During the Islamic Golden Age the notable Arab Andalusian cosmetologist Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis) invented solid lipsticks, which were perfumed stocks rolled and pressed in special molds, and he described them in his Al-Tasrif. Lipstick started to gain popularity in England the 16th century, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who made piercing red lips and bright white faces a fashion statement. By that time, lipstick was made from a blend of beeswax and red stains from plants.
During the Second World War, lipstick gained popularity as a result of its use in the movie industry, and it became commonplace for women to apply makeup, or "put their face on".
Max Factor, a very well known and respected cosmetics company, created one of the first stage blood products for use in theater and film. The formula is similar to lipstick, except it lacks bees wax and therefore has a viscosity similar to human blood.
As with most other types of makeup, lipstick is typically, but not exclusively, worn by women. It is usually not worn until a female reaches adolescence or adulthood. Male lipstick, especially as used in theater, is sometimes called "manstick".
Another form of lip color, a wax-free semi-permanent liquid formula, was invented in the 1990s by the Lip-Ink International company. Other companies imitated the idea, putting out their own versions of long-lasting "lip stain" or "liquid lip color", but were not allowed to infringe on the patented wax-free formula.
A study by US consumer group Campaign For Safe Cosmetics, in October 2007 found 60 percent of lipsticks tested contained traceable amounts of lead. The levels of lead varied from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million. One third of the lipsticks containing lead exceeded the 0.1ppm limit set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for lead in candy.
In politics, the phrase was used by American politician John McCain during the 2008 campaign for the Presidency of the United States. McCain referred to Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton's health care proposal as nothing more than "lipstick on a pig." More recently, Democratic candidate Barack Obama referred to the republican party's recent embrace of "change" as nothing more than "lipstick on a pig."