Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Power-In-A-Tube, A (Brief) History

My lips will take over the world.

I surmised as much when I gazed upon my portrait three years ago in Montmartre, perhaps the third or fourth portrait I've ever gotten done. Somehow my lips are always one of the very first things people notice about me, which is evident by the fact that in each one of the three or so portraits mentioned above, there is always a pair of sausagey things on the area where my mouth should be.

And as I've said that I believe the right shades of pink can make a woman really powerful, I think the same is true of red - especially with respect to lipstick.

From junior high to maybe the middle of high school, my signature was supershiny, ridiculously glossed lips (sometimes with fine glitter in it) - kind of like Britney's in the first few frames of her Oops!...I Did It Again video (back when she was mostly sane - those were the days!). Then towards the end of high school, I graduated to matte, deep reds. Propriety for a teenager aside, it was my look and I rocked it.

Nowadays, I understand that the vampy pout is a little too intense and excessive for day/daily wear, not to mention the fact that lips piled a mile high with product don't look yummy to kiss. Besides that, it can totally send off the wrong message since, from a biological standpoint, the point of red lipstick is to imitate the deep flush we get when we're in the throes of passion. But every so often, when I'm heading out for a good time or at some chichi event with my girls, when I rock my bright red lips, people know I mean business.

Did you know that the first known lipstick was found in a tomb in Ur (now Iran) and estimated to be about 5000 years old? Ancient Egyptian Fashion Girls were buried with enough of the stuff to last through the afterlife. Cleo herself used to don this special paste made with henna and crushed carmine beetles. I wonder if they've run out yet in Ancient Egyptian Fashion Girl Heaven...

Lipstick became a fashion staple for both men and women in the 1600s but towards the end of the 1700s, the British parliament passed a law banning women from "tricking men into marrying them" through the excessive use of makeup. Hah! Then in the early 1900s women unknowingly slathered all kinds of toxic ingredients like lead, mercury and arsenic on their puckers to achieve that coveted Perfect Pout Power.

But luckily, these days we've moved on to using simply (and relatively not harmful) oil, wax and dye. A good thing too, because a study shows that on average, a woman consumes (as in eats) 4-9 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. Kinda gross if you ask me, but c'est la vie. There's no way I'd give up my lipstick. And thanks to Guerlain, who made the first lipstick in tube form, we now have the kind of lipstick we know and love.

My Power-In-A-Tube of choice? Deep scarlet, of course, and more precisely, MAC's Russian Red. It's just the right shade of red that is on the dark side, but still really bright. Best of all, it's not too orange and not too blue, which means I don't have to worry about looking like a Massage Parlour Special!


Sabrina said...

Check this out on Jezebel today - a sorority-inspired lipstick personality test

Ramz (you know who) said...

Hello you. Since I read your blog almost religiously (because it is fabulous!) I was in Sephora two months ago and I saw this thing called Lip Venom--- apparently it is the latest crazy because it makes your lips gi-normous to right amount of volume and pout. So, what are your thoughts about that Soap Heiress? The secret ingredient is pretty much chili peppers... so that capsaicin (the hot stuff in peppers) make your lips swell. I guess better than lip injections!


Fabulously yours truly,