The Evolution of Lipstick: From Ancient Times to Modern Trends

The Dawn of Lipstick

The use of lipstick dates back to early civilizations such as Sumer and the Indus Valley Civilisation1. In fact, it was first discovered as a rough fragment of brick in ancient Mesopotamia2. These ancient cosmetics were made by mixing crushed gemstones with oils and waxes.

Lipstick in Egypt

Egypt is where the manufacture of lipstick received many advancements. There, royal members, clergy, and high class used several types of lipsticks, some of them with recipes that contained poisonous ingredients that could cause serious illnesses. It was there that carmine color became popular, extracted from the bodies of cochineal insects.

Gender-Fluid Usage of Lipstick

The use of lipstick by men in ancient times is a historical reality. Dating back thousands of years, various ancient civilizations embraced the practice of adorning their lips with colored pigments, and this included men. In ancient Mesopotamia, both men and women used lip colorants made from crushed gemstones to create vibrant hues. The ancient Egyptians, renowned for their elaborate beauty rituals, were known to apply lip color as a symbol of social status, with men and women alike using a mixture of red ochre, fucus-algin (a seaweed extract), and iodine. Additionally, ancient Roman men often wore lip color as a sign of their social standing, and during the Elizabethan era, men in the European courts, including England, France, and Spain, commonly used lip rouge to accentuate their features. The historical context of lipstick reveals that its usage transcended gender boundaries and was a cultural practice with various symbolic meanings in different societies throughout antiquity.

Lipstick in Europe

After Egypt managed to spread their inventions and advancements across entire Europe, lipstick managed to find its home primarily with the actors of the Greek and Roman empires. However, as Christianity took hold in Europe, lipstick became a thing of the past and almost totally forgotten.

The Resurgence of Lipstick

The resurgence of lipstick returned in the 16th century, during the dramatic fashion changes that were implemented by English Queen Elizabeth I4. Her fashion style of stark white faces and brightly painted lips was popular for some time.

Modern Lipstick

The actual term “lipstick” wasn’t first used until 18805. Lipstick was first introduced in France in 1869 as a cosmetic product made from animal fat and beeswax2. In 1915, Maurice Levy invented the metal tube container for lipstick5. In 1923, James Bruce Mason Jr. patented the first swivel-up tube5.

In 1927, French Chemist, Paul Baudercroux invented a formula he called Rouge Baiser, considered to be the first kiss-proof lipstick5. Years later in 1950, chemist Helen Bishop invented a new version of long-lasting lipstick called No-Smear Lipstick that was very successful commercially5.

Today, lipsticks come in a variety of shades and finishes, from matte to glossy. They have become an essential part of makeup routines worldwide. The evolution of lipstick is a fascinating journey through time, reflecting societal norms and trends.

Learn more:


Current Lipstick Trends: Bold and Beautiful

The Bold and the Beautiful

The year 2023 has seen a shift in lipstick trends. We are departing from the heavily lined lip layered with heaps of transparent gloss, and shimmery lipsticks have come and gone1. This year, lip color is more in your face — really bold, super opaque reds, purples, oranges, even browns, and grays1.

The Latest Lipstick Trends

The latest lipstick trends for 2023 include:

  • Nude Lipstick shades
  • Marsala Lipstick color for winter
  • Scarlet gloss
  • Purple lipstick colors
  • Juicy apricot for spring
  • Pink shades
  • Metallic lipstick trends2

Fall Lipstick Colors

For the fall season, warm, earthy browns are a no-brainer. Each year brings a version of the hue that’s often inspired by nostalgia. However, this season’s wave of brown lipsticks aren’t just about replicating retro styles but embracing modern variations like this lightly lacquered espresso shade3.

Spring Lipstick Colors

This spring lipstick color is anything but subtle. A few swipes coat lips in nude-pink metallic pigments that create a super-shiny iridescent sheen. It’s the perfect statement-making shade for a fun night out with friends4.

High Shine and Intense Pigments

High shine and intense pigments like wine are also highly in demand3. These shades are all about embracing the past in a modern way. Take the more traditional colors for instance, such as warm browns or classic reds, that are often associated with fall. While these autumnal hues will still prevail, they will be getting a fresh makeover3.

In conclusion, whether you’re a fan of bold colors or prefer something more subtle, there’s a lipstick trend out there for everyone. So why not try something new and step out of your comfort zone? You might just find your new favorite shade!