The Hundred-Year Evolution Of Lipstick At Avon

From deep reds to bold berries, tangy oranges to pale pinks, a rainbow of colors adorns the lips of women around the world every day. How did a product that has been perfecting pouts for centuries become a de facto form of self-expression?

Avon’s first lipstick, c.1910. Although product development started years prior, Avon began selling lipstick in 1919 in a metal container. The original offering was only two shades—light and dark—and the product was often applied in the fashionable “Cupid’s Bow” style of the times, intended to emphasize the two peaks of the upper lips.

Lipstick sample card, 1938.

By the 1930s, Avon carried five hues: Dark, Medium, Vivid, Betsy Ross and Ripe Cherry. Clients were invited to sample shades with the Avon Lipstick Sample Card, created in 1938. Each card included one of the five shades in a miniature tube and touted the lip colors’ attractive benefits (“high quality” and “amazingly indelible”).

Hand-drawn advertisement for Double Dare Red, 1946.

Inspired by sirens of the silver screen, women in the ‘40s and 50s dared to wear brighter, bolder shades of lipstick. Double Dare Red, Ruby Red and Crimson are just a few examples of shades sold to Avon clients in the more modern, post-war era.

Did you know in 16th-century England, crimson lipstick was worn to create a Queen Elizabeth look by courtesans and actors. It was considered uncouth to be worn by the general public. How times have changed!

Avon employees managing the assembly line, 1950.

Soon, Avon would have one of the fastest assembly lipstick lines, comprised of both men and women, producing over 250 lipsticks in one minute and often 300,000 lipsticks in a single day.

The 70s brought geometric prints and patterns made an debut on Avon's lipstick packaging. I'd personally love to see a new collection like this.

In this advertisement, the brand shines the spotlight on its Representatives, 1987.

A general spirit of rebelliousness pervaded the 1970s and 80s, and so bold colors like orange, coral, fuchsia supplanted the more natural colors of the 1960s and traditional matte red of the 1950s.

The 80s clearly wasn't promoting a natural look, so popular lipstick colors included cherry red, orange, fuchsia and even purple. Lip gloss was plentiful, cheap and everywhere. The late 80s saw a shift toward more matte makeup and darker lip colors such as burgundy and reddish brown

“Color is power,” Avon advertisement, 2000.

The creative forces behind Avon’s inspiring spectrum of shades close the second millennium by reminding us “color is power.

Today we have a whole host of lipsticks available and colours to suit everyone's taste so whether you're looking for some plump it purple or blush nude we have everything over at for you.

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Louise C Ratcliff



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