The Return of Lipstick

Lipstick is currently having a huge revival, and not just for those of us who like a vintage look on a daily basis. Of course, women have been painting their lips for thousands of years, the colouring of lips has had an interesting place in society through the decades. The mouth, often seen as a sign of sensuality and womanhood has been decorated with all sorts of substances through the years such as beeswax mixed with plant juices, in fact Cleopatra used a mixture that included crushed ants and beetles. Not quite as deliciously teasing as trying to eat a doughnut with out licking your lips I think....

 During the second world war make up was hard to come by in the UK and once again, some women found themselves having to be resourceful in how they created coloured lips. Staining them with beetroot juice wasn't unusual. Make up wasn't rationed, it was just very hard to come by due to the ingredients used in cosmetics being used elsewhere in the war effort. What was available was expensive, the availability in America was much better. I can see many reasons why those chaps coming over here caused such a stir. 

Not only would they have seemed almost from another world to us gals over here, but with them they also brought items like stockings, perfume and make up. With a different way of life and a variance in their social activities like the way they danced etc - wowsers, I can see how they swept so many women off their feet - and broke many a heart. I imagine it was quite intoxicating being so exposed to the fun and unfamiliar these American servicemen brought over with them.

During the war years, British women were exposed to Hollywood at its patriotic best. Films were especially made portraying women signing up for the war movement. Elegant starlets such as Lana Turner took on roles that displayed women as strong AND beautiful, taking on the enemy, whilst looking painted and together. 

 In Britain women were being put to work in a man’s world or volunteering to serve overseas, but whilst many felt able to do the work of a man (girl power is not a thing of the nineties), they didn’t want to look like men. Painted lips – whether with lipstick or something more inventive, came to symbolise strength for many, the refusal to give up glamour and a sense of normality when times were dark. If you’re keen to explore the forties look then popular shades in this decade were orangey corals and orangey reds. I always felt I only needed two colours in my make up bag, a red and a pink but then I tried a colour called Carmine by Besame, (the brand The Historical Sauces stock) and I'm now hooked on it's orangey tone. It's been lovely in the summer when my skin is slightly sun kissed. 

The fifties saw film once again playing a part in make-up fashions, with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor sweeping on to the screens and across the press with full on red lips. The sixties saw the trend for lipstick become less bold in colour, with pastel pinks, peach and shades of nude being the rage. White lipstick was also popular, the paler the better. 

The seventies is often an era that gets over looked for make-up inspiration, but a lot happened in this decade, with women being influenced by feminism, some gave up decorating their faces all together, choosing to adopt a make-up free look. This decade also saw the punk era and the rise of disco – both movements saw women and men explore make up with black, purple and shades with glitter being popular with the disco lovers. 

The eighties saw a return of the red lipstick, it also saw eyeshadow go wild rainbow coloured with pop stars such as Cindy Lauper creating some serious eye art! 

In the nineties I personally mainly wore Rimmel, the shade heather shimmer was a firm favourite of mine and just about every other girl I knew! Fast forward to 2012 and lipstick is back with a bang.  More and more women swapping their lip glosses for a much bolder application of lipstick. I meet a lot of women when I'm working with The Historical Sauces who have recently fallen in love with lipstick or actually would quite like to wear it, but feel it doesn't suit them or is high maintenance. Whilst you might not be able to slick some lipstick on as you're walking along the street as you could with a pale lip gloss - lipstick doesn't have to be an effort.

My Lipstick Tips

  • Keep lips smooth by using a lip balm such as Vaseline on days you're not wearing lipstick. Applying some at night before bed is ideal. It also makes a perfect and budget friendly alternative to lip gloss.
  • Exfoliate, another way to keep lips flake free is to gently brush them with a flannel, an exfoliating glove or a lip scrub. Lush make some lovely ones or you can make your own. Blogger and all round thrift queen A Thrifty Mrs has a great one that's worth a try. What ever you use be gentle!
  • If wearing foundation, apply some over your lips too, this gives a good base for your lipstick. If you're not wearing foundation then use a little concealer instead.
  • Use a lip liner that matches or is close to your lipstick, this helps to prevent the lipstick bleeding, and gives a nice crisp line.
  • If you're trying a bold colour like red for the first time and it scares you, then use your finger to dab on the colour and build the colour up to where you feel comfortable.
  • Use a lip brush, this will help it last longer but if you want to apply straight from the tube that okay. The lipstick police will not come and find you I promise!
  • After application blot the lips with a tissue and reapply, do this once or as many times as you like. This process is layering the colour and helping your pout stay painted for longer.
  • Finally - when buying a lipstick think about the finish you want. A glossy lipstick won't last as long as a matt finish. Lipsticks that have a high pigment be longer wearing. This can mean that you might have to spend a bit more but if you're going for a bold colour like red, it's important that you feel confident in it and you're not feeling that you need to keep running to the toilet to see if you need to reapply it because it's gone patchy.
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*I'm now an Amazon affiliate which means that should you click through and buy using the links above, I will make a few pennies, I won't make a fortune but may earn a few pence to put towards new reading material for my bookshelves, that fact won't effect what I recommend for you but I just wanted you to know. Enjoy!

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