The Science and Origin Behind the Lipstick

Lipsticks are popular cosmetic products which have transcended time and different generations from all over the world. The reason behind the use of lipstick is how people prefer setting themselves apart from others—making a mark by having something different in their physical appearance. Facial paint and eventually, lipsticks were some of the most noticeable ways to change one’s appearance back then.

What was the Very First Lipstick Like?


Back then, lipsticks weren’t really in stick or bullet forms inside fancy tubes. These lip pigments were made only from natural ingredients such as fruit and plant juices. They were crushed right before use and were applied as lip stains. The rise of newly developing civilizations in India, North America, and the Middle East to name a few also led to the development of advanced manufacturing processes for lip products.

It was in Egypt where lipstick first had its close resemblance to products known today— the creamy consistency and bright red shades. Royalty and upper clergymen used lipsticks to identify themselves as upper class members of the society. Lipstick recipes back then had different ingredients. Some even had poisonous ingredients which could lead to serious ailments which is why today, lipsticks are strictly inspected before being released for public use.

Who Used the First Lipstick?

Women from the Mesopotamian region first conceived the use of lip pigments from ground precious gems and minerals that gave their lips color and shine. The use of lip pigments then spread to the Indus Valley before it was further developed in Egypt.

The Lipstick—Making its Way to Modern Civilizations


After being developed by the Egyptians, the use of lipstick spread to the actors of Rome and Greece. When Christianity spread though, the use of lipstick was forgotten since painting one’s lips red was associated with Satanic worship.

In the 16th century though, the lipstick made its way back to the fashion scene when Queen Elizabeth I used it to have pigmented lips. Back then, the trend was to have stark white faces paired with red lips. After being used by the elites, its popularity faded and was later on reduced to being used by prostitutes and low-class women.

It was quite a while before this notion was changed, and the use of lipstick was somehow forgotten again. In the late 19th century, commercial lipstick made its way back to the fashion scene and it was available for low prices and many variants. Actresses and its use in movies popularized this cosmetic product, and to this day, lipstick remains as a staple in every modern woman’s beauty kit.