Lipstick is one of the most commonly worn cosmetic items around the world, and it has quite a history too. Historians have found evidence that wearing lip colour first dates back to the Sumerians, almost 5000 years ago, who used to stain their lips with fruit juice, clays, henna and rust (of all things). Mesopotamians took it a step further and used crushed gemstones. And of course, crushed cochineal beetles were very common as they rendered a ‘beautiful’ red. Beetles are actually still used as a pigment today – it’s called carmine. Most civilisations have, at some point, used cosmetics in some form, and yes, sometimes they contained some harmful ingredients like lead or mercury.
The first solid lipstick was believed to have been created around 9 AD, by Andalusian- Arab scientist Abū al-Qāsim Khalaf ibn al-'Abbās al-Zahrāwī al-Ansari (known as Al-Zahrawi). He was a surgeon, chemist and physicist (what an overachiever!) and created a solid base for perfume, before using it to make all sorts of products and among them, the first ever stick lipstick. Beyond that, he made some incredible medical discoveries too – many that we still use today.
Thankfully, we no longer need to rely on ingredients which may contain heavy metals, or animal fats. Green chemistry has come a long way and there are now some incredible ingredients which give you bold colour, without the debilitating side effects.
Have you heard about our lipstick range? You might be aware that they come in the coolest plastic-free packaging – home-compostable, of course – water-based lined cardboard tubes, made from sustainably grown trees which will break down in your compost, plant pot or backyard to add nutrients back to your soil.
But, what about the stuff in them? What are Ethique lipsticks made out of?
We thought we would break it down for you:
- 21% Colourants: Things like mica, titanium dioxide, iron oxides and ultramarines. If you want to understand these in more depth, visit our blog post here.
- 60% Liquid oils: We use a combination of castor oil for shine and longevity on the lips, ethyl macadamiate for that beautiful easy glide across your lips, moringa oil for the hint of nourishment and sunflower oil for softening.
- 18% Plant waxes: We use two, candelilla for structure and stick strength, and carnauba for heat tolerance and shine.
- ~1% antioxidant: to ensure they last both on the shelf, and in your pocket or handbag.
So, lipsticks on the face of it are quite simple. The trick is ensuring the stick is firm enough to last in your pocket and provide a firm pressure when you use it, but also has enough glide so that they don’t feel dry and grippy. The colourants affect their application too, so for each tweak of each shade, the formulation was tweaked too.
It took a long time to get these lipsticks to the long-lasting, easy to apply, bold colour beauties that they are, so I hope you enjoy them.