Although lip paints have been used for millennia, dating as far back as 7000 B.C. in Sumeria, lipstick as we know it today is a 20th century invention. The first lipstick crayon was used by German actors in the 1860s, courtesy of one Charles Meyer, but the first sliding tube for lip color was a metal one designed by American Maurice Levy in 1915; before that, lip coloring had usually been in containers like those used for lip gloss today. Less direct methods than actual paint were often prefered in the past: both Victorian-period Westerners and Japanese women might color their lips subtly by kissing a piece of thin red paper; biting one's lips was a common methods of reddening them; and Gibson girls often tried sucking on hot cinnamon drops. Movie actresses in the 1920s helped popularize lipstick as an acceptable thing for women to wear; even during the Great Depression, a 1938 survey showed 58% of households owning at least one lipstick (only one percent less than owned so commonplace an object as a jar of mustard).

Past lip color formulas include such combinations as henna and carmine (Ptolomaic Egypt); crushed red rocks (Ur); ochre, iron ore, and fucus (Imperial Rome); cochineal, gum arabic, egg white, and fig milk (Elizabethan England); "caul of mutton," wax, carmine, and roses (1700s Europe); pomade of grapefruit, butter, and wax (the Guerlain company in 1820s France); beeswax, olive oil, and cochineal, which is crushed insect bodies (1920s, throughout the Western World). Some of these combinations were harmful to the skin or even poisonous (lead, mercury, and arsenic have all been used in the past), and in the U.S. it was 1938 before cosmetic ingredients were government-regulated.

Nowadays, all lipsticks have three components: a wax to make it solid enough for stick form; an emollient oil for softness and lubrication, and pigment. Generally the pigments are mixed with castor oil and ground until extremely smooth and nonabrasive to the lips (since many of them are powdered metallic compounds such as titanium oxide or iron oxide). The wax and emollient are mixed separately, with the pigment paste added after the right color is achieved. The mixture is melted and put into molds, and after about fifteen minutes of cooling, a recognizable lipstick is created. Other ingredients such as moisturizers or sunscreen may have also been added before molding. (And yes, the e-mail forward is somewhat true: fish scales may be used to create a pearly shine.)

Ragas, Meg Cohen, and Karen Kozlowski. Read My Lips: A Cultural History of Lipstick. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1998.

Lipstick smeared across a straightforward, or a sidelong smile is all charming and dazzling and nutritive. It has that pristine and poised air and it feels reassuringly opaque upon your lips. If I were a boy I would feel fantastically left out; either that or I would take to wearing makeup anyway. It is welcoming and pleasing, but the problem is that unless you have industrial strength, waterproof, soap proof, everything proof lipstick, the attention it brings you can only really be kept at arm’s length.. nobody wants to kiss a boy and get lipstick all over their mouth. It is glamorous and lush, it paints a question mark and an ellipsis upon a person…

or maybe i am going too far with my glorification.. Lipstick means you are never in a rush, never ruffled. And yet it is the quickest way to transform your appearance. It is precise but certainly not mathematical. Depending on what shade you wear, it can either flaunt or veil. It is ornamental, and graceful without having to act sugary.

My favourite of course is red lipstick.. any red, bruised red, slut red, ruby red, brooding red, demure red, mulberry.. juliet said that she preferred a blue-based red lipstick, and this is good because any blue-based lipstick makes your teeth appear whiter.

I hear it is important that the colour you select complements your skin tone (and the rest of your makeup)
  • If you have olive skin you should opt for warm undertones to brighten the skin, for instance, light brown, raisin, or brownish reds such as blackberry and wine.
  • If you have a dark complexion you look best with deep reds with dark blue or purple undertones, or deep browns with purple, blue or wine undertones.
  • If you have a fair complexion you must stick with warm peach or pink undertones,
  • While those with pale skin (!yyyyyeeeey! that’s me!) can get away with wearing almost any colour, depending on whether you choose to be subtle or dramatic.

Finding Your Formulation:
Do not do the old cliché thing if testing the colour on the back of your hand. Instead, dab the colour on your fingertip, which is nearer to the colour of your lips. You can then also hold your finger near your mouth to see how the colour suits.

Once you have found the most favorable shade, it is time to consider the effect you desire.

  • Glossy finishes give a sheer coverage but need to be reapplied often.
  • Creamy finishes give you opaque coverage with a trace of shine, and are also enriched with conditioners which make them an ideal formulation for those prone to dry lips.
  • Matt finishes give a flawless coverage, and last forever, but tend to be drying, and look flat, so to overcome this you may opt for a semi-matt finish, which dry more flatteringly.
  • Lip gloss is pretty and youthful and dewy but it slides off very very easily. To help it stay put, you may prime your lips with a lip pencil in a shade closest to the natural colour of your lips. Then you can apply the gloss to the centre of the top and bottom lip, and purse them together. This gives you an illusion of all over shine, without the problem of it vanishing.
  • Sheer lipsticks give your lips a faint wash of colour, but is longer lasting than gloss.

  • If you’d like to wear dramatic lipstick, but have reservations regarding your application skills, use your fingertip to dab and stain your lips, the coat them with gloss.
  • Lick the rim of the coffee mug (discreetly, hehe) before drinking to avoid leaving a lipstick mark.
  • To avoid ending up with lipstick on your teeth, suck your finger and then pull it out slowly. This gets rid of the excess.
  • If your lipstick feathers or ‘bleeds’ outside of your lip line, use a lip liner to shade the entire lip area before applying lipstick. Also, matt finishes help.
  • As you get older, avoid wearing frosty lipsticks as they highlight lines around your mouth.

Telling your personality by the shape of your lipstick:
After a while, if you apply your lipstick without a brush, it will acquire a particular shape.
  • If your lipstick wears flat, you are apparently a relaxed, sporty person who loves the outdoors.
  • If it is rounded, you are gentle and romantic.
  • If it is an angular, slanted edge, you are articulate and well-balanced.
  • If it has a whistle shape, you are outgoing, and dominating.

PS. It is more economical to use a brush to apply your lipstick. Its is estimated that you will get twenty times more usage.

Another little known factoid: lipstick must have a very precise melting point. It should not melt in the tube, but it should soften for application on the lips. The melting point of the fats in lipstick has to be higher than room temperature, but lower than body temperature (since the lips are often not at core body temp, the lipstick would be too hard to apply if it melted at body temperature).

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