The first metal lipstick tube was invented in 1915 by Maurice Levy and by 1923, the modern swivel lipstick tube was patented. Shortly thereafter, beauty companies like Chanel, Guerlain, Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubenstein, and Max Factor started to create lipsticks.
In the 1940s companies like Maybelline, Revlon, and CoverGirl targeted their core audiences –girls aged 16 and up– by marketing lipstick and by the late 1940s, 90% of American women wore lipstick.
By the 1950s red lips were a way of life for Hollywood screen stars and housewives. 98% of women in the U.S. wore lipstick during these years. In the 1960s pale lips were popular and in the 1970s grunge ushered in black and dark purple lips, while disco made fuchsia and opalescent purple lipsticks the rage.
In the 1980s, bold reds made a comeback. During this time, M.A.C introduced their first line of lipsticks and Madonna made their Russian Red popular by wearing it throughout her Like a Virgin World Tour. Sade’s red lips and pony tail were emulated by women worldwide.
Bobbi Brown brought the natural brown lipstick to market and spawned an empire in the 1990s, while Monica Lewensky made the nude lip an instant hit during her interview with Barbara Walters.
Today, red lipsticks are iconic. From Rihanna to Iman – red knows no boundaries.
With literally thousands of red lipsticks on the market, we narrowed down 10 that are pivotal to the history of the red lip.
Trending—National Lipstick Day: 10 Iconic Red Lipsticks – Then & Now
The first metal lipstick tube was invented in 1915 by Maurice Levy and by 1923, the modern swivel lipstick tube was patented.