THE POWER OF LIPSTICK
On National Lipstick Day, this beauty editor explains why a simple pop of colour on the lips can naturally empower, inspire and transform…
I was destined to have a lifelong love affair with lipstick. Unlike most kids whose first words were Mumma, or Dada, mine was ‘lippenstift’, the German word for lipstick. Sadly, I wasn’t a child genius, I’m just half-German, which explains the choice of language. But the point is, out of all the words I could have picked to master, I chose the name of the thing that has mesmerised me for decades.
Before the ability to ask for it by name, I’d attempt to pry my mother’s lipstick out of her hand whenever I found her using it. Anytime the house suddenly got very quiet the first place my mother would look for me was her bedroom, where I’d invariably be found attempting to adorn my lips with the brightest shade she had.
Today, I own close to 100 lipsticks, and I have to talk myself out of acquiring new ones on a regular basis. There are trendy bright shades and loyal classics that have seen me through everything, from first dates and job interviews to break-ups and weeks spent in hospital. Every single one I own feels like a visual representation of a state of mind – be it my actual state of mind at any given time, or a state of mind I’d like to instantly transport myself to. Think: happy, confident, powerful.
The History of Lipstick
For me, the psychological boost provided by these bullets of colour is unparalleled - and I'm not the only one who thinks so. The ‘lipstick effect’ (when recessions hit, lipstick sales increase) is proof of that. And throughout history, lipstick has been used as a symbol of protest, power, independence, and so much more.
The Sumerians (who lived in what is now known as Southern Iraq) are thought to be the first to have invented and worn lipstick, a good 5,000 years ago. Fruit, henna, clay rust, insects and even ground precious jewels were used to add not just colour but shimmer to their lips. Fast forward 3,000 years and the Ancient Egyptians took lipstick to the next level, making it a symbol of social status for both men and women.
It wasn’t until the Greek Empire that lipstick took a sordid turn and was required by law to be worn by prostitutes. So, by the advent of Christianity, lipstick had become majorly taboo and linked with satanic values and witchcraft. By the 16th Century though, in the UK and Europe at least, Queen Elizabeth (who used makeup to cover her smallpox scars) made red lipstick acceptable among the nobility. This did not make a bold lip acceptable for the masses though, and red lipstick was still seen as scandalous and provocative as late as the early 20th century - which is why the suffragettes adopted it as a symbol of rebellion and power.
Only two decades later, and the perception of lipstick changed again, so much so that even Winston Churchill understood the positive impact that a swipe of colour could have. Churchill kept lipsticks in full production during World War II to increase morale, while other cosmetics were rationed. Post-World War II, The Golden Era of Hollywood cemented lipstick into our everyday lives. Since then, while shades and finishes have fallen in and out of favour, lipstick has never not been a makeup bag staple.
Human beings’ unshakeable devotion to this cosmetic creation has roots in how it makes us feel, too. Multiple studies have shown that wearing lipstick helps women feel empowered and more confident. It can boost mood, make us more attractive to others, and even impact our earning potential. Clearly, I was on to something as a child!
A dash of colour doesn’t have to be reserved for a special occasion, which is why Tropic have created a rainbow of creamy, lightweight formulas for you to explore. Kiss Me Quick is the ultimate lip-confidence hero. With a range of high-pigment colours – from rich reds and pretty pinks to sultry plum and nude shades – there is something for all skin tones, moods and occasions. The kiss me quick flower – this lippy’s natural namesake – stimulates collagen, while hyaluronic acid and plant peptides swoop in to create the ultimate plumped-up appeal. An infusion of tropical essential oils ensure your colour glides on and stays on – so your lips feel soft, comfortable, and confident all day long.
Want an extra reason to smile? Well, this purpose-driven lipstick is vegan and cruelty-free. Plus, you can replenish your mood-boosting supply with a refill cartridge or lipstick pan – to reduce plastic waste and protect the planet. See, what did I tell you? There’s just no end to lipstick’s power as a force for good.