Lipstick is a cosmetic that applies color, texture, and protection to the lips. Many colors and types of lipstick exist. Some lipsticks are also lip balms, to add both color and hydration.
Throughout the early 20th century, lipstick came in a limited number of shades. Dark red lipstick was one of the most popular shades throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, especially in the 1920s. Flappers wore lipstick to symbolize their independence. Lipstick was worn around the lips to form a “Cupid’s bow,” inspired by actress Clara Bow. In the early 1930s, Elizabeth Arden began to introduce different lipstick colors. She inspired other companies to create a variety of lipstick shades.
In the mid-1940s, several teen books and magazines stressed that men prefer a natural look over a made-up look. Books and magazines also warned girls that wearing cosmetics could ruin their chances of popularity and a career. The implication of these articles was that lipstick and rouge were for teen girls who acted very provocatively with men. By the 1950s, movie actresses Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor helped bring back dark red lips. A 1951 survey revealed that two-thirds of teenage girls wore lipstick.
At the end of the 1950s, a cosmetic company named Gala introduced pale shimmery lipstick. Later, Max Factor created a popular lipstick color called Strawberry Meringue. Lipstick manufacturers began creating lipsticks in lavender, pale pink, white, and peach. Since parents generally frowned on teen girls wearing red lipstick, some teen girls began wearing pink and peach lipsticks, which became a trend. White or nearly white lipstick was popular in the 1960s Rock groups such as the Ronettes and the Shirelles popularized white lipstick. Girls would apply white lipstick over pink lipstick or place under-eye concealer on their lips.
Black lipstick became popular in the late 1970s and into the 1990s. In the 1950s, black lipstick had been worn by actresses starring in horror films. It became popular again due in part to punk and goth subcultures. In the 1990s, lipstick colors became semi-matte. Shades of brown were very popular. These shades were inspired by several shows, such as “Friends”. In the late 1990s and into the 21st century, pearl shades became very popular. Lipsticks were no longer matte or semi-matte but were shiny. In 2012, bright bold lip colors became trendy again with saturated colors such as hot pink, neon, and orange. American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift boosted the popularity of red lipsticks, especially with the release of her fourth studio album, Red (2012). In 2014 and early 2015, nude lipsticks became popular.
In early 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend of liquid lipstick was changed from liquid matte lipstick to a semi-matte or glossy finish. However, the COVID-19 pandemic markedly reduced the popularity of lipsticks since people usually do not apply lipstick under a facial mask. Lipstick also has many variations including liquid, lip balms, glosses, crayons, pencils, liners, palettes, and stains.