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Judi Lynn

(161,095 posts)
Thu May 23, 2024, 11:53 PM May 23

4,000-year-old vial contains ancient red lipstick, archeologists say [View all]

The substance found in the stone vial was made from different minerals — including hematite, shown in red. (F. Zorzi via CNN Newsource)

Katie Hunt

Published March 18, 2024 3:56 p.m. CDT

A small stone vial discovered in southeastern Iran contained a red cosmetic that was likely used as a lip colouring nearly 4,000 years ago, according to archeologists.

The rare find is “probably the earliest” example of lipstick to be scientifically documented and analyzed, the researchers reported in February in the journal Scientific Reports.

More than 80 per cent of the analyzed sample was made up of minerals that produce a deep red colour — primarily hematite. The mixture also contained manganite and braunite, which have dark hues, as well as traces of other minerals and waxy substances made from vegetables and other organic substances.

“Both the intensity of the red colouring minerals and the waxy substances are, surprisingly enough, fully compatible with recipes for contemporary lipsticks,” the study authors noted.

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