Lipsticks are on the most integral parts of our daily makeup routines, it’s quite interesting to see how something so simple, yet elegant can elevate your makeup look for from zero to a hundred within a quick second. The history of red lipstick is a colorful, tumultuous one, charged with centuries of significance. Lipstick dates back to the early centuries, ancient lipstick made from crushed gemstones, lead, and historians consider ancient Sumerians in 3500 BC southern Mesopotamia to be the first inventors of lipstick. Red rocks were crushed into a powder to tint the lips red. Others like to credit the birth of lipstick to the ancient Egyptian elites, where Cleopatra was known to wear lip paint created using crushed insects mixed into a vibrant paste of red waxes.
According to Rachel Felder – author of “Red Lipstick – An ode to a Beauty Icon”; the color red symbolizes a mighty cultural weapon, female strength and liberation. “Red Lipstick is truly a way to trace cultural history and societal zeitgeist”. Through the centuries, red lipstick has greatly empowered women through suffrage movements, women rights groups across Europe, New Zealand and Australia organizing marches and military strategies. Popularized in the 20th century, we could see groups like America Suffrage movement, the British Suffrage movement and the Fifth Avenue Suffrage Movement in New York City.
Predominantly through a long period of time, we have come to learn about different ways in which women have skillfully used fascinating things to reclaim their freedom, liberation and expression. Red lipstick has served as a political statement is even seen today.
- In 2018, Nicaraguan men and women sported red lipstick and uploaded photos of themselves to social media to show their support for the release of anti-government protesters. In Chile in 2019, almost 10,000 women took to the streets with black blindfolds and red lips to denounce sexual violence in the country.
- In 1941 and for the duration of the war, red lipstick became mandatory for women who joined the US Army. Beauty brands had capitalized on the wartime trend, with Elizabeth Arden releasing "Victory Red" and Helena Rubenstein introducing "Regimental Red," among others. But it was Arden who the American government asked to create a regulation lip and nail color for serving women. Her "Montezuma Red" matched and accentuated their uniforms' red piping.
- In a viral image from 2015, a Macedonian woman kissed an officer's riot shield during an anti-government protest, leaving a red kiss mark in a poignant moment of rebellion.
- Last December, nearly 10,000 women in Chile took to the streets wearing black blindfolds, red scarves, and red lips to denounce sexual violence in the country.
Using red lips, women have created a new movement for themselves. by themselves. Solely for their empowerment and creativity. It’s powerful, elegant, and flattering. It’s bold, creative, undeniably feminine, and visually powerful.