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Wheel of Lipstick

There are a few beauty products that I never leave the house without – earrings, tinted moisturizer, mascara, (a bra). Simply, without them, I feel naked or not the best version of myself. Lipstick has the transformative power to create an entire look. A fresh face with nothing but bright, red lipstick is still a statement. Even a swatch or smear of vibrant colors can be luxurious on an otherwise empty canvas.

Japanese lipstick advertisement, 1969.  Very Mod.Japanese lipstick advertisement, 1969.  Very Mod.

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Obviously, other women felt that lipstick was important, too. Its origins are over 5,000 years old in Mesopotamia. The ancient Egyptians were even willing to get themselves sick with pearlescent fish-scales as long as they could achieve a rosy hue. In 1770, a British law was proposed to the Parliament that a marriage should be annulled if the woman wore cosmetics before her wedding day. Scandalous! Today, the makeup is much more accepted. There are between 800 and 900 million lipsticks sold every year in the world. 

Wheel Of Lipstick including choices from Stila, Yves Saint Laurent, MAC, Christian Dior, Anna Sui and more.

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Lip Service

I love to wear a “Marilyn Monroe” red or a stunning, beachy, coral. However, I must admit, it is hard for me to even wear lipstick without getting some on my teeth, or outside my lip lines. My friend Julia once taught me a trick that involves making one’s mouth into an “O” shape and then sticking two fingers in, and out very quickly. It’s extremely embarrassing to perform in public, and sometimes looks vaguely sexual, however it definitely keeps the color from attacking one’s teeth! Thank goodness for the invention of lip stains which stay in place and are my new go-to.

(Image found HERE)

Women in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley decorated their lips by crushing semi-precious stones, fish scales, iodine, beetles, and ants. This often resulted in serious illness, adding an additional meaning to the bromide “Beauty is Pain”. In medieval Europe, lipsticks were actually banned by the church as they were considered linked to Satan. Prostitutes, however, were allowed to wear color on lips. The first commercial lipstick had been invented in 1884, by perfumers (such as Guerlain) in Paris, France. Up until 1884, lipstick was crafted at home. Still the lipsticks were considered a “fringe” fashion – reserved for bohemians, prostitutes, and stage actresses. In the United States, The Sears Roebuck catalog (which reached across the Oregon Trail thanks to railroads and the advent of a Rural Free Delivery Postal Service) first offered rouge for lips and cheeks by the late 1890s. This same catalog was also selling opium in the 1890’s, yes…opium.

(Image found HERE.)

(Image found HERE.) <—-tumblr has since died :/

Nowadays, lipstick has lost most of its sinful connotations, but it does still take courage to wear super bright neons. Revlon, MAC, L’Oreal, Avon, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Rimmel, Covergirl – Think of all the endless colors invented to compliment one’s skin shade, seasonal outfits, and outgoing persona! I sometimes believe that lipstick hues are more interesting than paint swatches. Sometimes I wish I could drag my lipstick tube across the wall and begin painting my entire backsplash a bright orange or a fanciful lilac ala Harold and the Purple Crayon.


Images via a MILLION SOURCES that after much searching don’t all quite link back to the original, but I tried!

(CORAL: Lonny Mag Interior Design and here and here and here and here)

(RED: here and here and here and here and J. Crew)

Rivulets Euro Sham
$40 – anthropologie.com

A.P.C. Semiologie Pillow, Zigzag
$30 – anthropologie.com

Robert Abbey Capri #2 Table Lamp
$245 – yliving.com

Marimekko Unikko Red Mug
$20 – crateandbarrel.com

Upward Petals Curtain
$208 – anthropologie.com
SEALED WITH A KISS! SWAK!