10 Surprising Facts about Lipstick That Will Blow Your Mind
For many of us, lipstick is truly the holy grail of beauty products. It can range from bold and graphic to classically beautiful, and nowadays the sky is the limit when it comes to colors. We think that lipstick is like the exclamation point of the face – it’s exciting, confident, and it makes a point! However, lipstick is hardly a modern invention, and it’s entrenched in our social history dating all the way back to Mesopotamian society. Royals, actors, and even the legendary David Bowie have rocked lipstick since mirrors existed (and possibly even before). What’s not to love?
Ancient Romans used lipstick to prove they were cool
Okay, maybe ‘cool’ wasn’t the colloquial term back in those days, but both women and men in Ancient Rome used lipstick as an indication of social status. If you wore red, orange, or black lipstick, you were la crème de la crème of Roman society and probably got invited to all the good parties. Alternatively, in Ancient Greece red lipstick was the trademark of a prostitute. Laws even decreed that prostitutes could not go outside without lipstick on; in the off chance that they might deceive others into thinking they were just normal, everyday citizens. Yeesh.
Queen Elizabeth has her own signature shade
Right, so not only does Lizzie have a pack of corgi minions, a plethora of fabulous royal jewels, and you know, the divine right to rule, she also has her own lipstick shade. Girls got it figured out. Her Royal Highness decided that for her coronation in 1952 (yes, we just watched The Crown on Netflix) she needed her own cool red shade that would work well with her outfit and skin tone, so she commissioned a lipstick that she named ‘The Balmoral’ after one of her palaces. The envy (and admiration) is real.
Lipstick is recession-proof
Lipstick saw many of us through the recent global recession in 2007-8, but apparently lipstick has been boosting the morale of ladies (and men) throughout recessions in history. According to studies done by Harvard, lipstick sales actually raise during periods of economic depression. During the Great Depression of the 1920’s, lipstick sales increased by 25%. The studies suggest that women may purchase lipstick as a method of attracting a financially secure mate during a time of economic instability. We think the ladies may just want an affordable way to get a shopping rush…but who knows?
Lipstick is proven to attract men
Well, sort of! The University of Manchester conducted a study, which concluded that men will look at a woman wearing red lipstick for 5.1 seconds longer than a woman with bare lips (and a woman wearing pink lipstick falls somewhere in the middle). We think it’s up to the woman to be cool, interesting, and intelligent if they really want to be attractive, but it sounds like wearing a red lipstick is a great way to make the first move!
Guerlain made the first ‘real’ lipstick in 1880
The iconic fashion house was the first company to produce and market a lipstick for mass consumption, and they created the formula from grapefruit, butter and wax. The mix sounds a little gross, but we think we’d trust Guerlain enough to pick up a tube anyway. By 1938 (less than 60 years later) over half of women owned at least one tube of lipstick – so it’s safe to say that Guerlain was onto something.
Red lipstick is Liz Taylor’s thing
You can’t wear red lipstick, sorry not sorry. That is, at least, how the urban legend goes. According to popular myth, Elizabeth Taylor banned any women from wearing red lipstick on her movie sets – aside from her, of course. It’s a pretty big diva move, but she’s right about one thing – red lipstick is eye-catching, head-turning, and really raises the bar when it comes to looking fabulous.
The average lady spends $1,780 on lipstick in one lifetime
To be fair, that doesn’t sound like very much. We suspect we may be on the high end of that average, considering our Sephora VIB Rouge status. For reference, $1,780 on lipstick is like buying 890 real coffees at Starbucks, or 356 mostly-syrup-and-whipped-cream coffees at Starbucks. We think it’s a low enough number to justify going out and grabbing a few more shades at Sephora…be right back.
Sir Winston Churchill got it
During the Second World War, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was forced to ration many luxury goods, such as butter, fruit, and chocolate. He also chose to ration every single cosmetic item – except for lipstick. Churchill decided to avoid lipstick sanctions, because he believed that it boosted morale. As a result, lipstick sales continued to rise during WWII, and in post-war interviews, British women recalled wearing pin curls and red lipstick to their factory jobs – even with teeth chipped from stray shrapnel.
Feminists wear red lipstick
We kind of knew that already, and probably could have told you that feminists are confident and strong, and confident strong women like to wear red lipstick. But here are the real details: in 1912 when women were fighting for the right to vote, suffragettes Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wore red lipstick as a symbol of their endeavors for equality. You can choose to wear red lipstick nowadays if you feel like making a political statement, or wear it just because red lipstick makes you feel awesome!
Women buy lipstick on rainy days
Studies have shown that sales of lipstick actually increase on days with poor weather, whether it’s cloudy, gloomy, or rainy. It makes total sense to us – we love how the pop of bright red lipstick contrasts with a grey-hued backdrop. Not only is wearing bright lipstick a great pick-me-up when you look in the mirror, but it’s a pretty fantastic way to improve the mood of everyone around you too.