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What is Lipstick Made of and Why Do I Wear It?

Updated on July 9, 2011

Would you kiss your mother with those lips?

Lipstick has been around a long time.  Some say there is evidence of lipstick dating back 5000 years!  Crushed semi-precious stones, henna, iodine, beetles - all of these have been used to redden the lips at some time or another.  And the sheen?  Fish scales! 

Later, lipstick was made using bees wax and different plants to dye the wax.  I would think this would be hard to get on (and off!).  

Today's lipstick is made from a conglomeration of fats and oils, and petrolatum.  This sounds just about as appealing as the fish scales, right ladies?  When I was younger, my family owned a restaurant.  All of the grease from the deep-fat fryers was poured into a vat and sold to cosmetic companies.  What do you think they were making with that??? 

My grandfather told me stories of when he was a young man, the ladies who could not afford makeup would pencil on their "eyes" with the burned tip of a match, and redden their lips with MERTHIOLATE!

Lipstick Tidbits

  • Women have a lower incidence of lip cancer.  This has been attributed to the wearing of lipstick.
  • England passed a law against lipstick in the 1700s, claiming it was the "Devil's work."
  • Cleopatra not only ground beetles for the coloration of her lipstick, but she added them to a base made of ants.
  • A woman ingests around five pounds of lipstick in her lifetime.
  • Over 65 major companies produce lipstick.
  • Some believe lipstick was created with a very provocative thought in mind - that the lipstick made the lips look like other anatomical parts of the female body.  

Southern Women & Lipstick

As a southern lady, I don't leave the house without lipstick on. Yes, it may have gotten eaten off (I think the typical south-eastern lady ingests 5x as much lipstick as anyone else!), but it was there. And it will be there again. As soon as I'm in front of a mirror.

Yes, I am stereotyping southern women - mainly because I've seen it so much there, and nowhere else. We are taught from around the age of 12 that we should always have on our lipstick. It shows you care about your appearance. It's the absolute least you can do. You must paint those lips on!

As a young girl, I can remember so clearly my grandmother applying and reapplying (and reapplying) her lipstick. My mother still does it. I don't do it enough, but then again I wear that ColorStay Mineral Lipglaze that lasts forever.

And while I'm on the subject of the ColorStay Mineral Lipglaze, I must say that it's the best lipstick I've ever used, and probably the worst tasting. It lasts forever, but tastes like motor oil smells.


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    • profile image

      Jadaeshiana Bell 

      6 years ago

      I didn't know lipstick was made out of all of that stuff.

    • cheapsk8chick profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks Denise! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Great job on the challenge. Enjoyed it.

    • cheapsk8chick profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank y'all so much for the votes and sweet comments!

      @Docmo, I'll be sure to check out your hubmob!

      @marie, I don't think I could live comfortably without my lipstick, I don't care how gross it is!

    • MarieAlice profile image

      Maria Alicia Cardenas 

      8 years ago from Spain

      what will i do without my lipstick??? loved this hub

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      Thanks for this fun history so I can talk 'intelligently' about lipstick. Crazy stuff with ground beetles and crushed ants. The 'Bee stung' look eh? Voted up. This is my first go at hubmob weekly too!

    • JLClose profile image


      8 years ago from OreGONE

      I absolutely cannot live without my lip gloss. I am not a huge lipstick fan, though. Most lipsticks just don't have enough moisture. Anyway, this was an interesting and fun hub! Thanks for sharing!

    • cheapsk8chick profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks Susan. It's my first time participating in the hubmob weekly topic, and it's quite fun!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great hub and such an interesting topic!

    • cheapsk8chick profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      It *is* crazy! And to think, even after writing the hub yesterday I have probably applied the stuff eight or nine times! We would probably all be better off going back to crushing BEETLES! Thanks for the comment & for sharing the hub!

    • rpalulis profile image


      8 years ago from NY

      Interesting history on lip stick, I can't believe that the average lip stick wearing women will ingest 5 pounds of this stuff in her lifetime- Crazy! and the stuff that lip stick is made from even crazier. I'm sharing this one on my Twitter account, some good info here, thanks for sharing.

    • cheapsk8chick profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Stina, wonder what it is that aggravates your lips when you wear it? I was a tester on the CG lipstain before it came out. I liked how it was so long-lasting, but hated that I kept feeling like my lips were nekkid! Thanks for coming by!

    • Stina Caxe profile image

      Cristina Cakes 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      Very interesting! I think I must have a slight allergy to something in lipstick. Whenever I wear it my lips get itchy and the skin around them turns red. I actually like the Covergirl Outlast Lipstain the best of all the lipsticks I have tried.

    • cheapsk8chick profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks Patty! I had the same problem with that sliding makeup. A good foundation and moving to Iowa where it's a lot cooler seem to help my face stay in place:)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Msakeup seems to slide off my face, get absorbed, or evaporate! But i bet lipstick shields the lips like sunblock.

      This is a fun hub! - voted and rated.

    • cheapsk8chick profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      evvy, you are right! It *is* made of some funky stuff. I don't leave the house without putting on my eye-makeup. I don't even want to get started on what that's made of! Thanks for the comment!

    • evvy_09 profile image


      8 years ago from Athens, AL

      Makeup is used to bring out a woman's beauty but it is really made out of some pretty ugly stuff lol. I use more eye makeup than anything (my best feature) but will put on lipstick for special occasions.


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