The Shocking History of Lipstick, The Outlawed Royal Cosmetic

The Shocking History of Lipstick, The Outlawed Royal Cosmetic

If you’ve ever smeared on
a bright shade of lipstick, you know the power that a tiny
little tube of makeup can hold. But most people have no idea
that this one little cosmetic has a long and storied history
full of baggage, power, criminal activity, and
women’s liberation. Lipstick history dates
back thousands of years to ancient lipstick made
from an unfortunate combo of crushed gemstones and lead. Today, we’re exploring
the history of lipstick. But before we get started,
be sure to subscribe to the Weird History Channel. Oh, and that’s just not enough. Leave a comment and let us
know what random inventions you would like to hear about. OK. Pucker up. We’re going rouge. As you may remember
from previous videos, Elizabeth I was literally
obsessed with a bold red lip. The queen coated her lips
and a half inch of lip paint. You heard that
right, a half inch. At least it probably stayed on
after she had dinner, right? Elizabeth, known as
the Virgin Queen, believed the lipstick
had healing powers and would ward off fatality. Ironically, Elizabeth’s
lipstick actually included a harmful
ingredients, white lead, which slowly poisoned her. At least she looked
chic for her funeral. The queen’s signature
crimson color included other less
lethal ingredients like egg whites and fig milk. Many scholars and probably
Kylie Jenner credit Queen Elizabeth with the
invention of the lip pencil. The queen’s lip
liner pencil was made from a blend of alabaster and
dye, which was dried in the sun before lining the lips. The English
Parliament were so up in arms about lipstick
of all things, that they tried
to ban it in 1650, linking the vise of painting,
wearing black patches, and the immodest dress of women. That effort failed. But sadly in 1770,
Britain did manage to successfully ban lipstick. According to Parliament,
women were tricking men into matrimony by donning
lipstick and other cosmetics. Parliament managed
to link lipstick with witchcraft and promise to
nullify any marriages caused by lipstick. Let’s be honest. If lipstick were actually
a form of witchcraft, you wouldn’t have to
reapply it so often. All women of whatever age,
rank, profession or degree, whether virgins,
maids, or widows that shale from
and after such act, impose upon, seduce, and
betray into matrimony any of His Majesty’s subjects
by the scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial
teeth, false hair, Spanish wool, iron stays,
hoops, high heeled shoes, or bolstered hips shall
incur the penalty of the law and force against witchcraft
and the like, misdemeanors. And their marriages
upon conviction shall become no and void. Let’s take a moment to
say if you marry a woman and change your mind after
she takes off her lipstick and heels, we don’t think
it’s the fault of the woman. But that’s just silly
illogical us talking. But apparently British
parliament in 1770 disagreed. In the early 20th
century, lipstick was associated with rebellion. And famous suffragettes
declared lipstick assigned a female emancipation. In the 1912 New York
suffragette rally, women appeared with red lips
to signal their independence. The trend caught on, partly
because it shocked men to see women applying
lipstick in public. They were so much
more innocent then. In the 1920s, flappers
don scarlet lips to shock their elders. One commentator in 1923
wrote, “Probably the lipstick has aroused sharper
critical rage than any other
whimsicality of women. It can appear to have seized
the feminine imagination more violently than any other
specific device of fashion.” A new generation gap appeared
with young women flocking to buy newly invented
tubes of lipstick while their mothers
shun the practice. At the time, lipstick
was pretty damn punk. Bright red lipstick
roared back into fashion during World War II for
a surprising reason. Believe it or not amongst many
other things, Adolf Hitler also reportedly hated red lipstick. Women flooded the factories
in the battlefields in the 1940s
wearing red lipstick as a sign of
patriotism and bravery. The Marines took this
trend a step further by creating a mandatory
lipstick for female Marines called Montezuma Red. The red color represented
the American flag and came to symbolize strength. Early Christian writers were
so intimidated by lipstick, that they actually
declared lipstick a sin. St. Jerome said wearing
lipstick was an act against God because it changed
women’s appearance. Similarly, St. Cyprian
condemned women for wearing any cosmetics. All women in general
should be warned that the work of God and
his creature and image should in no way be
falsified by employing yellow coloring or black
powder or Rouge, or finally, any cosmetic at all that
spoils the natural features. They are laying
hands on God when they strive to remake
what he has made and to transform it not
knowing that everything that comes into existence
is the work of God, that whatever has changed
is the work of the devil. For the Egyptians, makeup wasn’t
just a feminine phenomenon. Egyptian men and women
both wore lip color, including bold choices like
orange, blue, and magenta lips. Talk about high fashion. Egyptians applied the lip color
using a wet stick of wood. And wealthy Egyptians were
buried with at least two pots of lip color. Cleopatra ordered
custom lipsticks with unusual ingredients. Her signature red lip was
created from crushed bugs. Other ingredients included
flowers, fish scales, and red ocher. Pucker up Mark Antony and
be sure to hold your breath. Lipstick is older
than you might think. In fact, it dates
all the way back to Queen Shubad of
ancient Sumeria. The queen donned a lip color
made from white led and crushed red rocks. The Queens trendy red lip
wasn’t her only contribution to history. When Shubad’s tomb was
discovered in Ur in the 1920s, scholars were shocked at
the wealth represented in the queen’s burial space. The tomb also contained the
skeletons of 23 female servants who were terminated for the sole
purpose of being buried next to the queen, so they could be
her servants in the next life. Later, Sumerian royal tombs
also included lit paints for the afterlife, which
were stored in shelves. Maybe she was intending to
give all her murdered servants the lipstick in the next lives. Or maybe it’s Maybelline. While the British may have
rudely outlawed lipstick, it was still a popular choice
in the good old US of A, or more accurately,
the American colonies. Colonial women changed
their lip color by rubbing red ribbons on
their lips and sucking lemons. One colonial era
liquor brand even promised it would change
the drinkers lips red. They were probably
getting the lips confused with the nose and Gin Blossoms. Martha Washington,
the first lady had her own recipe
for lip rouge. She blended hogs
lard with spermaceti found in the guts of whales. That sounds truly disgusting. Ancient Greeks discouraged most
women from wearing lipstick. However, harlots,
were encouraged to wear lip color so there
would be easier to identify. In fact, the first lipstick
law threatened punishments for harlots who appeared
in public without lipstick. The Greeks thought
harlots would trick men into thinking that they
were ladies with a nude lip, showing that even
thousands of years ago, lipstick carried in
association with sexuality, and was used as an excuse
to divide and oppress women. The recipe for Greek lit
paint included ingredients like crocodile dung,
sheep sweat, and red dye. Did they have to
use crocodile dung? Apparently, yes. By the late 19th
century, lipstick was growing in
popularity because all the hot and cool Victorian
era chicks started wearing it. In the ‘1880s, the French
cosmetic brand Guerlain sold the first commercially
successful lipstick made from grapefruit and butter. However, while lipstick
started popping up in department stores,
putting on lipstick was considered an intensely
private experience. Actress Sarah Bernhardt caused
a major scandal in the 1800s simply by applying her
lipstick in public. To us modern folk, that
may sound extremely normal. But if you weren’t
at 1800s person, it would have been
some seriously hot gas. By the 1600s, English
aristocrat began wearing lip coloring
including noblemen. Certain shades of
lipstick became associated with
the upper classes acting as a visual marker
for the social classes. In the court of Edward IV,
men and women wore lip color. The King even wore lipstick
including an official royal color called raw flesh. The Victorians generally
avoided lipstick, preferring a bare lipped look. Makeup let women
inflate their value by making them appear
more beautiful, the Victorians reasoned, making
lipstick a big no-no for them. Queen Victoria herself
claimed makeup was impolite. During her reign, only
harlots and actresses colored their lips. However, other
women still chased the look of painted lips
through more secretive means. Some bit their lips
to make them more red. Others bought tinted lip balm
claiming they were simply for chapped lips. Where there’s a will for cute
red lips, there is a way. By the ’30s lipstick
was in Vogue, and it was literally in Vogue. Vogue magazine proclaimed
lipstick the most important cosmetic for women in 1933. Even during the
Great Depression, lipstick sales soared. The 1930s saw another important
milestone in lipstick history. Max Factor, makeup artist to
the stars, invented lip gloss. Thank god, because who doesn’t
like a little lip gloss? Originally, lip gloss
was made for movie stars, but the draw Hollywood
soon popularized the look around the world. Since the 1950s, red lipstick
has been in and out of fashion about a million times. Associated with megastars
like Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s, red lipstick fell
out of fashion in the 1960s with the rise of a
more natural look. Feminists and hippies were
into the whole Au natural thing and rejected makeup. The 60s wave of
feminism declared lipstick a sign of oppression. The disco era saw a
Renaissance for red lips, as glam rockers and disco
Queens both donned lipstick. In the 1980s, red lipstick faced
stiff competition from pink and rose shades while
the 1990s saw the rise in nude and brown tones. Today, bright red lipstick
remains a popular option with stars like Taylor
Swift bringing back the classic red lip. If you thought Kylie Jenner
invented lipstick in 2016, think again. So what shape do you
think looks good on me? Let us know in the
comments below. And while you’re at it, check
out some of these other videos from our Weird History.

About the Author: Earl Hamill


  1. I’d love to see a more broad spectrum of different cultures represented. For instance edo period japan had a pretty interesting history of lipstick and makeup in general.

  2. Elizabeth I lipstick was not 1/2 inch thick. That is a lie that has been all but proven false. She did wear heavy makeup but a half inch of any type of makeup other than nail polish is impossible. This is just the same as when people said her mother, Anne Boleyn had 6 fingers on one hand and was covered in moles. It's simply not true. They actually exhumed her body and proved this to be false, and besides, Henry VIII was a king who could have anyone, why would he choose a mole covered woman with extra digits? Doesn't add up.

    YouTube channels just produce content these days without any real research… disappointing

  3. Made listening to the recipes of ancient lipsticks…then you get to grapefruit and butter and you think “Thank God!!!! Finally one that wouldn’t kill you!!” 😂😂😂

  4. “If lipstick were a form of witchcraft, you wouldn’t have to reapply it so much” YES. Also this just makes me want to wear all of my lipstick all at once to shock my elders.

  5. hearing him pronounce Guerlain hurt my soul for two seconds, and then I remembered that its a French company and that he tried his merry best to pronounce it

  6. This channel just makes me realize how far we’ve progressed as a society, even if there are modern issues. Life now is much better then anytime in human history especially for traditionally oppressed groups and minorities…

  7. Well that was interesting.
    I've always loved the look of red lips.
    However I could never don them.
    I thought it made me look like I belonged on the street corner.


  9. Love this! Please do more on the history of makeup, ancient beauty regimens, beauty standards, etc., from many cultures around the world would be fascinating. Thank you!!

  10. Donna Summers made red lipstick popular during the disco era. If you can mention white women, mention black women too.

  11. I personally think that a dark blue would look fabulous on you! Lmfao! But I would like to hear about how eye shadow has progressed through time!

  12. Ya know what's funny is that the fallen Angel's were the ones that taught women to wear makeup, to seam more beautiful to trick men into thinking they were beautiful…..the fallen Angel's taught women trickery of image….so, ITS TRUE. WEARING MAKEUP IS WITCHCRAFT.

  13. Spermaceti is a waxy substance found in the head cavities of the sperm whale, not its guts. It acts as a focusing apparatus for the whale's sense of echolocation. The stuff that i think most people get confused about with this is Ambergris, Ambergris has been very highly valued by perfumers as a fixative that allows the scent to last much longer, but now other chemicals are used in its place, but its out and out whale poo.👃🤢😭😖😝

  14. Let’s keep it real for a second. With today’s trends, ppl can literally “trick” folks ALL day!!!🤔💭🧜🏽‍♀️or🧜🏼‍♂️…🤷🏻‍♂️And the with and without makeup photos…👸🏽🤴🏻to🧟‍♂️🧟‍♀️…IJS!!!🤓🤷🏽‍♀️ P.S.No shade, just truth!💁🏽‍♀️

  15. Will you please stop spreading the lie that Elizabeth wore half an inch or an inch (depending on which video you watch) of makeup??? You try putting an inch of makeup on: It's hardly possible! It either won't pile that high, or it will fall off before you've finished putting it on. Even if she was able to put on such thick makeup (which I highly doubt), she wouldn't be able to talk clearly because her lower lip and cheeks would sag from the weight, her mouth opening would be partially blocked from the top lip's makeup, and it would also resist the movement necessary to speak or emote. It would crack and slide not only throughout the day, but when she talked or rode her horse!

  16. This history is only focused on Europe what about eastern civilizations like China, Japan’s etc lipsticks stains, & glosses were worn as a sign of luck especially during wedding and a form of artistic expression ex geishas. This is not a complete history of lipstick or lip coloring.

  17. I loved this! My only critique would be that the facts are in a confusing order. I’d have liked to listen to them in chronological order ☺️

  18. Funny how modern feminism and ancient Christian writers are now sharing their view on cosmetics. Only exception is that feminists blame the popularity of cosmetics on the patriarchy whereas Christians blamed it on the devil.

    I guess imaginary Boogeymen are a good crutch for justifying your insane ideas.

  19. O my gosh this is incredible! I grew up a tom boy but as you can see in my picture I grew into all things female including red lips! Almost every fact was fascinating to me! Thanks for sharing! Also a half an inch of lipstick will haunt me till the day I die!

  20. History of: (animal) dogs in service. The pen. Watches. Surgery. History of paint material. The wig. Cheramics. School. Candles. Sofa. Schoo
    l. Cults. Backpack and other quirky stuff

  21. History of refrigerators. In the middle east they use to build these towers with holes to catch the wind and funnel it down underground which would lower the temperature and they were able to keep a block of ice for a few days or more.

  22. LOL this is so funny how lipstick was viewed during early days. it seems right back then to have those views and so weird if you see it in todays' world. even royal men started tinting their lips (make up) 🤣 then wtf is wrong of men today being called gays if they put color 🤔🙄 but whatever, i'm just glad lipstick and tints are available today in a wide variety of colors…but i'm in love with red ones 😊

  23. Well.. makeup WAS taught by fallen angels pre-flood… soooo
    It is witchcraft
    But what do I know?
    I’m just a Christian who believes following Christ.
    I don’t judge people who wear makeup.

  24. err…i don’t know how to tell you but most red colors in any type of makeup, food and even clothing are made of crushed bugs called cochineal aka carmine (watch for ingredients) aka a tiny beetles-like bugs

  25. Only wealthy Egyptian high society even more the royal houses only wore lip tenters lipstick if you will for fertility worship and only the royal house could put it on and wear it outside of their palace but it was worn more for religious practices and if a slave was caught with it on was put to death and ladies of normal statue also had death to look forward to if was caught so didn't leave many that could wear it that's one of the reasons normal people thought they were GOds cause only a small amount of ladies could wear it and frankly normal people thought it was scary looking and beastly to wear it that's why the royal ladies and high society was not followed as a fashion forward look for regular women of that era so basically they looked like monsters with Paul noted lips and inbreeding DNA they did look like a hot scary mess

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