RED HOT – Why are we so obsessed with red lips?

Why are we so obsessed with red lips?


Since the very beginnings of human civilisation

we have always used some kind of substance to enhance of lips, it started with plants, berries

and minerals, but the egyptians took it to the next level and made huge advancements in the

manufacturing of lip colour. Utilising dyes from seaweed, iodine and bromine mannite. These

early formulas were definitely not good for ones health…eeek! The egyptians were also the first

to use carmine (which is still used today), which is essentially crushed beetles. I, for one, use

only carmine/cruelty-free lipstick, so no dead beetles on my lips, thanks Cleopatra!

It wasn’t until the 16th century that red lips became a widespread trend, as Queen Elizabeth I,

Scarlette Caress by Miss Mookie for Pinups and Pets Calendar

invented the dark lip, which was achieved using a mix of beeswax and plant dye.

The popularity of red lips all changed when Queen Victoria reigned, as she deemed it unladylike

and a look that was reserved for prostitutes. The French saw it the other way around – Red lips

were a sign of aristocracy and wealth, while prostitutes and the women of the lower classes

were red lip free…poor ladies! Thankfully the french were on to something and the first version

of a modern lipstick went on sale in Paris by perfumers in 1884.

During the Golden Age, silent film gave rise to the popularity of lipstick again, but during this

era it was about blacks and deeper shades and thankfully the now standard push-up tube was

invented, but it wasn’t until the 40’s that it became twistable. The film industry of the 40’s also

propelled red lips in particular, perhaps because they they looked best on screen.

I guess this is all it takes for a trend to really take off and when we look at it this way, there is

no deep meaning as to why we love red lips. Although I suspect there’s more to it than that.

Humans love to adorn themselves and making our lips more attractive is a powerful thing,

biologically and sexually and in a time where we are bombarded by sexually loaded imagery

non-stop, it’s nice to know that the humble red lipstick has a long and interesting history, albeit

Rita by Miss Mookie
Rita by Miss Mookie

not an entirely healthy one.

The symbolism of red has links to both fire and blood and it’s obvious that early humans were

fascinated and influenced by this colour. In different cultures and religions red symbolises such

things are purity, heroism, courage, fertility and even connotations of murder and theft. But why

do we wear red lipstick? It’s certainly not anything to do with the Buddhist’s views of purity. We

wear red lipstick because it represents danger, excitement, passion, beauty, risk, celebration

and sexuality. It’s fun, assertive and powerful and at the same time completely classic. What’s

not to like about red lipstick? It’s absolutely perfect!

Red hot lips ooze glamour and there is no other makeup product that can make you look as

polished as a well done red lip. Thankfully now we can chose to purchase beautiful red lipsticks

that are made with all natural ingredients and with huge technological advancements, we no

longer need to test anything on animals. In my photography and styling business, as well as

for myself, I always use 100% vegan and cruelty-free products. In the past such vibrant shades

were almost impossible to find, but now more than ever there is no need to sacrifice style for

your conscience. A few of my favourites include: Shanghai Suzy’s  Tegan Cherry Red, HARLOT- Neon popsicle red LIP TAR from

OCC, Bossy Lady and Mother Pucker by Lippy Girl and the Velvetines by Lime Crime.

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