Why is lipstick shaped the way it is?

A lipstick is the first thing one thinks of when talking about makeup. It is an essential element of day to day well-being of women by beautifying their lips and face with its various shades and textures, whether in a party, a formal meeting or a regular outing.

Why is lipstick shaped the way it is?

The lipstick we see today in the stick or brush form with an inner angle is just for its even application on the lips. They are given the shape to put it precisely according to the shape and lines of lips and properly covering its outline with a proper finishing texture.


How did lipstick got its shape as it is now?

Origin and development

To know about the present shape of lipsticks, we must look into the history to find out its origin and development over time.

Lipstick originated in Japan and Egypt. It was not called lipstick at that time but was similar to painting the lips.

When Queen Elizabeth started painting her lips in Great Britain, it was known to be associated with the women of the upper class. Painting the lips or using color on lips was a symbol of upper class women.

Only the shades of red color were used initially to color the lips which suit well with white faces and brighten them. This led to the popularity of coloring the lips, now called lipsticks.

The first lipstick

The lip color used by Queen Elizabeth and the women of Britain and Egypt was not in a tube or stick form as we see today.

The lipsticks did not contain any chemicals or long processes of manufacturing unlike today.

They were made at home with the help of natural dyes and extracts.

The most common ways of developing lip color at that time were-

  • Crushing gemstones and decorating them on the lips
  • Crushing bugs to create a red lip color
  • Use of ochre as a lip color
  • Extracting dye from plants and insects
  • Crushing mulberries

The first lipstick was invented in France in 1882 by a Perfume brand.

It was covered in silk paper and had deer tallow, castor oil and beeswax as ingredients. Lipstick became high in demand by 1921.

Evolution of the shape of lipstick

The first lipstick had carmine dye, extracted from scale insects on cactus plants and mixed with aluminium or calcium salts, as its main ingredient. It was applied with the help of a brush.

The carmine dye then came in mixed forms with other ingredients. Oil and wax base was added to the carmine dye. With this addition, lipsticks started coming in tubes made of paper, tinted papers or in tiny pots.

Then came the time when push-up containers made of metal were used. They had a lever-like tool on the side which was used to move the lipstick upwards with the help of a fingernail.

Lipsticks were made available in salons and shops when it came in swivel-up tubes.They became a part of the culture of women.

Plastic and paper tubes began their use during the second world war, when some countries were facing crisis and replaced the metal tubes used. It also became unavailable for sometime due to shortage of raw materials.

The first long- lasting lipstick was invented just after the second world war by an organic chemist, Hazel Bishop in New Jersey which was known as ‘No-Smear Lipstick’.

Other forms of lipsticks also started originating in the form of lip stains and lip colors by many companies around the globe.


Different shapes of lipsticks available in the market

The lipsticks have now evolved to be of different shapes as per the requirements of the customers. People choose the appropriate shape according to their comforts and specificity.

The lipsticks are classified into three shapes as demanded by most people around the world. Below are some of the most popular shapes chosen by people around the world-

Flat Shaped Lipstick

It is formed as a hard pressed lipstick which gives the advantage of quick application to the lips. The disadvantage of using a flat shaped lipstick is that it does not give a proper outline according to the shape of the lips.

Curve Shaped Lipstick

It is the type of lipstick which has a protruding arrow in the shape of a bullet. This is comparatively difficult to fill in the lines of the lips but is quite helpful in giving an outline to the lips. Also, the shape is moulded into a flat lipstick after some time of its use.

Slope Shaped Lipstick

It is the most preferred and viable shape of lipstick demanded and used by people. The shape is like a slope which is elevated at one end and lowered at the other. This shape aids in providing the desired outline to lips and evenly filling the lipstick in the inner lines of the lips.


The shape of the lipstick depends on the type we prefer.

The lipstick which originated in the form of a paint, referred to as lip color has now evolved to be in the shape of a slope as we see today.

These modifications are done according to the advancement in time, needs and choices of the people as is the case with the shape of a lipstick.

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