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Getting lippy: A lipstick history

Getting lippy: A lipstick history
It's been said that red lipstick is all “about female strength,” so lets bring the trend back, and turn heads with a simple red.

A brief history

In 1770, Government passed a law stating “women found guilty of seducing men into matrimony by cosmetic means” will be tried for witchcraft. At this time, lipstick was only worn by theatre performers and prostitutes, and it wasn’t until the early 20th century that it began to be introduced into society.
French actress Sarah Bernhardt challenged the norm by wearing her red lipstick off the stage, and in 1912 Elizabeth Arden supplied the Suffragettes with red lipstick, claiming every woman had the right to take pride in her appearance.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, red lipstick was seen as a necessary cosmetic for the morale of the female workforce, and shades were even given names such as “Fighting Red!”
Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin, one of the first British officers to liberate the Nazi death camp Bergen Belsen, famously recorded the
effect that the arrival of a batch of red lippy had on the female inmates of the camp: “I believe nothing did more for these internees than the lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again… That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.” 

Release your inner Femme Fatale

  • Elizabeth Arden’s Beautiful Colour Moisturising Lipstick in Power Red (£21 at House of Fraser).
  • Estée Lauder’s Pure Colour Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Red Ego (£24 at Debenhams).
  • M.A.C’s Lipstick in Damn Glamorous (£15.50 at Mac Cosmetics).
Georgina is a fashion and beauty editor for numerous travel titles and a blogger at cargocollective.com 
Read more articles by Georgina Yates here
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