Archaeologists have found the oldest lipstick, 3,700 years old.

In 2001, near the Iranian city of Jiroft, archaeologists discovered an ornate bottle made of the mineral chlorite. Inside a small container, scientists found a mixture of various red substances, as well as particles of delicious-smelling plants. It was not difficult to guess that this was an ancient lipstick that could be used by women to highlight their beauty. Only recently, more than two decades later, researchers analyzed the find and found out that the lipstick was made 3,700 years ago. This was new evidence that people have been using cosmetics since the Bronze Age. This discovery may also indicate that cosmetics were invented by people who lived in what is now Iran.

Archaeologists have found the oldest lipstick, 3,700 years old. The oldest lipstick is more than 3,000 years old. Photo.

The oldest lipstick is more than 3,000 years old


  • 1 Where and when were cosmetics invented
  • 2 The most ancient lipstick
  • 3 Cosmetics of ancient times< /li>
  • 4 What are cosmetics for?

Where and when were cosmetics invented

Recent scientific work has shown that the oldest lipstick was made between 1936 and 1687 BC. In fact, such a find was not a surprise – previously, scientists had already found ancient samples of eye shadow, eyeliner and other cosmetics. And they were all made around the Bronze Age in what is now the Middle East and Egypt.

Where and when were cosmetics invented. Humanity invented cosmetics many thousands of years ago. Photo.

Humanity invented cosmetics many thousands of years ago

But the lipstick from Jiroft had one interesting feature. Typically, all ancient cosmetics were dark, and scientists found dyes in lipstick to give it a red tint.

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The oldest lipstick

Archaeologists found only powder inside the bottle. Most of it contained hematite, a widespread iron mineral that has an intense red color. To slightly darken the red tint, manganite, brownite and other minerals were added to the composition. Scientists also found plant fibers among the components. Most likely, the plants were added to give the lipstick a pleasant aroma.

The most ancient lipstick. Ancient lipstick under a microscope. Photo.

Ancient lipstick under a microscope

The presence of quartz in the powder puzzled scientists. According to one version, this mineral was added to lipstick to make it shine in the sun. Another version says that the quartz simply peeled off from the bottle over many thousands of years. No one knows for sure which of these versions is correct – you can share your opinion in our Telegram chat.

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Cosmetics of ancient times

The authors of the scientific work noted that whatever the color of the lipstick, its composition is surprisingly reminiscent of the recipe for modern cosmetics. True, in addition to coloring substances, current lipsticks also add wax that gives stability, oils that soften and moisturize the lips, as well as auxiliary substances that protect against external influences.

The bottle of ancient lipstick is decorated with fine serifs and is “unlike any other similar object currently known.” Based on this, scientists believe that in the Bronze Age all types of cosmetics were packaged in containers of a certain shape that were characteristic only of them. This is what cosmetics manufacturers do now – creams are usually sold in low and wide jars, lipsticks in long bottles, and so on.

Cosmetics of ancient times. Bottle with ancient lipstick. Photo.

Bottle with ancient lipstick

Over time, cosmetics became more sophisticated and widespread. Judging by archaeological finds, cosmetic products were used by the inhabitants of Ancient Egypt, and they were also popular among the Greeks and Romans. For example, the Egyptians used aloe juice to moisturize the skin. They applied black mineral powders to the eyelids to make the eyes more expressive. The ancient Greeks and Romans had their own recipes for lip and cheek paints based on natural dyes and wax.

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What are cosmetics for?

Scientists will never know who exactly used the ancient lipstick. However, the find shows that people were using cosmetics already in the Bronze Age. The main purpose of any lipstick is to give your lips a vibrant and attractive color. This cosmetic also moisturizes lips and protects them from the wind. Some modern lipsticks contain substances that protect against ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

What is cosmetics for? Evidence of the use of cosmetics can be found even in ancient drawings. Photo.

Evidence of the use of cosmetics can be found even in ancient drawings

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Today, some people are afraid of cosmetics, because cheap options may contain dangerous substances. Scientists are also alarmed by the fact that 90% of cosmetic products contain dangerous bacteria. Especially a lot of them accumulate on sponges for applying products to the skin.