When was lipstick invented?

The invention of lipstick

Guerlain - 180 years of tradition

Even if Guerlain invented the first lipstick in its current (pencil) form, the origin of this legendary product is around 3000 BC. To look for in the Egyptian high culture. From here the red lips were carried around the globe, it is said that the Roman Emperor Nero and his wife Poppaea also used rouge to highlight their complexion and their lips!

While the ladies of the 16th century colored their lips with a scale insect mixture, in the early 17th century people made use of grapes in firm pomades, lightly perfumed and colored with dark grape juice and make-up root juice.

In 1828, Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain, the company's founder, imported a fascinating lip tint from England with the sounding name of Liquid Bloom of Roses.

A few years later, he improved its recipe and created the liquid rose extract "for long-lasting lip color that also survives meals". This turned out to be the first great success, the extract sold well into 1958.

Next came Roselip, a solid lip color, in a beautiful Parisian porcelain jar.

The invention of lipstick

With “Ne m’oubliez pas”, Guerlain invented the first lipstick and the first sleeve in the history of modern make-up in 1870. The pencil made of pink wax for the lips came in a case with a sliding mechanism and - as a pinnacle of sophistication - was even refillable.

“Ne m’oubliez pas” (don't forget me) was undoubtedly as memorable as it was successful. Production only stopped after the Bécon-les-Bruyères factory was bombed in 1943.

Aware that the importance of lipstick would increase in the years to come, the Guerlain family improved and perfected its visual appearance.

Rose Lip Bengale was shown in a longer and more modern shape - perfectly in line with the style of the 20s. And the equally playful and precious Rouge d’Enfer lipstick closed again in its case by pulling on a tassel (patent from 1924).


The 1930s were marked by enormous creativity. Several important innovations followed one another: Rouge Automatique, a lipstick that could be applied with one hand; Nouveau Rouge, which was offered with refills, and Jeu des Dames, which was produced solely for the American market. The color nuances were limited, but the enthusiasm was limitless. light, medium, dark, orange and tropical. The lady of the 1930s chose between light, medium, dark, orange and tropical shades, as she did not go outside without make-up and lipstick.

The 1940s were one of the difficult times. While Guerlain could only produce on a reduced basis, the company's creative drive remained unchanged.

In 1954 the 3 in 1 lipstick was born, "3 colors, 2 applications, 1 case, and clean hands"! And as early as 1956, Guerlain caused a sensation with a technical innovation: the smudge-proof Rouge G de Guerlain with an exceptional hold became a worldwide bestseller.

Since the 1960s, lipstick has been one of the highlights of the Guerlain make-up collection, which appears four times a year. And in 1986 Guerlain caused a sensation with another innovation: Rouge Bicolore revolutionized the classic lipstick: "Combine the colors and discover a new way of applying make-up to your lips"!


At the same time, Guerlain’s both brought out timeless lines, Météorites and Terracotta, lipsticks and glosses. If you had to choose one, you would have chosen the refillable Météorites lipstick (1990)!

In 1995 the name KissKiss appeared for the first time and was introduced as "the ultimate glamor for your lips".

But it wasn't until 2005 that this glamorous lipstick became a global success. The reincarnation of KissKiss comes from the imagination and talent of the designer Hervé van der Straeten. In a piece of jewelery made of golden metal, purism and sophistication combine to create an object of desire.

the opulent palette of 40 colors, designed by the creative director Olivier Echaudemaison, leaves nothing to be desired.

The extensive KissKiss line now also includes accompanying products such as varnishes, lip glosses and transparent lipsticks in chic and fashionable colors.

"Fame is ephemeral, only reputation remains" (Jean-Jacques Guerlain, 1906)

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