Who Invented Lip Gloss?

Lip gloss photo by Jenah Crump.

This clear, shiny, sticky liquid has been around for well over 80 years, adding shimmer and shine to many women's lips.

So who invented lip gloss? Max Factor did. Mr. Factor (born Maximilian Faktorowicz) was a makeup artist to early movie stars. He designed the looks of many old Hollywood film actresses, from Joan Crawford to Clara Bow. Factor first started using lip gloss in the 1920s, to give women shinier lips. He also offered the first commercially available lip gloss, X-Rated, starting in 1932. The gloss was so popular it was only retired in 2003, by the Max Factor company.

Lip gloss grew quite popular in the 1970s. With this popularity, new types, from flavored "lip smackers," to shimmery, metallic hues, to frosty, lightly-colored glosses all emerged on the market.

Because it's relatively inexpensive, both to make and to sell, lip gloss is heavily marketed, especially as an impulse buy. Mr. Factor's invention has not changed much since he registered a patent, and whatever the marketing claims, almost all brands come off as somewhat sticky.

Related Reading:

MAC Lipglosses

Bobbi Brown Lipglosses

A Brief History of Lipstick

Bare Escentuals Mineral Makeup

How to Apply Mascara

Black Lipstick

Style and Money


Lip gloss photo by Jenah Crump. Used under an Attribution-No-Derivs license.

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