Special Guest Post by CityGirlInRedLipstick: History for the Red Lipstick Connoisseur

Continuing our theme of all things rouged, Anita from CityGirlInRedLipstick.com is back with another guest post on, what else? Red lipstick. Take it away, Anita!

Feeling chic and sophisticated? Want to channel your inner goddess? When the mood overtakes you, choose RED! Red lipstick is like a perfect black cardigan; you can never have too many. My obsession with red lipstick began at an early age, and being a history buff, I decided to research the history of red lipstick. I wanted to know more about this passionate, rich, and vibrant color. Welcome to my History for the Red Lipstick Connoisseur.

Red lips have fascinated men and women alike since 3,000 BCE. A bold, look-at- me-color that demands attention, red lipstick has been advocated by the world's most powerful women. (This supports my theory that red lipstick is the equivalent of a man's power tie)

In the beginning, the ingredients used to create this come-hither hue were iodine, mannite, and a purplish-red dye taken from seaweed. It's said that ancient Mesopotamian women were the first to invent actual lipstick by using crushed precious jewels. Cleopatra, desiring a deeper red, a red fit for a queen, used crushed carmine beetles and ants. Queen Elizabeth I used a simpler recipe of beeswax and plant derived red dyes. ...I would personally love a red lipstick made out of crushed rubies - talk about true decadence!

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Starting in the 19th century, red lipstick was made out of carmine dye, which was very expensive due to the fact that it was painstakingly extracted from Cochineal. The intense carmine dye was considered racy and was deemed inappropriate by those that considered red lips the work of the Devil. In the 1890's, companies began mixing the carmine with a wax base that gave it a more natural looking color and texture. Red lipstick quickly became synonymous with sexual innuendo and was regarded as taboo because of its resemblance to flushed and aroused labia.

In 1915, fashionable American women were advised by an article in the New York Times to apply lipstick with caution because lipstick, especially red, was still considered immoral and an act of rebellion. Very soon after, dark red lipstick became popular due to the 1920's flapper craze - huge cocktail rings and red lipstick were standard among the fashionable - albeit risqué - set. (I'm never without my cocktail ring and signature red lips). During that period it was acceptable to apply lipstick after lunch, but never after dinner.

It wasn't until the 1930's that Elizabeth Arden introduced women to different shades of lipstick, with red still being the most popular. It was Elizabeth Arden and Estee Lauder that started selling lipsticks out of their salons, thus making it acceptable (and later expected!) for the good girl to wear red lipstick.

Hazel Bishop was the organic chemist that developed the world's first long-lasting lipstick called "No-Smear Lipstick". In 1990 a wax free-semi permanent liquid formula was born known as: lipstain or liquid lip color. Today, companies that develop lipstains are Stila, Josie Maran, Maybelline, Revlon, Covergirl and more. I keep waiting for my favorite brands to come out with their versions of red lipstains.

Women are often caught between the madonna/ whore complex, saint/sinner or good girl/ bad girl syndrome. The bottom line is that good girls do wear red lipstick. Choose red lipstick or not - but wear your decision with confidence. Don't let yourself be intimidated by the color of red (or lack thereof). Red lipstick and cosmetics have come a long way, baby!

Other famous beauties that wore Red Lipstick include: Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Lucile Ball, proving that there's a shade of red lipstick out there for everyone!

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Posted on 02.04.11 at 4:26 PM

Wonderful article (despite the many, many grammar and punctuation errors). More of these, please, outblush!
Do you need, well, yes you do, but would you like an editor? I work for trade.
Thank you.

Pamela Daley

Posted on 02.04.11 at 5:26 PM

I have a couple of degrees in English and i don't see many errors at all.


Posted on 02.08.11 at 12:31 PM

The article is perfect the way it is - it is well written and edited! I would like to see you do better?


Posted on 02.13.11 at 10:21 AM

I saw no errors either - and I also have a degree in writing. I love how she smugly critiques it while giving a backhanded "compliment," then has the audacity to offer her editing services! Classy. Anita, I loved the article. Very well researched and an interesting read. Little did I know that red lipstick was taboo because it reminded people of a vagina! LOL!Now *that's* classy.

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