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How smudge-proof lipstick was invented | Moments of Vision 6 - Jessica Oreck


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Today, lip cosmetics are a billion dollar industry, with 1 out of every 3 women claiming that they won’t leave home without applying lipstick. But how did it come to be so common? In the sixth installment of our ‘Moments of Vision’ series, Jessica Oreck shares the wartime origins of long-lasting lipstick.

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Hazel Bishop created the first long-lasting lipstick, which is still a key phrase in the marketing of the product today.  But lipstick has a long and ancient history prior to the evolving needs of the working woman during the years of the Second World War - check out this timeline to see an overview of lipstick through the centuries.

Lipstick as we know it came into being, in part, because of the increased participation of women in the workplace. For more information on this, see this interactive history of women on the home front and beyond.

After the war, Bishop formed her own company called Hazel Bishop Inc, selling lipsticks for a dollar to an eager and expanding market. But battles with her stockholder led to her leaving the company in 1954.  She was involved in several other business ventures throughout her lifetime, a trailblazer for women in the field. For information on her amazing career, see her New York Times obituary.

Interested in how early cosmetics were marketed? Check out this list for fun advertisements. 

Many of us know that the images we see in fashion, beauty and advertising spreads are retouched to look more perfect than a stick of lipstick can promise. But there have also been positive evolutions in the beauty industry lately, from acknowledgements that makeup can be for all genders to a pursuit of more "natural" looks. Whatever your relationship to cosmetics, it's worth bearing Hazel Bishop's words in mind: ''personality becomes an increasingly more attractive feature.''

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jessica Oreck
  • Director Jessica Oreck
  • Animator Jessica Oreck
  • Composer Eli Janney, Nate Shaw
  • Narrator Jessica Oreck

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