the colors! Whoever imagined how many shades of red one can produce. From nudes, matte finishes to unthinkable shades shown in Fenty Beauty, the progression of lipsticks and lip color is truly a story all in its own. It’s certainly surprising how much history comes in one tube of lipstick.  With all the options of lip color and lipstick, you too create history when you wear your shade. Want to learn more of what your lip shade, lip print reading says about you? Follow the Official Lipstick Lip Print Reader to learn more. Have you had your kiss today? Ask the Kiss Whisperer. Click Here KISSmet™