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A History of the Classic Red Lip


A History of the Classic Red Lip

A history of the classic red lip stretches further than the silver screen and its favor with Hollywood starlets. The classic red lip has been a favorite of women across cultures and history since some of the earliest records of modern civilization.

If red is your signature color, you may not know where this lipstick trend came from and to fully understand the allure of this timeless trend we need to look at the women who pioneered its movement through history.

Early Beginnings

The classic red lip began in the cradle of modern day civilization – in ancient Mesopotamia, now modern day Iraq. To achieve that healthy, rosy tint these pioneers of makeup would crush red rocks and gemstones into the earliest lip tint ever. Once this look had reached the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra VII, she had to design her own signature red, crushing ants and carmine in a base of beeswax to achieve her own, let’s call it “fire ant red”.

Ancient China was also a fan of the red lip trend. Here women would paint a large dot on the lower lip and a point on the upper lip or paint the shape of a cherry. This “cherry red” (please try Red Cherry LipSense instead!) was also an iconic signature of the geisha of Japan. Their famous center-lip look was painstakingly made of mashed petals of the yellow-orange safflower. Iridescent when dry, each lip paint pot took 2,000 safflowers to make.

England and France were not left out of this red lip trend. During the Dark and Middle Ages, “lip rouge” was worn by the lower class of England, Germany, Spain, and Ireland. Their ingredient of choice? Herbal and plant-based dyes. But ever the trend-setter, Queen Elizabeth I revived the look among the upper class and it thrived once again.

classic-red-lip-stickRed Lips and the Silver Screen

In the late 1800’s, actresses were known to wear red lipstick since they needed to darken their natural lip color in order to stand out on black-and-white film. This lipstick, though advanced from crushed red rock or ants and carmine, was colored with dye made from cochineal insect scales. Cochineal insects are tiny beetles that feed on red cactus berries, and when crushed, produce a powerful red dye. The grossest part? It’s still commonly used in lipstick (but not in LipSense)!

Early lipsticks were not the tubes you may imagine. Instead, they were often carried in small pots, cardboard, or silk paper and were often applied with a brush. In 1915 the first metal lipstick tube was created and within years, major beauty companies including Chanel, Elizabeth Arden, and Estée Lauder started selling lipstick.

By the 1940’s the trend was unstoppable. The great Elizabeth Taylor is quoted in this era for saying,

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”

By the 1950s, red lipstick was widespread and starlets of the silver screen such as Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, and Ava Gardner propelled its popularity even further. By the late 50’s, 98 percent of U.S. women were wearing lipstick. In fact, other colors outside of the classic red lip didn’t surface until the 1960’s and 70’s. With each new decade new colors of lipstick continued to be created, but red–always the original—stood the test of time.

LipSense, History’s Longest Lasting Lip Color

LipSense is a lipstick game-changer and it ISN’T made from crushed up beetles. LipSense reds do not contain lead and they stay on lips so they are not ingested by the consumer unlike other wax based lip products. SeneGence products do not contain, nor have they ever contained any amount of lead.

Key Components of LipSense:

  • Denatured Alcohol: used as a delivery system for the color technology; creates a germ and bacteria-free environment.
  • Paeonia Suffruticosa Root (Tree Peony) Extract: a natural calming plum flower herb.
  • Hypericum Perforatum (St. John’s Wort) Extract: also known as St John’s Wort, a natural herb used to elevate mood and treat depression.
  • SenseCosmetics with SenePlex
  • Tilia Cordata (Linden) Flower Extract: a natural flower extract rich in flavonoids and a powerful anti-oxidant.
  • Isodonis Japonicus Extract: Fragrant plant extract that contains terpenes, shown to have medicinal properties to soothe skin.
  • Mica: an earth mineral used to give products sparkle and shine.
  • Titanium Dioxide: an inert earth mineral used as a thickening ingredient and sunscreen in cosmetics. It protects skin from UVA and UVB radiation and is considered to have no risk of skin irritation.

Note:  Just as important as what is in LipSense, is what is not! LipSense is formulated with no wax, lead, or animal by-products (AKA, no beetles!)

classic-beautyA Modern Day Classic

Today, women of all ages and cultures continue to wear the classic red lip.  From ancient Mesopotamia, to your grandmother, to Gwen Stefani, red lips remain a truly timeless favorite of the cosmetic world since its creation. Whether you favor Christina Aguilera red (Blu Red LipSense) or Angelina Jolie’s (Crimson LipSense), the red lip — and its powerful effects — are clearly here to stay.

New to LipSense? Learn more about the marvel here.

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