Article by: Alexandria Haynes
Graphic by: Thuy Le
The history of lipstick spans over more than 6000 years, and was used by nearly every society in the world from the ancient Greeks to British Aristocracy. Historically, different shades of lipstick were used by various societies all across the globe to indicate social status.
Egyptian Queens and royal families or high ranking socialites, both men no women, wore dark plum and black to indicate status and glamor. In the 13th century in Italy, women wore red lipstick to show their rank as upper-class ladies. By the 16th and 17th Centuries across Europe, red lipstick was widely considered only to be fit for prostitutes or “lower class ladies”. Queen Elizabeth I is said to have been a fan of peach, rosy, and nude hues during this time. Bright red was also very popular in Japanese culture in the 17th and 18th Centuries, worn by most geisha performers.
Check out our chart below and test how much do you know about the history of lipstick.