Evolution Of Lipstick

Pick-me-upper, instant glam update or a classic – but call it what you may, lipstick has been an integral part of an urban girl’s life. StyleCracker traces its evolution.


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Lipstick becomes popular. Maurice Levy invents the first metal lipstick tube. By 1923, the modern swivel lipstick tube is patented and companies like Chanel, Guerlain, Elizabeth Arden start to manufacture the lipstick.


Marketing and advertising play a huge role in lipstick sales. Helena Rubenstein, founder of Helena Rubenstein make-up, is the first to advertise lipstick as having sun protection (before SPF was even considered important). Manufacturers label lipstick ‘an important part of the war effort’, urging women to do their part in the war by wearing more of it.


1950 lipsticks
Lipstick becomes scarce because of the war, so chemist Hazel Bishop develops a ‘No-Smear Lipstick.’ The first of its kind, this revolutionary lipstick is said to stay put all day. Companies like Maybelline, Revlon, and CoverGirl rely on marketing campaigns targeted to their core audiences (girls aged 16 and above) and by the late 1940s, 90 per cent of American women are wearing lipstick.


Glamazons like Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, and Elizabeth Taylor help elevate lipstick wear to 98 per cent of women in the U.S. Estée Lauder introduces her gift with purchase program, a sign of popularity of cosmetic sales.


New colors of lipstick emerge, pushing red lipstick out of the spotlight once again. In its place, beige and white lipsticks become popular during the Modern era of the 1960s and during the 1970s, the punk movement sees a surge in black and purple lipstick.


M.A.C. introduces their first line of lipsticks and Madonna makes ‘Russian Red’ popular by wearing it on her ‘Virgin World Tour’.



The fresh face look, with muted lips or glossy dark, berry lips, is used to create the goth look.


The lip colour and care industry is evolving every second. From primers to lip pencils to ombre lips colours to multi-dimensional tones, there’s something out there for every one. The key is to experiment and have fun!