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18 February 2012

The Red Lipstick

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Red lipstick is definitely a must in every Goths woman beauty bag. I made a little reasearch about it and ,as always, I'd like to share with you a few facts about this must-have. While researching I found myself reading through this amazing blog all about the 20s and 30s called The Painted Woman (link at the end of post) which I deeply suggest you all to read if you like La Belle Epoque because you find all kind of information there! 


Here's what I found:

"Of all makeup, lipstick seems to be the most written about. Unfortunately though, most treatments of the subject tend to blip right past the 1920s and 1930s – the decades when lipstick gained widespread use and acceptance, and became a multi-million dollar a year industry, despite the economic Depression.

It was in 1920 that Max Factor, a pioneer of Hollywood movie cosmetics, began selling his line of Society Make Up to the public. This ushered in a new era of acceptance for lipstick, and cosmetics in general – even his blatant use of the word “makeup" was then new. Before the decade was out, he had also invented lip gloss (1928) and introduced the first commercial lip brush to the public (1929).


Joan Crawford with a lipstick in the handle of her purse, c. 1929.

The older generation may well have shuddered, as Dorothy Cocks wrote in Etiquette of Beauty (1927), at the younger generation’s “frank use of lipstick,” but within a short time, few fashionable women would want to be seen without theirs. According to Read My Lips: A Cultural History of Lipstick, a poll of 53,000 households conducted in 1938 (the same year that Congress passed the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, regulating the industry) revealed that 58% had at least 1 lipstick.

Indelibility was the major problem that plagued lipstick manufacturers during this era. Lipsticks had a tendency to turn bluish or purple after application, and made the wearer look ghastly. Almost all lipstick makers claimed their products to be indelible, non-drying, and creamy, but the first truly indelible lipstick would not be created until the end of the 1930s – again with Max Factor, now headed by Max Jr., – leading the way. His Tru-Color Lipstick came on the market in early 1940, but was heavily advertised in 1939.

The cosmetics industry may have expected sales to plummet after the Stock Market crash of 1929 and the subsequent economic downturn. But, just as women of World War II would cling to their lipstick as a sort of “red badge of courage,” so would Depression era women hold on to their lipsticks, if they could. One popular drugstore brand, Tangee, claimed its sales were better than ever. “1931 a year of depression?” read one ad from 1932, “Not for Tangee, the World’s Most Famous Lipstick and Rouge! More Tangee was used in 1930 than in the prosperous days of ’29, and even more last year than ever before!” High end companies like Elizabeth Arden, reported similar increases.



Tangee ad , 1931


Tube shapes varied by manufacturer. Some were tiny, bullet shaped. Others were long and crayon-like. They often came in a variety of sizes, at equivalent prices. Cases were metal. Early tubes had a sliding lever to raise the product, invented in 1915. This was soon replaced by the swivel technique still used today. A number of compact sets were sold as “trios” of powder, rouge and lipstick, all refillable.




A Word About Lip Shapes


In the late teens, Max Factor created a lip style that came to be called “vampire lips” “rosebud lips” or “bee-stung lips” (depending on the type of character being played) for silent stars like Nita Naldi and Mae Murray. He made the lips this way: he blotted out the actresses’ natural lipline with greasepaint, then dipped his thumb into the lip pomade and made two impressions with it on the upper lip, and one upside down thumb print for the lower lip. The lips were then refined and perfected with a lip brush. He did this because the pomade of the time would melt under the hot studio lights and bleed onto the greasepaint of the actresses’ faces. We’ve used this technique to achieve a perfect, "early 20s lip" shape.


Mae Murray, 1923.


With new advances in film technology and makeup, by the sound era it was no longer necessary to avoid the lip corners and a more “natural” lip shape came to be used. Max Factor created a new lip outline for Joan Crawford, by slightly over-drawing her upper lip and emphasizing the fullness of the lower one. Factor called it “the smear” but it was generally known as the “hunter’s bow” lip. Many actresses and other women imitated this style in the 1930s.

Below: Jeanette MacDonald beautifully demonstrates the “hunter’s bow” lip, 1932.







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