1. Yes, Cleopatra Wore Lipstick… Sort Of
Without access to a nearby Sephora, ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians improvised with natural elements. While the Mesopotamians used ground-up gems and jewels to enhance their lips, Cleopatra was rumored to wear a red shade sourced from beetles. Sometimes beauty is pain. Other times, beauty is just kind of gross.
2. The First U.S. President Also Wore Lipstick
Rumor has it that George Washington used a bit of rouge on his lips and cheeks during portrait sittings. He probably wore it to appear livelier on canvas, rather than just thinking it was a good look (although if you did, Mr. President, we're not here to judge!).
3. Old Hollywood Substituted Red for Black
In the early twentieth century, black-and-white films began to use lighting and makeup techniques that allowed the actors and actresses to be seen more clearly on screen. One of the tricks, invented by Max Factor, was to use black lipstick to enhance starlets' lips—viewers likely assumed that it was red—and with the darker hue, lips were much better defined.
4. The Lipstick Tube Didn't Always Twist
In 1915 Maurice Levy created a tube with an internal lever that pushed lipstick up and down—it was aptly christened the "Levy Tube." But we have Nashville resident James Bruce Mason Jr., to thank for the fact that we now twist up our lipstick for application. Mason patented the swivel design in October 1923 for the use of "improvements in toilet articles," which he described as, "devices for holding articles such as lipsticks which are worn."
5. One Lipstick Took Its Name a Bit Too Literally
In the 2001 book Beauty: The New Basics famed beauty editor Rona Berg wrote about a lipstick called Rouge Baiser that was taken off shelves due to one fatal flaw: it just wouldn't come off!
6. 1950 Saw the Introduction of a Few Key Ingredients
A (very cute) '50s commercial for Hazel Bishop Inc.'s Lasting Lipstick. Watch the video and see how long it takes the saleswoman to convince you!
In 1950, American chemist Hazel Bishop started selling a product called Lasting Lipstick. It was made with bromo acid dyes that helped color adhere to the lips, and later, included lanolin to combat dryness.
7. There Was Once a Shoe With a Lipstick Compartment
Also in the 1950s (a big decade for cosmetic innovations), the trendy spectator sports shoe [Ed note: spectators are essentially low-heeled oxfords with two contrasting colors] received a design tweak that made toting around lipstick much easier. The Dolcis Shoe Company promoted a style with a slot for storing a lipstick tube at the base of the tassel.
8. Lipstick Was Once a Weapon of Sorts
Just when we thought that lipstick wasn't dangerous, the former Soviet Union convinced people otherwise. In the mid-sixties, KGB spies used a "lipstick pistol," which was a 4.5mm pistol disguised as a lipstick tube. The tiny weapon only held one bullet and was used for close-range attacks. One of them is on display at the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C.
9. The Most Expensive Lipstick Cost As Much As an Audi
$62,000! In November 2007, French cosmetics brand Guerlain released the KissKiss Gold and Diamonds lipstick collection, which was exclusively sold at Bergdorf Goodman's (by appointment only, naturally). The tube was adorned with 18-karat gold and 199 diamonds, with a few rubies and emeralds thrown in for good measure.
10. An Airline Banned Red Lipstick
Back in 2013, Turkish Airlines prohibited flight attendants from wearing nail polish and lipstick in shades of red or dark pink. Its reasoning was that those colors interrupted the communication between hostesses and passengers. About a week later, the airline lifted the ban.
11. Rihanna Sells Out
MAC Cosmetics and singer Rihanna collaborated on a lipstick that reimagined their classic bright red matte finish Ruby Woo shade as "RiRi Woo." When it went on sale, the lipstick sold out in three minutes, setting the standard for her future MAC products, which have been similarly popular.