The Origins of Lip Gloss: A Short History

Lip gloss has always had a bright, shiny future, from its early roots in the movie industry to today’s at-home creations from aspiring beauty gurus. When it comes to the origins of lip gloss, it’s a short history. But with innovations from people like you, there’s much more to come.

5,000 years ago: The invention of lipstick beat lip gloss to the punch.

1930: Hollywood’s black-and-white films were captivating the world, but starlets didn’t really shine onscreen. A Polish immigrant, Maksymilian Faktorowicz, had the solution: “Lip pomade,” formulated by the newly-named Max Factor, added a new dimension to beauty.

1932: Max Factor’s “X-Rated” lip gloss became available to consumers.

1973: Bonne Bell introduced Lip Smackers, which appealed to pre-teens and teens transitioning to full makeup. The small tubes fit into pockets, while teens proudly displayed the jumbo versions around their necks. Fruity “flavors” for first kisses sealed the deal.

1976: “Charlie’s Angels” popularized thick, glossy hair—and lips to match. Somehow, at-home audiences never saw the hair getting stuck to the gloss.

1977: The first Victoria’s Secret catalog hit mailboxes. Within the decade, the company forever linked sex appeal with colorful push-up bras and glossy lips.

1983: Madonna’s hit “Lucky Star” revealed her penchant for trendy neon lip gloss in shocking shades of pink, red, and orange.

The late ’90s: Plastic surgery techniques evolved for plumping lips, just as Angelina Jolie’s emo pout became more famous than her acting. Those with smaller budgets made do by amplifying their natural assets with transparent gloss.

2000: Lancôme’s Juicy Tubes caught the attention of celebrities like Britney Spears. Glass-like gloss was the ultimate way to complement pink Juicy Couture sweats.

2003: Procter and Gamble finally retired Max Factor’s original lip gloss formula.

2005: DuWop’s Lip Venom sold out on QVC in under three minutes. Its combination of cinnamon, wintergreen, and ginger promised to rush blood to the lips for a bee-stung effect.

2010: Instagram increased demand for makeup that photographed well.

2017: Google identified “do-it-yourself” as one of the year’s biggest trends, and DIYers learned to customize their own cosmetics.

Today: Lip gloss has survived all of fashion’s twists and turns, earning a permanent place in makeup bags. Bases such as Versagel have removed any trace of the gluey, sticky texture of years past. Premium lip oils such as jojoba, argan, sweet almond, and apricot kernel add healing properties that make lip gloss a must for self-care.

It’s never been easier to craft your own cosmetics, and No Prob-Llama offers everything from ingredients to packaging. With lip gloss additives, you can customize your lip gloss’s scent and tint and give it a metallic finish, a splash of shimmer, or a more holographic effect.

Lip gloss has its origins in the glamor of Hollywood stars, but today, lip gloss makes it possible for everyone to shine. It’s all led to this: Easy access to the best ingredients for creating your own brand of beauty. So stock up, and get out there. Create some more history.