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Lipstick

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Lipstick

April 18, 2010, 15:27:25
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Lipstick has a dangerous history. Take a purplish-red seaweed dye, add fine red clay, iron oxide (rust), henna, iodine, and a poisonous alcohol sugar called bromine mannite, then add a slimy lump of stone-crushed dead beetles and ants, stir well into a sticky soup, then use your finger to draw the color on your lips, allow to dry, apply again, and repeat the process several times until the toxic color sinks deep into your skin. It not only sounds disgusting, but it is almost sure to make you sick. It is the recipe for the first lipsticks ever used 2,000 years ago in the days of Cleopatra. The history of lip-painting even goes back 5,000 years ago to ancient Mesopotamia where women used crushed jewels to decorate their lips and even their eyes.

 

It wasn't until the 16th century, however, that lipstick became widely used. Queen Elizabeth I, always a trendsetter, invented and popularized the look of blackened lips. Elizabethan-era lipstick was a little bit easier to handle than Cleopatra's - it was made with simple beeswax and plant-derived red dyes. However, by Queen Victoria's time, the natural look had become the fashion and any make-up at all was thought to be unladylike. Only prostitutes and actresses were still allowed to wear makeup. But, slowly, other women began to paint themselves again, and in 1884, the first modern lipstick was introduced by perfumers in Paris. It was made with deer tallow, castor oil and beeswax and was wrapped in colorful silk paper.

 

But why do women do this - paint their lips a shade of red? What is lipstick really all about? One theory is that women wear lipstick because very young girls tend to have redder lips than older women, and older women want to look younger, so they add reddish color to their lips. The odd thing about this is that it has led to young girls wanting to wear lipstick in order to look older! Another theory comes from the animal kingdom and is also related to the human body's "blushing response", a natural body response which happens when a person is aroused by fear or excitement. In the animal world, this is used as a way of communicating readiness to mate, and some zoologists, such as Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape, have claimed that lipstick and make-up are simply artificial modern versions of these mating signals in humans.

 

No matter what reason is accepted for women using lipstick, one thing cannot be debated - lipstick has become a very big business. By the 1920s and '30s silent movies helped bring back the use of lipstick. All the films then were in black & white, so the women in the films wore black lipstick. It was also around this time that the first push-up tubes of lipstick were commonly sold. In the '30s, lipstick companies in the United States produced a range of colors from light pink, to dark lilac and bright red. The movie industry, with full color talking pictures, was a great source of PR for make-up and lipstick products. By the time WWII began, lipstick had become a standard item for a woman's handbag. It was also at this time that the first twist-up lipstick tubes became available. Today, lipstick is a multi-billion dollar business and is growing even in these times of crisis!

 

In fact, there is a well know business term called "The Lipstick Effect" also known as "inexpensive product preference tendency". It is an economic trend that turns consumers towards cheaper and more personal items when money is tight. In the United States, lipstick sales tend to shoot up when times get rough. During economic crisis, changes take place in consumers' buying psychology and behavior turning them into bargain seekers. The "lipstick effect", a theory, first identified during the Great Depression in the 1930s, tends to increase sales of cheaper household goods, as well as cultural, and entertainment products.

 

In a time of the Internet boom, the effect shows up in online games, e-shops, movie downloads, and entertainment sites. When people are forced to forget about new houses, cars and holidays, they tend to seek comfort by buying cheap thrills and goods online. People also spend more time on their looks because jobs are scarce and competition is fierce. The result is that make-up and lipstick sales go up up up. So, let's all pucker-up and remember this quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. - The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.

Read the timtim article about The First Kiss

Read the timtim article about a Vacuum Kiss

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