The Shocking History of Lipstick, The Outlawed Royal Cosmetic


If you’ve ever smeared on
a bright shade of lipstick, you know the power that a tiny
little tube of makeup can hold. But most people have no idea
that this one little cosmetic has a long and storied history
full of baggage, power, criminal activity, and
women’s liberation. Lipstick history dates
back thousands of years to ancient lipstick made
from an unfortunate combo of crushed gemstones and lead. Today, we’re exploring
the history of lipstick. But before we get started,
be sure to subscribe to the Weird History Channel. Oh, and that’s just not enough. Leave a comment and let us
know what random inventions you would like to hear about. OK. Pucker up. We’re going rouge. As you may remember
from previous videos, Elizabeth I was literally
obsessed with a bold red lip. The queen coated her lips
and a half inch of lip paint. You heard that
right, a half inch. At least it probably stayed on
after she had dinner, right? Elizabeth, known as
the Virgin Queen, believed the lipstick
had healing powers and would ward off fatality. Ironically, Elizabeth’s
lipstick actually included a harmful
ingredients, white lead, which slowly poisoned her. At least she looked
chic for her funeral. The queen’s signature
crimson color included other less
lethal ingredients like egg whites and fig milk. Many scholars and probably
Kylie Jenner credit Queen Elizabeth with the
invention of the lip pencil. The queen’s lip
liner pencil was made from a blend of alabaster and
dye, which was dried in the sun before lining the lips. The English
Parliament were so up in arms about lipstick
of all things, that they tried
to ban it in 1650, linking the vise of painting,
wearing black patches, and the immodest dress of women. That effort failed. But sadly in 1770,
Britain did manage to successfully ban lipstick. According to Parliament,
women were tricking men into matrimony by donning
lipstick and other cosmetics. Parliament managed
to link lipstick with witchcraft and promise to
nullify any marriages caused by lipstick. Let’s be honest. If lipstick were actually
a form of witchcraft, you wouldn’t have to
reapply it so often. All women of whatever age,
rank, profession or degree, whether virgins,
maids, or widows that shale from
and after such act, impose upon, seduce, and
betray into matrimony any of His Majesty’s subjects
by the scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial
teeth, false hair, Spanish wool, iron stays,
hoops, high heeled shoes, or bolstered hips shall
incur the penalty of the law and force against witchcraft
and the like, misdemeanors. And their marriages
upon conviction shall become no and void. Let’s take a moment to
say if you marry a woman and change your mind after
she takes off her lipstick and heels, we don’t think
it’s the fault of the woman. But that’s just silly
illogical us talking. But apparently British
parliament in 1770 disagreed. In the early 20th
century, lipstick was associated with rebellion. And famous suffragettes
declared lipstick assigned a female emancipation. In the 1912 New York
suffragette rally, women appeared with red lips
to signal their independence. The trend caught on, partly
because it shocked men to see women applying
lipstick in public. They were so much
more innocent then. In the 1920s, flappers
don scarlet lips to shock their elders. One commentator in 1923
wrote, “Probably the lipstick has aroused sharper
critical rage than any other
whimsicality of women. It can appear to have seized
the feminine imagination more violently than any other
specific device of fashion.” A new generation gap appeared
with young women flocking to buy newly invented
tubes of lipstick while their mothers
shun the practice. At the time, lipstick
was pretty damn punk. Bright red lipstick
roared back into fashion during World War II for
a surprising reason. Believe it or not amongst many
other things, Adolf Hitler also reportedly hated red lipstick. Women flooded the factories
in the battlefields in the 1940s
wearing red lipstick as a sign of
patriotism and bravery. The Marines took this
trend a step further by creating a mandatory
lipstick for female Marines called Montezuma Red. The red color represented
the American flag and came to symbolize strength. Early Christian writers were
so intimidated by lipstick, that they actually
declared lipstick a sin. St. Jerome said wearing
lipstick was an act against God because it changed
women’s appearance. Similarly, St. Cyprian
condemned women for wearing any cosmetics. All women in general
should be warned that the work of God and
his creature and image should in no way be
falsified by employing yellow coloring or black
powder or Rouge, or finally, any cosmetic at all that
spoils the natural features. They are laying
hands on God when they strive to remake
what he has made and to transform it not
knowing that everything that comes into existence
is the work of God, that whatever has changed
is the work of the devil. For the Egyptians, makeup wasn’t
just a feminine phenomenon. Egyptian men and women
both wore lip color, including bold choices like
orange, blue, and magenta lips. Talk about high fashion. Egyptians applied the lip color
using a wet stick of wood. And wealthy Egyptians were
buried with at least two pots of lip color. Cleopatra ordered
custom lipsticks with unusual ingredients. Her signature red lip was
created from crushed bugs. Other ingredients included
flowers, fish scales, and red ocher. Pucker up Mark Antony and
be sure to hold your breath. Lipstick is older
than you might think. In fact, it dates
all the way back to Queen Shubad of
ancient Sumeria. The queen donned a lip color
made from white led and crushed red rocks. The Queens trendy red lip
wasn’t her only contribution to history. When Shubad’s tomb was
discovered in Ur in the 1920s, scholars were shocked at
the wealth represented in the queen’s burial space. The tomb also contained the
skeletons of 23 female servants who were terminated for the sole
purpose of being buried next to the queen, so they could be
her servants in the next life. Later, Sumerian royal tombs
also included lit paints for the afterlife, which
were stored in shelves. Maybe she was intending to
give all her murdered servants the lipstick in the next lives. Or maybe it’s Maybelline. While the British may have
rudely outlawed lipstick, it was still a popular choice
in the good old US of A, or more accurately,
the American colonies. Colonial women changed
their lip color by rubbing red ribbons on
their lips and sucking lemons. One colonial era
liquor brand even promised it would change
the drinkers lips red. They were probably
getting the lips confused with the nose and Gin Blossoms. Martha Washington,
the first lady had her own recipe
for lip rouge. She blended hogs
lard with spermaceti found in the guts of whales. That sounds truly disgusting. Ancient Greeks discouraged most
women from wearing lipstick. However, harlots,
were encouraged to wear lip color so there
would be easier to identify. In fact, the first lipstick
law threatened punishments for harlots who appeared
in public without lipstick. The Greeks thought
harlots would trick men into thinking that they
were ladies with a nude lip, showing that even
thousands of years ago, lipstick carried in
association with sexuality, and was used as an excuse
to divide and oppress women. The recipe for Greek lit
paint included ingredients like crocodile dung,
sheep sweat, and red dye. Did they have to
use crocodile dung? Apparently, yes. By the late 19th
century, lipstick was growing in
popularity because all the hot and cool Victorian
era chicks started wearing it. In the ‘1880s, the French
cosmetic brand Guerlain sold the first commercially
successful lipstick made from grapefruit and butter. However, while lipstick
started popping up in department stores,
putting on lipstick was considered an intensely
private experience. Actress Sarah Bernhardt caused
a major scandal in the 1800s simply by applying her
lipstick in public. To us modern folk, that
may sound extremely normal. But if you weren’t
at 1800s person, it would have been
some seriously hot gas. By the 1600s, English
aristocrat began wearing lip coloring
including noblemen. Certain shades of
lipstick became associated with
the upper classes acting as a visual marker
for the social classes. In the court of Edward IV,
men and women wore lip color. The King even wore lipstick
including an official royal color called raw flesh. The Victorians generally
avoided lipstick, preferring a bare lipped look. Makeup let women
inflate their value by making them appear
more beautiful, the Victorians reasoned, making
lipstick a big no-no for them. Queen Victoria herself
claimed makeup was impolite. During her reign, only
harlots and actresses colored their lips. However, other
women still chased the look of painted lips
through more secretive means. Some bit their lips
to make them more red. Others bought tinted lip balm
claiming they were simply for chapped lips. Where there’s a will for cute
red lips, there is a way. By the ’30s lipstick
was in Vogue, and it was literally in Vogue. Vogue magazine proclaimed
lipstick the most important cosmetic for women in 1933. Even during the
Great Depression, lipstick sales soared. The 1930s saw another important
milestone in lipstick history. Max Factor, makeup artist to
the stars, invented lip gloss. Thank god, because who doesn’t
like a little lip gloss? Originally, lip gloss
was made for movie stars, but the draw Hollywood
soon popularized the look around the world. Since the 1950s, red lipstick
has been in and out of fashion about a million times. Associated with megastars
like Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s, red lipstick fell
out of fashion in the 1960s with the rise of a
more natural look. Feminists and hippies were
into the whole Au natural thing and rejected makeup. The 60s wave of
feminism declared lipstick a sign of oppression. The disco era saw a
Renaissance for red lips, as glam rockers and disco
Queens both donned lipstick. In the 1980s, red lipstick faced
stiff competition from pink and rose shades while
the 1990s saw the rise in nude and brown tones. Today, bright red lipstick
remains a popular option with stars like Taylor
Swift bringing back the classic red lip. If you thought Kylie Jenner
invented lipstick in 2016, think again. So what shape do you
think looks good on me? Let us know in the
comments below. And while you’re at it, check
out some of these other videos from our Weird History.

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