Saturday, 10 May 2014

History of Lipstick: Part 1 Women's attitude to Lipstick

 Keith Schengili-Roberts, changes made Source  Alan Cleaver, changes made Source, United states domain, Source  Moonik changes made Source                                                                                                                                                
Despite the fact that various forms of lip colour had been worn since Ancient Egypt (by both women and men) the older generation grew up with the idea that lipstick was either only for the stage or for prostitutes. However the next generation were beginning to think differently. Lipstick was adopted by the suffragette movement and became a symbol of women's emancipation. At the New York Suffragette rally in 1912 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman among other women wore lipstick as a symbol of independence from men.

The suffragette movement also coincided with an advance in cosmetics which saw Guerlain forming lip colour into a stick in 1912. This popularised lipstick making it more convenient and more accessible, way beyond the theatre and back rooms.

Increase in factories and populated cities also caused pollution to spread. Make up was being touted as a mask that could protect the face from all the dirt. Cosmetic advertising portrayed the mouth as an innocent hole sucking in germs and that cosmetic products such as lipstick could protect against this.

Applying lipstick was still a messy process until in 1915 Maurice Levy of the Scovil Manufacturing Company in Waterbury invented a metal case that was influenced by the shape of a bullet to contain this lip stick. Called 'Levy Tubes' they were two inches long with a plain dipped nickel finish with a lever on the side to move lipstick up the barrel. Since these tubes could be mass produced this new product was affordable to those in work as well as richer women in society. Some lipstick samples today resemble the original tubes albeit made from plastic.

     Changes made Source

Later the lever was replaced by a screw thread inside that pushed the lipstick up.

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