Lipstick History: The top 15 most iconic lipsticks that are still around today
Any beauty lover worth their salt knows that a lipstick isn’t just a lipstick. Applying color to your lips can be a comforting ritual, a confidence boost, a status symbol, and even carry a little piece of history! In honor of World Lipstick Day on July 29, we’re exploring our fascination with the legendary lippies that continue to be favorites years and even decades after they were first launched. They’ve proven to have offer such classic and iconic that generations of beauty lovers continue to covet them time and time again. Read our lips: these top picks are wishlist-worthy for a reason!
During a discussion about iconic lipsticks on the Project Vanity Community FB page, the majority of responses referred to 3 lipsticks that I like to call “The MAC Pack”. Priced at P1,100 each, this is the holy triumvirate of Russian Red (blue-based true red), Ruby Woo (vivid blue-based red), and Viva Glam I (brownish blue-red). The first two are coveted for their bold yet universally flattering shades of red - if you don’t know what red would look good on, you can’t go wrong with picking one of these! Meanwhile, 100% of all sales of Viva Glam I has been donated to the MAC AIDS Fund since the lipstick was created in 1994, to support the health and rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Before there was fanfare for A Song of Ice and Fire, there was a craze for Revlon’s Fire & Ice (P350 at Watsons). The Hollywood red lipstick was featured in a provocative 1952 ad with model Dorian Leigh, daring women to wear the bold shade. A year later, the alleged inspiration for Breakfast at Tiffany’s Holly Golightly character was back at it again with an ad for Cherries in the Snow (blue-based, pinkish red) also from Revlon! Rumor has it that this was writer Sylvia Plath’s signature shade, thus lending to its legend.
Who says pink lipsticks are not for everyone? Part of NARS Schiap’s (P1,500) enduring popularity is its versatility across all skin tones, owing to its confidence-inspiring shocking pink shade with a neutral undertone. Fun fact: the shade name is an homage to designer (and Coco Chanel’s rival) Elsa Schiaparelli, so feel free to Schiap until you drop.
Being named for a celebrity doesn’t necessarily guarantee a lip color’s iconic status, but being worn by one certainly can, especially when it’s royalty! Bobbi Brown’s Sandwash Pink (P1,550) became an overnight sensation when reports surfaced that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wore it on her wedding day.
French cosmetic house Guerlain originally launched the Ne m'Oubliez Pas (forget-me-not) lipstick in 1870. Its modern iteration, the Rouge G collection (P2,880 from Sephora PH), is just as memorable for the glamorous (and hefty!) mirrored lid that’s equal parts bling and beauty rolled into one. Swipe on No. 6 Warm Rosewood for an everyday wearable satiny medium pink.
The Plums and Berries
The tinted lip balm trend is making a comeback, and one of the cult favorites in the category is mos definitely Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey (P1,100). The sheer, berry-toned wash of hydrating color produces a unique effect with each set of lips that wear it.
A deep, dark, not-so-secret hit is the Tom Ford Lip Color in Bruised Plum (P2,820i). The pronounced cool-toned plum has made multiple bestseller lists for its striking, somewhat vampy color. It’s both challenging and fashionable - something you’d expect from the mind of Tom Ford.
Known for promoting an individually flattering “Pretty Powerful” makeup style, Bobbi Brown practiced what she preached and did things on her own terms when she started her makeup line. She launched 10 brown-based highly wearable lipsticks in the ‘90s, which helped establish her personal brand. If you’re tardy to the party, the Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Brown is still available.
Speaking of the ‘90s, Jennifer Aniston has revealed that MAC’s Paramount lipstick was a Rachel Green staple on Friends! And though technically not a lipstick, MAC Lip Pencil in Spice was another big deal during that era after being popularized by supermodel Linda Evangelista, and has since been revived by Kylie Jenner.
Many a famous Hollywood pout has sported the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick (GBP 24) in the nude-pink Pillow Talk. Think Julia and Emma Roberts, Alexa Chung, and Gwyneth Paltrow! The shade is so in-demand that the brand has also released Pillow Talk blush and eyeshadow palettes, as well as a Pillow Talk Diamonds Lipstick line. Orgasm is to NARS as Pillow Talk is to Charlotte Tilbury.
Finally, our list is capped off with Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick (P1,194 from Sephora.ph) in the shades Lolita (chestnut rose) and Lolita II (terra cotta nude). Though KVD herself has become controversial enough to divide the brand’s fan base, her liquid lippies are here to stay… literally after eating, drinking, kissing, and everything in between! Just like Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk, the popularity of Lolita gave rise to an entire Lolita capsule collection. Humbert Humbert who?