Classic red, cherry red, velvety red, it might take you several minutes to choose the right lipstick shade to match your style, but it takes way much longer to produce one. The journey of creating a touch of red might begin with a red pepper seed in Yanqi, an ancient town on ancient China’s trading route – the Silk Road. Red, the most auspicious color in the Chinese culture, is also the color of autumn in the county of Yanqi located in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. A bird’s-eye view of the county reveals the remarkable sight of drying red peppers in the sun – a red “sea” as far as the eye can see. Over half of these red peppers would be used to extract capsanthin, a natural red pigment widely used in food, medicine and cosmetics, especially lipsticks. Locals give them a nickname: the lipstick pepper.


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