Lipstick Trends Through the Decades: A Colorful Walk Down Memory Lane

1920s

During the Roaring Twenties, lipstick was was more accessible and easier to use than ever, all thanks to the invention of the basic lipstick tube in 1915 and the swivel tube in 1923. Inspired by silent film star Clara Bow, modern women of the decade wore crimson and scarlet hues painted in a thin, cupid's bow shape as a means of self-expression.

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Clara Bow, Getty Images

Assistant Digital Producer

I bought my first big-girl lipstick during college. I was perusing the cosmetics floor at Bloomingdales when a sales associate at the Chanel counter convinced me I had the perfect face for red lipstick. I had never really thought about wearing lipstick before. To me, it seemed like a chore and symbolized the working world—a world I was not ready to be a part of just yet. But after agreeing to sit in her chair and test out some options, I suddenly understood its appeal. I walked away with a golden tube that cost way more than a broke student could afford, but it's a purchase I wouldn't regret.

Lipstick quickly became my "thing". I liked how it could instantly make me feel grownup, sexy, badass, put together—or all of the above, all at once. Perhaps this power is why lipstick has remained relevant and dare I say it, culturally significant throughout every decade since its rise to popularity among the masses in the 1920s.

Let's take a colorful journey down memory lane, shall we?

 

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