While the available shades of lipstick would seem infinite, so are the shades of red one can choose from. Red has many cultural connotations. And from the beginning of red lipstick, the wearer chooses a bold statement.
The first known red lipsticks were made by crushing gemstones and wearing them on the lips in Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago. Later lipsticks would be made from red algae and fish scales. The first molded lipsticks resembling what we use today were invented by Abu al-Qasim al Zenrawi during the Islamic Golden Age.
In 1770 England, a law ruled a marriage could be annulled if a woman wore lipstick before her wedding day. Lipstick was associated with actors and prostitutes, regardless of the fact that Queen Elizabeth I was known for wearing bright red lips with a powdered white complexion.
By the 1920s it was finally accepted and fashionable for a Londoner to wear her lipstick, almost 40 years after it's commercial debut by Guerlain.
Dark Red was the color of choice in the 1920s. Women wore red as a symbol of their new found independence. Actress Clara Bow inspired the "cupid's bow" worn at the time. Women had the freedom to now apply their lipstick in public.
Today red lipstick is synonymous with fashion, glamour, beauty, sexuality, rebellion, winter, luxury and wealth...This list is as endless as the shades.