National Lipstick Day is Monday, July 29th this year, and the celebration encourages you to wear your best color. For some women, lipstick is the only makeup necessary. Whether sheer and light or dark or bright, July 29th calls for all kinds of colorful options!

Cleopatra crushed bugs to create a color of red on her lips, and ancient Egyptians wore lipstick to show social status rather than gender. Throughout the ages, controversy has surrounded lipstick.

British Parliament banned it in 1770, calling it a devilish attempt to trick men into marriage, and throughout most of the 19th century, the obvious use of cosmetics was not considered acceptable in England for respectable women. It was associated with marginalized groups such as actors and prostitutes, and in some circles, lipstick was associated with witchcraft. It is said the French actress, Sarah Bernhardt, created a scandal by applying “lip rouge” in public.

Occasionally, lipstick contained poisonous materials. In the 1850s, warnings were published about the dangers of using lead and vermilion in cosmetics applied to the face.

Surprisingly, George Washington supposedly wore lipstick. While Queen Victoria considered wearing lipstick impolite, Winston Churchill thought accented lip color boosted morale in an excellent way.

The first commercial lipstick had been invented in 1884, by perfumers in Paris. It was covered in silk paper and made primarily from deer fat and beeswax. Prior to this, lipstick was created at home. Complete acceptance of the undisguised use of cosmetics in England appears to have arrived for the fashionable woman about 1921. Women in the U.S. used lipstick “cautiously” before WWI.

Although increasingly acceptable for adult women, it was still frowned upon for teenage girls to wear lipstick through the 1940s. Books and magazines warned girls that wearing cosmetics could ruin their chances of respect and career. The implication was that lipstick and rouge for teen girls were for those who acted provocatively with men. Despite the increased use of cosmetics, it was still associated with prostitution. Teen girls were discouraged from wearing cosmetics for fear that they would be mistaken for “loose” girls or prostitutes.

By the 1950s, movie actresses Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor helped bring bold red lips to the forefront. A 1951 survey revealed that two-thirds of teenage girls wore lipstick.

Wild colors exploded in the 1970s, with iridescent and frosted options being the most provocative. Black lipstick ushered in the 1980s, and who hasn’t seen Marilyn Manson’s lips? Bright reds and pinks flaunt today’s lips, but any color works, even nude.

Versatility is lipstick’s blessing. It changes with a mood or with the occasion. Whether lipstick defines your attitude or channels your inner spirit, wear it on July 29th. No matter your style, lipstick adds a subtle accent or a bold statement. Let your lips speak for you!

So pucker up and take a photo. Share what you love about lipstick on social media using #nationallipstickday

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