Lipstick’s Complex History

Lipstick is a surprisingly political product. From the early uses in ancient societies, to rebellious years of the 1970s when it was “adopted by both sexes of the punk-rock music and cultural movement to express sex, violence and general nonconformity,” to current debates over the use of animal testing to ensure consumer safety, it’s now a common if still sometimes controversial sight. But, as Schaffer cautions, lipstick’s pattern of going “from the heights of popularity to the depths of social unacceptability make[s] it much more likely than most people probably imagine for lipstick to go severely out of fashion.”