The wonderful classic red lipstick, mother of them all! In fact the French word rouge, which has been used interchangeably for lipstick for a very long time, straight up means red.
One of my absolute favourite look of all time is to sport a classic red lip. I’m kind of obsessed with the absolute gorgeousness, elegance and sophistication that a proper red lipstick can make any woman exude. Personally, I find it especially beautiful when paired with a very clean and fresh face accentuated with some thinly lined and winged black eyeliner and plush lashes. My favourite part about red lipsticks is the fact that a nice shade of red lips can be universally flattering on women of all skin tone.
Now here’s some super interesting background info about this timeless style staple. It is said that women from ancient Mesopotamia and Indus Valley civilizations were the first ladies to enhance the sexiness of their lips via the decorative application of crushed gemstones (think: modern glitterati lips for imagination’s sake).
Their contemporary, the ancient Egyptian ladies were not to be left behind and became the first ones to apply red lipstick in the form of red dye. This was extracted from some dangerous chemical elements and seaweed, which unfortunately lead to harmful illnesses.
It was really during the Islamic golden age that the invention of actual solid perfumed sticks for the lips were made. These were fortunately safe as the man behind it happened to be one of the greatest medieval surgeons ever, Abu al-Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbas Al-Zahrawi a.k.a Albucasis.
In any case, from epic beginnings the red lipsticks (pretty much the only lipstick) went through some sad periods, especially in Europe. Lipsticks and make-up in general were shunned upon by the church due to being considered affairs of satan and proper for prostitutes. Whoa! Can you imagine living in medieval times and having to deal with those racoon-eyes days while concealers = being damned to hell?! &!#%####%&%%#!
Thankfully toward the end of the 19th century things started looking up for lipsticks and red lips became glamorous. Largely helped by technological changes as cameras came into existence and lipsticks looked HOT in pictures. So, the ladies gradually started accepting it. Early sellers included the Parisian Guerlain in Europe while Elizabeth Arden and Estee Lauder popularly sold in their American salons. It was really toward the 1930s that different shades of lipsticks started emerging after Elizabeth Arden introduced it. Of course from 1910s to modern times, there were many other social ordeals and implications for the red lips. It went from power and authority all the way to being scandalous and rebellious.
Let’s just put it this way, I’m glad our favourite lipstick went through the eventful past that it did so that we can comfortably enjoy it now, aren’t you?
I, personally, love almost every shade of red from the deep maroon-burgundy-brickish colours all the way to the bright coral-pastel-y shades. They can go from elegant and glamorous to fun and dynamic – a definite beauty must-have! So on that happy note, what’s you favourite red lipstick?
PS: Today, CharLie and I are making a super exciting outing for an exhibition that is literally making me giddy with joy. I’m so freaking happy she caught wind of it! It would have been the saddest thing to miss it. She’s going to be making a fabulous post on it soon!! Also, in case you were wondering, the lipsticks in the pictures used are by: Chanel, Dior, Elizabeth Arden, Givenchy and Tom Ford. Can’t wait to rock the red lips and winged eyeliner today!;)