It’s time for the next part of our “Style Encyclopedia – red lipstick” series. And although it is known that women love red on the lips, we are still afraid to use it. And yet it is in a class of its own. Lips painted red do not need any other makeup. They attract attention and hold gazes. 


kiss of death

The hourglass, writing, gunpowder and… lipstick – here are some inventions of antiquity. According to the beauty canon of the time, women wore expressive makeup, just remember at least the image of Cleopatra. It should come as no surprise that women were eager to use this cosmetic. Lipstick in ancient times came in the form of a powder, extracted from the remains of plants and insects. Some Egyptian women from royal families loved to wear violet on the lips, which was formed from a combination of iodine and bromine. 

Any licking of such lips or kissing them, however, was fatal  the composition contained many poisons. From ancient Egypt, the fashion for blood-red lips moved to Greece and Rome, where lipstick was prepared from crushed blackberries and the roots of the reddish barberry. In Athens, the cosmetic was mainly loved by prostitutes, while in the Eternal City the opposite was true – lipstick was a symbol of wealth and high origin. 

Splendor in the color of carmine

In the Middle Ages, the age of modesty, red lipstick was not an object of desire. Women who dared to leave the house with red lips were called devil’s mistresses. The Baroque was much kinder to lipstick. Lipstick, a cosmetic for painting the lips, was so popular at court receptions that men also used it. The canon of beauty at the time was alabaster complexion in duet with blood-red lipstick, which attracted the attention of amber. Women prepared lipsticks from various mixtures they made in cauldrons. An interesting composition was hedgehog blood, combined with a pinch of arsenic, lizard stock and sulfur.

Encyclopedia of style - red lipstick
Red lipstick is elegance in itself.

fading red

The end of the 18th century, the year 1770, Great Britain. Parliament in the Islands is introducing an act that allows a woman to be charged with witchcraft if she has her lips painted. Improving one’s beauty was a crime, regulated by a provision according to. whose men were allowed to divorce women who wore makeup before marriage. English gentlemen believed that painted women were witches who were trying to force them into marriage. Many European countries considered red lipstick a symbol of debauchery, a hallmark of light-hearted women. The situation was different in the Land of the Blossoming Cherry, where Japanese Geishas made it a symbol of femininity and elegance. 


The golden period for lipstick came with the invention of cinema. Actresses of black-and-white silent films painted their lips red to be more expressive and achieve stronger facial expressions. The characterizer of silent movie stars was the famous Max Factor, today one of the favorite cosmetics brands for women.

Lipstick has gone from being a symbol of debauchery to an attribute of a liberated woman in express time. Elizabeth Arden claimed that lipstick was a sign of the fair sex’s independence, and for this reason, in 1912, during a manifesto in New York, she distributed them to suffragettes. A big contributor to the popularity of expressive lips is also Guerlain, which introduced the first lipstick in a tube, displacing lip paints from the market. The trend for carmine lips was momentarily sensed by stylish women from Europe – Coco Chanel or Estée Lauder, who began to sell lipsticks in their boutiques. InPoland, the first twist-out lipstick appeared in 1923.

Encyclopedia of style - red lipstick
Match the shade of red lipstick to your beauty type.

mate with lipstick

Women loved lipsticks and did not part with them – even during the Great Depression. Interestingly, during the years of economic recession, there was a phenomenon called the “lipstick effect,” which showed that women even in the worst of times want to please themselves and do not save money on cosmetics. The situation did not change even during World War II. Despite the prevailing poverty, women proudly wore lipstick on their lips. When it came time to throw off the uniforms, the stares of all the attracted big stars, including. Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor, who fell asleep in red lipstick. Elizabeth’s advice to abandoned women: “Make yourself a drink, paint your lips, and get a grip.” Nothing to add, nothing to take away.  

classroom teacher

 In the U.S., nearly 1,500 are sold per minute, and 7,000 million are placed in women’s purses annually worldwide – lipstick is the most widely used cosmetic. What is its secret? Red lipstick changes not only our appearance, but  and behavior, adds courage, teaches femininity. Just one stroke and… you can conquer the world!


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