Women’s lips have been a hot topic of discussion throughout history, causing a particular uproar when lipstick emerged. Red lips are an iconic symbol of sensuality and sexuality that have been used throughout history in logos, film, fashion, advertising, theatre, art, you name it. But red lips haven't always been so desirable or admired; in fact, lipstick was once banned, with a law passed declaring it to be a sign of witchcraft. Those who were found to be wearing it would be condemned as a witch, guilty of bewitching men. Lipstick was a taboo topic and fashion in Western civilisation until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Elsewhere in the world, red lipstick became socially acceptable and desirable much earlier with the Egyptians fully embracing the colouring of lips. In the UK it wasn’t until Queen Elizabeth I chose to rock red lipstick that society accepted it as a tolerable fashion. Beforehand it was considered sordid and a sign of prostitution or harlotry. The real global rise of red lipstick wasn’t until the Golden Age of Hollywood, when stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor taught us how to wear red lipstick. For the first time, technicolour film allowed us to witness the full glamour and glitz of Hollywood, and Hollywood’s leading ladies lips took main stage. Red lipstick still seems to carry connotations of a particular kind of woman, signifying female strength. Some people say that lipstick is intended to draw attention to our lips, and as this is where our words come from it commands the attention of others and encourages them to listen to us when we speak. Whereas the purpose of most cosmetics is to conceal ‘imperfections’, lipstick is designed to draw attention to our lips and accentuate one of our natural features. It’s this bold acceptance of our bodies and confidence that makes lipstick so iconic. So what do lips signify? Our lips are arguably our most prominent facial feature; protruding from our face with an enticing natural red tint. We use them to help us breathe, taste, eat and feel; they are one of our most skilled sensory receptors. As children we use them to learn about the world around us and perhaps most importantly we use them throughout life, to express our love and affection for those we care about. From both our side profiles and front facing, our lips naturally take the form of a love heart and the upper lip is said to resemble the curve of cupid’s arrow; the mythological god of desire, conceived by Venus, goddess of love and Mars, god of war. As for the colour red, it is often associated with love, passion, lust and desire, along with willpower, strength and determination; the perfect combination for a strong independent woman.