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A phallic salute to lipstick

Welcome to the 1980s:  L’erin. which is French for “The Erin,” launches a “fiery arsenal of color” with a barrage of erectile lipsticks.

Even stranger than the phallic 21 gun salute is the wardrobe choice for the models. Why are they dressed as flight attendants? (Or did they call them “stewardesses” back in the ’80s?) Regardless, it makes no sense.

The beauty science bit: Did you ever think about how lipsticks get their sleek, glossy finish? The answer is FIRE! Here’s how it works: First, the waxes, oils, and pigments are heated and combined into a molten mixture which is poured into stick shaped molds. After the sticks cool they are inserted into cases. At this point they have a dull, grainy appearance. The final step in the process is to briefly expose the sticks to a flame which flash-melts a micro-coating of the surface, giving its characteristic gloss. Smaller manufacturers actually pass each individual lipstick over a flame by hand. Large scale manufacture uses a device called a “Flame Tunnel” which automates the process.

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  • Eileen August 24, 2014, 11:21 am

    Memories! Look at all that gorgeous BIG hair :-) Abundant hairpieces aside, those aren’t stewardess uniforms. Those are supposed to be military uniforms to go along with the theme of the 21 gun salute. I don’t remember the 80’s as being a particularly militaristic decade, so I’m not sure why anyone in marketing thought it was such a great advertising strategy. Sure, the lipstick itself is called a “bullet”, but this particular commercial seems odd for a product that is the quintessential phallic symbol of the makeup world. And, if anyone has any doubt about that, take a look at Tom Ford’s suggestive 2010 publicity shot for the launch of his lipstick line. Lips and lipstick = labia and penis. Tom Ford, that sexy scoundrel, certainly didn’t mince around that connection!

    As for your science bit, I had always wondered how lipstick got that glossy look but obviously not enough to google it. LOL But, now I know–Flame Tunnel!

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