• Kate Foster

RED LIPSTICK: A HISTORY

Throughout time, women have pretty much always had a deep, powerful relationship with their beauty routines. To celebrate Women's History Month, we're curating some of the most historically significant moments surrounding one of our all-time favorite products: red lipstick.

Ancient Sumerian men and women wore lipstick 5,000 years ago—making them the most likely inventors of the product.


It's said that Cleopatra's red lip color was made from crushed bugs. (The Ancient Egyptians wore red lipstick to present a high social status.)

The Chinese introduced protective beeswax into lipstick formulas over 1,000 years ago. Between 618 to 907 CE, during the Tang Dynasty, scented oils were added. During Queen Elizabeth I's reign, only upper class women and male actors wore makeup, and the contrast of red lips with completely white face makeup became stylish.

The first commercial lipstick was made in Paris in 1884 and was made from beeswax, castor oil, and deer tallow. The tube was covered in silk paper.


James Bruce Mason, Jr., patented the first swivel-up lipstick tube in Nashville, Tennessee in 1923.

In 1912, Elizabeth Arden herself passed out red lipstick to suffragettes marching past her New York salon.

An organic chemist in New York and New Jersey named Hazel Bishop created the first long lasting lipstick in the late 1940s. (A.K.A. the precursor to Lip Velvet!) It was called No-Smear lipstick.


Today, completely clean, safe versions of red lipstick are available in all shades and formulas.


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