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A Brief History of Lipstick

SpecialChem / Nick Morante – Aug 10, 2007

Lipstick in some shape or form has been around for as long as recorded time. The ancient Egyptians probably invented lipstick. From their paintings we can see highly stylized and painted faces. History tells us that ancient Egyptians first used henna to paint their lips. Later on a reddish purple mercuric plant dye called fucus (containing algin, traces of iodine, and bromine mannite) was used for lip rouge. These ancient Egyptians did not know that this combination although quite vivid and beautiful, it was highly poisonous. Queen Elizabeth I of Great Britain and other women of her reign whitened their faces with white lead before applying red to their lips and cheeks. Later on in British history, Queen Victoria publicly declared makeup impolite. It was viewed as vulgar and something that was worn by actors and prostitutes. In England's Edwardian Society, Queen Alexandra (Queen Victoria's daughter-in-law) flaunted her make-up and shocked and amused her observers. In the 1980's fluorescent colors are seen in lip products at the cosmetics counters.

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