Hello lovelies, I have been buying lots of vintage lipstick on eBay and thought it would be fun to talk about the history of lipstick. Most of my collection is from the 1950s and 1960s. I may have one lipstick from the 1930s, but I am not 100% sure. I would love to collect some older lipstick from the 1920s. Let me know what your favorite decade is for lipstick.
1925 – FOREVER RED LIPSTICK
1922 – BLOOD RED LIPSTICK
Dior: Red 999
A French perfume company named Guerlain became the first company to produce lipstick commercially. Their lipstick was made with deer tallow, beeswax, and castor oil wrapped in a silk paper.
Lipsticks in cylindrical containers were invented by Maurice Levy.
By 1920, lipstick had made a permanent place in the daily lives of women. In 1923, James Bruce Mason Jr. invented the swivel up lipstick tube and gave us modern lipstick as we know it today. The fashion icons of the day were the silent era movie stars, and people re-created their dark lips. Plums, aubergines, cherries, dark reds, and browns were the most sought after colors in the 1920s.
Helena Rubenstein invented the cupid’s bow lipstick that promised to give the coveted shape to the lips. Women also used stencils to achieve the desired cupid’s bow shape of the lips.
It was also in the 1920s that the first wave of feminism came about and women demanded more rights including the right to vote. Lipsticks at that time were considered a symbol of feminism.
It was also during this era that French Chemist Paul Baudercroux invented lipstick Rouge Baiser which was supposed to be ‘kiss-proof’ but was quickly taken off the shelf as women found it difficult to get rid off. Companies like Chanel, Guerlain, Elizabeth Arden, and Estée Lauder, started selling lipsticks.
Lipstick was still popular during the depression in the 1930s.
After the jazz baby era of the 1920s, 1930s was all about elegant and matte finishes. Max Factor started selling lip glosses and became a huge hit among the masses as earlier it was only reserved for Hollywood actresses. Hit by the depression, lipstick was an affordable luxury for the women in this era. Deep plum and burgundy were some of the preferred shades of this era.
Going through the perils of the Second World War, women in the 1940s took to laborious jobs with men at war frontiers. The supplies of all materials were scarce, and as for lipsticks, the metal tubes were temporarily replaced with plastic and paper. Women were encouraged to wear reddest of the lips to boost morale during the grim time of the war. Besame’s American Beauty was one of the most popular shades of red.
This was the era when Hollywood glam icons such as Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor were setting the trends all over the world. Women wanted to look like their favorite Hollywood actresses, and lipstick was popular than ever. Bold red lips were especially popularized by Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor and women in 1950s embraced the trend. Estee Lauder’s Envious was one of the popular shades.
It was also during this era; Hazel Bishop successfully came up with a ‘kiss-proof’ lipstick. Soon enough, ‘Revlon’ came up with their range of smudge-proof lipsticks and then began the war of brands started.
Lipstick drew inspiration from arts, and popular culture and a variety of shades came and went from the fashion scene. There was something to suit everybody’s preference. In 1973 Bonnie Bell introduced, ‘Lip Smackers,’ that is lipstick with flavors. These became an instant hit with the younger crowd.