This Is the Story of How Lipstick Became Your Beauty BFF
Class is in session.
Charlotte Tilbury very accurately says that lipstick is happiness in a tube. And at MIMI, we probably don't go a day without it—and we can attest that just a swipe of a bright red or a pop of pink can drastically improve your mood and make you more confident. It's basically the modern woman's war paint. Given that it makes such a darn huge impact in our lives, not to mention has a place in every single one of our handbags, we should know a thing or two about how this miniature miracle came to be. Well, don't you worry because, in celebration of National Lipstick Day, we made a timeline of some of the biggest and most important moments in lipstick history.
And to make sure we didn't miss any of the important moments, we checked in with our beauty bible, Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge, and MUA Duo/Sisters Extraordinaire Sam and Nic Chapman of Pixiwoo and Real Techniques fame.
So where does this journey start? Historians credit the Ancient Sumerians as the first to engage in the practice of tinting their lips. And man are we glad they did. Then, fast forward to the 16th century AD in England where Queen Elizabeth I reigned supreme. Not only was she a totally bada** queen, but she also started that whole minimal face and bright lip trend. Honestly, I don't know why that's not mentioned more often. That's still trendy in 2016.
Almost three centuries later, the first commercially available lipstick was invented in Paris, and by the very end of the 19th century, Guerlain Paris had begun to manufacture lipstick. From there on out, lipstick started to become a big deal.
Eldridge writes in Face Paint that in 1912, Suffragettes were first seen wearing defiant red lips while campaigning for the right to vote, which gives the phrase "bold lip" a whole new meaning. Not too long after, in 1915, the first portable lipstick container was invented, thus changing our lives forever.
According to the Chapman sisters, things really got kicked up a notch in the 1930s when Elizabeth Arden began to introduce different lipstick colors. #GameChanger. But don't worry, red wasn't displaced for long, because in the 1950s Marilyn Monroe re-invented the deep red lip trend, and I'm pretty sure that still stands today. Another cool moment in lipstick history? The Chapmans tell us that in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II created her own shade of lipstick for her coronation—the Balmoral—and it even matched her coronation robes. That takes bespoke to an epic new level.
By the time the swingin' 60s rolled around, white lipstick and super pale or pastel options were the new craze. Think Twiggy and Edie Sedgwick doing the twist with the most perfect peach pouts you've ever seen. And let's not forget when Audrey Hepburn, in her life-changing role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, made us all want to turn our apartment mailboxes into mini vanities so that we are not far from a perfectly peachy lipstick touch-up as we whisk our way out to whistle for a cab.
And then the 70s rolled around, with all of its high octane glamor. So what did that mean for lipstick exactly? Black lipstick made its debut on the scene. But, all but a decade later, a new trend had taken over the lipstick universe: semi-matte lipsticks. As for the 90s, it was all about the brown lip, made famous the world over by the OG supermodels (we're looking at you Cindy Crawdford), and actresses like Winona Ryder. We've been channeling this a lot lately, and you probably have been, too.
But then we ushered in the turn of the century and with the panic of Y2K (lol, that's a serious #TBT you guys), neon lips basically took over the world. The brighter the better when it came to pinks, oranges, and coral colors. Can you say, "Hi Maybelline Baby Lips!" FYI, did you know that it's a backstage NYFW staple? True story.
And for a period, lipstick's baby sis, lip gloss gave her a run for her money. But don't you worry, because by 2015 lipstick was reigning queen once more, so much so that by the time we got to the present day, it literally opened the door for the Kylie Lip Kit to take over the world.
With that force of nature came the freedom to wear a lipstick in every color you could want and imagine. Bold lips can now mean a sapphire blue or a bright violet or a deep green. Which is pretty darn rad, especially now that we have a new collection of Maybelline Loaded Bolds with pretty much every color you could imagine wanting to play with. Black. Blue. Red. Purple—you name it, Maybelline's got it.
And there you have it—that's how lipstick became your beauty BFF.