Happy 5000th birthday, lipstick! Actually, no… Today is not the 5000th anniversary of the invention of lipstick… but it is National Lipstick Day, and lipstick was estimated to have been invented around 5000 years ago in ancient Sumeria.So, put the two together, and I guess… we can eat cake?
Lipstick was supposedly originally made of crushed gemstones by Sumerian men and women (how awesome is that? Probably chaffing though…). Over the years, though, it became slightly more refined, and a bit more skin-friendly. In England, the craze for red lips was ignited by Elizabeth I, who wore a stain made of beeswax and crushed plants, contrasting her lips to her ash-white face.
However, the fashion became associated with ladies of disrepute over the years, and it wasn’t until the 1880s when lipstick began to be created commercially – before then, you would have mixed your own at home. According to a contemporary report from the The Times, makeup was finally socially acceptable for the fashionable set in London in the 1920s – and we haven’t stopped being obsessed with it since!
Original lipstick colours were limited to dark reds, but Elizabeth Arden introduced a range of colours in the 1930s, and soon other companies followed suit. These days, nude and soft browns are probably the staple of most beauty bags, but I thought I’d share five lipsticks from my own collection with you, all of which have a deeper meaning to me!
(Top to bottom: Burberry English Rose, Charlotte Tilbury Hepburn Honey, Dior 999, Bobbi Brown Twilight Pink, MAC Hot Tahiti)
This is the classic red lip, as far as I’m concerned. I love to delve into the history of established (and new!) brands, to get the stories behind some of the products we take for granted. So when it came to buying a red lipstick, I wanted one with a bit of heritage and old school glam.Dior 999 was the obvious choice for me, as it’s actually a reproduction of the first lipstick that Christian Dior created in 1955, which he called Dior 9. It’s since been reformulated and this shade was introduced in 2013 for Dior’s 60th anniversary. It’s super bold and I usually save it for occasions where I’m already feeling confident and happy!
Charlotte Tilbury, Hepburn Honey
Hepburn Honey wasn’t my first CT lipstick (that was Bitch Perfect), but it definitely is my favourite. It’s part of The Sophisticate Look, and I love the neutral brown tone. I also love the philosophy of Charlotte Tilbury herself – her ethos of enhancing beauty and adding a massive dose of glamour to everyday life. Personally, I’m not at all a beauty expert, but Charlotte’s products make it so easy to put together polished looks that I’m currently addicted to buying her palettes. Right now, Hepburn Honey is usually in my bag somewhere whenever I go out.
Burberry, English Rose
Burberry isn’t exactly one of the big names in make-up, but when they launched their new nail varnishes in 2014, I loved the colours so much I rushed out and bought about four of them in the first few months. One of the colours I picked up was English Rose, and when I noticed there was a lipstick with the same name, I snapped that up too. It was part of my everyday make-up for a long time, before I turned to Hepburn Honey. It’s a lot pinker than my usual colours, but I couldn’t resist the name, and it’s a great colour to wear if you’re after a neutral that’s a little bit more striking. It also has a creamy consistency, and a slight floral scent that reminds me of my nan!
Bobbi Brown, Twilight Pink
This is the colour I wore on my wedding day. I had my make-up done at Bobbi Brown to try out some ideas, and loved the blue-tinged, shimmery pink shade so much that I bought it right away and then insisted the beauticians use that colour instead of the one they’d already picked out when they put together my wedding make-up look. Back in 2010 I was only starting to get into make-up – especially spending a lot of money on make-up – and so this was the first proper ‘I’m now an adult’ colour I had. It means a lot to me because of the association I have with my wedding day, but I have to confess I rarely wear it now – and they don’t make it any more, either (I’ve linked to a Twilight Shimmer gloss instead!).
MAC, Hot Tahiti
This was the first red lipstick I ever bought, and I associate it with happiness, sunshine and buckets of confidence. I wore it all the time during my honeymoon in the Caribbean, and so when I think of it, I just think of beaches, tropical flowers and sparkling waves. The colour isn’t one of MAC’s classic reds, but it’s the one that suits me best – it’s actually a soft coral-red, and it’s a bit darker than 999’s true red. It’s still available, and something’s telling me to buy another tube…
What’s your favourite lipstick colour? Are there any shades that are dear to your heart for the memories they hold? Let me know below!
(Top left, clockwise: Dior 999, Burberry English Rose, Charlotte Tilbury Hepburn Honey, MAC Hot Tahiti, Bobbi Brown Twilight Pink.)