After two years of hiding under a mask, lips are back – well, at least part of the time.
While facial cover-ups are still part of our London routine, as we head back to the office and after-work and weekend events get back on the agenda, more of us are blowing the dust off our makeup bags and digging into the products inside.
If like us, you find yourself scowling at the thought of using makeup that has passed its expiry date, it’s time to throw them out and start afresh.
Read My Lips
With the 20/21 “stay at home” directive, skin care sales may have gone through the roof (why bother with amplified calls when a filter can do the job at the touch of a button?
We’re not the only ones; John Lewis reported a 30% rise in lipstick sales for the December 2021 pre-party season, and while bling has been put away, the department store sees this as a trend that’s here to stay.
Similarly, in Net-A-Porter’s 2022 beauty trends report, the online luxury retailer predicts that when shoppers choose makeup over skincare, they will be looking for a dopamine-style color with “a broader and surprising range of colors beyond the usual nudes and pastels.”
In other words, lips will be doing some talking this year.
Lipstick = instant makeover
No beauty product is as instantly transformative as a swipe of lippy. Whether you’re jet-lagged, hungover, stressed or just need a shot of confidence before a meeting or a date, good lipstick won’t solve all your problems, but it can be a great place to start.
As NARS founder and creative director François Nars puts it: “It has such a strong impact on the face. You feel immediately elegant and chic and it gives the face a lot of strength. It gives you more power.”
Lips that last
Long-wearing lipsticks used to be the matte (read: dry) variety, but now new brands are offering fresh, hydrating formulas to choose from, as well as new collections from leading brands with the staying power to give BoJo’s work experience at No. 10 a try.
We’ve rounded up the lipsticks that have impressed us the most.
NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in Don’t Stop
Somewhat of an oldie, but always a goodie, this liquid lipstick has been put to the ultimate test. We’ve worn it scaling up Mount Snowdon and it looked as flawless at the summit as it did when we began the hike five hours previously. Using a brush applicator, the pigment locks onto lips like ink, and dries matte, feeling invisible – no flyaway hairs stuck to the formula here.
Max Factor Elixir Soft Matte Lipstick in Soft Berry 40
Awarded an A-list seal of approval by actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Max Factor’s soft matte lipstick is perfect for fans who prefer pastel colors to the bold look usually associated with statement lipstick. It’s lightweight and easy to apply, and the color stays put no matter what you do. An authentic handbag hero.
M.A.C Lipstick – Matte, Smoked Purple
What better place to start than with long-lasting lipsticks from a brand created to create makeup that lasts even in the heat, bright light, and long photo sessions? M.A.C is a favorite of brides and drag queens like RuPaul. Its color offerings are incredibly inclusive: the matte lipstick collection comes in 20 shades, including dark and moist eggplant smoky purple.
Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance Lipstick in Elson
What legendary MUA Pat McGrath doesn’t know about beauty isn’t worth knowing. Her eponymous cosmetics line includes MatteTrance lipsticks, which come in a variety of catwalk-worthy shades. Texture-wise it feels like a veil but the colour pay-off is anything but. Make them stop-and-stare with shade Elson, a yellow-based red which brings all the sunshine vibes.
Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Colour in Underdawg
Fenty’s Stunna lipstick leaves other long-lasting lipsticks in the dust. Lips are sealed in a selection of reds, nudes, pinks, and purples – there’s even a black Uninvited shade for those who want to express their darker side. We were drawn to Underdawg, a cherry shade with a 90s twist.
As one of the most inclusive beauty brands, the colors are chosen to appeal to every skin tone. With twelve hours of high-impact color, you don’t have to reapply every five seconds. LOVE.
Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick in Trophy Wife
Huda Kattan may be the most followed MUA on social media, but she’s not content with her accomplishments. Her cosmetic line is constantly evolving and improving: the latest to get an update is the Liquid Matte Lipstick line. It comes in a tube with a precise brush, and the vegan formula gives a moisturizing and light feel: apart from the intense color, it won’t overwhelm your lips.
Best advice: wait 30 seconds for the color to dry (it will deepen slightly) and for the non-transferable effect to take effect, then go on with your day, knowing that the paint will not change.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Pillow Talk
No list of lipsticks would be complete without mentioning Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk, a modern classic. The dim peachy shade has a loyal fan base worldwide because it is a generally pleasing color that lasts into the wee hours of the morning. It contains moisturizing ingredients that condition the lips and help them look fuller. This product will have an extra effect if you want strength for your lips.
BITE Beauty power move soft matte lipstick
Relatively new to our shores, BITE Beauty is the brand every makeup obsessive needs on their radar. The Hot Tomato shade in its Power Move lipstick collection has instantly won a place in our handbags. It’s fade and feather resistant (even under a mask at rush hour) and though matte, uses cocoa butter and tapioca pearls to hydrate and condition lips all day long. There are 20 hues to choose from if bold red isn’t your thing and the colour payoff is fantastic – although reapplication after eating is necessary.
Emolyne Lipstick in Fes
Named after various cities and countries on the continent, each shade of lipstick in the Emolyne collection is a little grenade of glamour and panache, thanks in part to the ombre glitter bomb packaging. There are 30 colors to choose from, each with a semi-matte, creamy formula ideal for those who like a little shine on their lips. The color wheel is safe and classic, consisting of reds and nudes to complement all skin tones.
YSL Vernis À Lèvres Vinyl Cream Liquid Lip Gloss in Orange Electro
Proving not all long-lasting lipsticks need to be matte, YSL Beauty’s Vinyl Cream is a worthy addition to your makeup bag for its light-as-a-feather formula and buildable stain-effect colour. Glossy, bright colour to make your day.
Urban Decay Vice Matte Lipstick in Uptight
Urban Decay’s Vice line of lipsticks offers an all-vegetable formula that is a one-application wonder. Fans of the brand will know that it doesn’t shy away from bold colors, but it also nails nude colors well (think its signature Naked eyeshadow palette). This buildable matte uses an aloe/avocado blend to ensure lips get the care they deserve, while the high pigmentation brings out the color in every application. Sure, there are plenty of reds out there, but if you’re looking for a color for everyday wear, Uptight is a warm peachy color that’s perfect for all occasions.