If someone would ask me what piece of cosmetics is most womanly, without a thought I would say the lipstick. I believe that many will agree with me, because the lipstick is used for thousands of years. It is regarded that the women in Mesopotamia, about 5000 years ago, discovered this type of makeup, when they frittered semi precious stones and with the crumbled dust decorated their lips.

In the book Read my Lips: A Cultural History of Lipstick, Meg Cohen Ragas and Karen Kozlowski say that the ancient Egyptians, unconscious of potential harm, used a reddish-purple pigment derived from brown algae which, among other, contains traces of mercury, iodine and bromine. They also used henna to accentuate their lips with unusual color. At that time carmine was favored, a light-red pigment of carmine acid extracted from some insects. A special lipstick of rich, fuscous tint drawn from grained ants, beetles and carmine bugs was made for Cleopatra. In Greece and Rome lipstick was worn by actors and the first person who crafted it into actual stick was a physician, chemist and cosmetologist Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi.

Like innumerable new inventions before, lipstick did not escape the fate of  non acceptance and mass lynch either. Makeup was considered as something extremely vulgar, appropriate only for actors and prostitutes. Loose chance for lipstick emerged in 16. century, during the reign of Elizabeth I, who introduced the fashion of pale faces and markedly red lips. For instance in Japan, such a make-up, characteristic for geisha girls, long symbolized an ideal of beauty. However, in response to the red lipstick, Thomas Hall published Loathsomeness of Long Hair and started a demotic movement whose stand on coloring of facial parts was reduced to a „devil's work“, and the women with painted lips were accused of deception and capturing the „honest folk“ into a trap. He wrote that they incite blaze in the hearts of those who halt their gaze at them. In 1770., British Parliament proposed a law which could, if the girl wore makeup before wedding, prevent the nuptials, declaring „that the woman, who is proved to have seduce a man and tricked him into marriage wearing cosmetic products, can be trialed for witchcraft.“ Lasting through 19. century, particularly in Victorian era, there was a strong opposition towards makeup. In her book Lipstick, Jessica Pallingston cites that the famous queen publicly denounced it as a rude social phenomenon.

Although the use of makeup was still almost prohibited at the end of 19. century, cosmetic company Guerlain began with the production of red lipstick. The first modern one, compounded of deer tallow, castor oil and beeswax, was presented in 1884. in Paris. At the same time, the trend of red lipsticks, whose color was obtained from dried insects and eggs found in cactuses of Mexico and Central America, commenced in United States. As they were very expensive and extravagant, they were worn only for special occasions. In 1890., carmine began to be mixed with oils and wax and distributed in metal boxes and paper tubes, thus becoming accessible to women of all classes. In 1915, Maurice Levy designed tin tube for lipstick and from 1923. it was sold in Elizabeth Arden's and Estee Lauder's renowned salons. During World War II, lipstick has reached a higher degree of appreciation. Namely, for the female citizens of countries affected by the war, wearing „new, smiling and beautiful faces“ has become patriotic duty and a modest contribution to raising morals. According to Madeleine Marsh, author of Compacts and Cosmetics, women were encouraged to look the best in order to do the best, and the lipsticks of that time bore names like Fighting Red!, Patriotic Red! or Grenadier Red! Simultaneously the metal tube was replaced with plastic, but the lipstick itself was rarely attainable, due to the shortage of primary ingredients – petroleum and castor oil. Because of this, scientists conducted experiments and in 1950's., to a woman's general delight, Hazel Bishop successfully created first long-standing lipstick. Interestingly, even then cosmetics failed to evade adversaries, the biggest being Adolf Hitler. Marsh states that lady visitors of his countryside retreat were provided with lists of things they should avoid: excessive makeup, red lipstick and, at all costs, polished nails. The Aryan ideal was a pure, „ungreased“ face.

The Golden Age of Hollywood is impossible to imagine without actresses with bright, red-hot lips. Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, imitated by women from around the world, turned red lipstick into eternal cosmetic champion. In the 60's, the hit was baby-pink hues, while in the 70's frenzy for lipsticks somewhat dwindled. On the other hand, that's when the lipsticks of various colors enriched with glitter tinsel ensued. The glamorous 80's marked the return of lipstick on top, chiefly the so called „mood lipstick“ which, owing to the pH of the skin, changed color depending on the current humour level. With the help of new technologies, manufacturers in the 90's began to play with colors and textures, resulting in domination of matte lipsticks of brown shades, and at the beginning of the 21. century pearly nuances played a major role. Today, colors and trends is shifting from season to season, but what endures as a permanent and ageless classic is red lipstick.

Perhaps the most significant beauty product coming from Chanel, which labeled the whole history oh beautification, is the lipstick. Dissatisfied by the temporary market offer, in 1924. Coco Chanel launched her first collection of lipsticks that were, with their creamy formula and ultra-pigmentation, suitable for free use – the perfect lipsticks for every day. From the opulent assemblage of wonderful Chanel lipsticks and lip glosses I chose Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour-102 Palpitante. One of the features that attract me to a certain commodity is packaging. This lipstick comes in a black tube with a very interesting opening mechanism: the upper lid covers it in it's entirety, while a gentle pushing of the lower part reveals smaller golden tube that hides lipstick in it. Therefore it's completely protected and there is no fear of accidental pop up in the purse. It's texture is creamy, it is endowed with persistence and constancy so you can be sure it will not vanish from your lips for hours, even if you eat in the meantime. Concurrently, which is of utmost importance to me, it is moisturizing and does not dry out the lips. The color seems to be typically red, but after the applcation it's authentic disposition becomes obvious. I would describe it as a lavish red with a distinctive hint of pink luster. Since I love variety of red, this is much more enchanting to me and I can wear it for coffee with friends as well as night outings. The fact that sometimes is enough just to put on a red lipstick and achieve a total make-up, proves that it has remained, for all these years, a true cosmetics icon.

Do you like red lipsticks or prefer the ones more neutral? Have you tried Chanel Rouge Allure? What are your impressions?


  1. Thanks for the information dear
    Hope your weekend is going well
    new post

    1. You are welcome. I'm glad you find useful information.
      I also hope your weekend is going well, too.

  2. AQue cositas mas lindas nos has presentado , para estar guapisimas, las quiero comprar todas !! un saludo desde web de accesorios moda hombre online

  3. AQue cositas mas lindas nos has presentado , para estar guapisimas, las quiero comprar todas !! un saludo desde web de accesorios moda hombre online


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