After two years hidden beneath masks, lips are back - well, part-time, at least.
While face coverings are still very much part of our everyday London routines, with the return to the office, and after work and weekend events back on the agenda, more of us are blowing the dust off our makeup bags to excavate the products within.
If you, like us, find yourselves shrinking at the thought of applying cosmetics well past their use-by dates, the time has never been better to bin them and start afresh.
Read my lips
Skincare sales may have shot through the roof under 20/21 Stay at Home diktats (why bother with makeup for Zoom calls when a filter can do the job in a click?), but in 2022, our money’s on long lasting lip colour that can go the distance.
We’re not the only ones; John Lewis reported a 30 per cent uptick in lipstick sales in December 2021‘s pre-party season, and though the tinsel has been stored away, the department store believes it’s a trend that’s going to stick around.
Similarly, in Net-A-Porter’s 2022 beauty trends presentation, the luxury online retailer predicted that when shoppers opt for makeup over skincare, they’ll be looking for a dopamine hit of colour in “a wider and surprising colour palette beyond the usual nudes and pinks”.
In other words, lips are set to do 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-lasting lipsticks used to be of the matte (read: drying) variety, but there are new brands with fresh, hydrating formulas to throw your money at, as well as new collections from leading labels with the sort of staying power that gives BoJo’s stint at No.10 a run for his money.
We’ve rounded up the lipsticks that impressed us the most.
Shop them now
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.
Buy now £24.00, NARS
Max Factor Elixir Soft Matte Lipstick in Soft Berry 40
Given the A-list seal of approval by actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Max Factor’s soft matte lipstick is perfect for fans of a soft infusion of colour, rather than the bold look often associated with statement lipsticks. It’s lightweight and buildable with an easy-to-apply texture yet the colour stays put no matter what you’re doing. A true handbag hero.
Buy now £9.99, Superdrug
M.A.C Lipstick - Matte, Smoked Purple
Where better to get a longwear lipstick than from a brand founded on the need to create cosmetics that last under the heat, glare and long hours of a photoshoot? A favourite for brides as well as drag queens like RuPaul, M.A.C, it’s incredibly inclusive in its colour offerings: there are 20 hues in the matte lipstick range including Smoked Purple in a dark-and-stormy aubergine.
Buy now £17.50, John Lewis
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.
Buy now £35.00, Selfridges
Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Colour in Underdawg
Fenty’s Stunna lip paint leaves other long-lasting lippies in the dust. Lips are sealed in a selection of reds, nudes, pinks and purples - there’s even a gothy black Uninvited shade for those who want to express their dark side. We’re taken by Underdawg, a bitten cherry colour with a touch of 90s vamp.
As one of the most inclusive beauty brands around, the colours have been chosen to look sensational on every skin tone. Twelve-hour high impact colour that you don’t have to reapply every five seconds - what’s not to love?
Buy now £22.00, Harvey Nichols
Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick in Trophy Wife
Huda Kattan might be the most-followed MUA on social media, but she doesn’t rest on her laurels. Her makeup range continually evolves and improves: the latest to get an update is the range of liquid matte lipstick. Housed in a tube with a precise brush applicator, the vegan formula feels nourishing yet light: it won’t swamp your lips in anything but intense colour.
Top tip: wait 30 seconds for the colour to dry (it will deepen ever so slightly) and the non-transfer finish to kick in, then go about your day safe in the knowledge the colour won’t budge.
Buy now £18.00, Selfridges
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Pillow Talk
No lipstick list is complete without mention of Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk, a modern classic. The dusky peach hue has loyal fans around the world for its universally flattering colour that lasts well into the early hours. It’s packed with moisturising ingredients to condition lips and help them appear fuller. If you’re looking for power in your pout, this one goes the extra mile.
Buy now £25.00, Cult Beauty
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.
Buy now £25.00, Boots
Emolyne Lipstick in Fes
Named after various cities and countries across the African continent, each shade of lipstick in Emolyne’s range is a little grenade of glamour and pizzaz, thanks in part to the ombre glitter bullet packaging. There are 30 colours on offer, each sharing a creamy formula with a semi-matte finish, ideal for anyone who likes a little sheen on their lips. The colour wheel is safe but classic, consisting of reds and nudes to complement all skin tones.
Buy now £23.00, Emolyne
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.
Buy now £30.00, Boots
Urban Decay Vice Matte Lipstick in Uptight
Offering all-vegan formulas, Urban Decay’s Vice line of lipsticks are a one-application wonder. Fans of the brand will know that it’s not one to shy away from bold colour, but it nails nudes well too (think its iconic Naked eyeshadow palettes). This buildable matte is made with an aloe vera/avocado blend to ensure lips get the care they deserve while the high pigment packs in colour with every swipe. There are reds galore of course, but if you’re after a colour for everyday wear, shade Uptight is a warm peach that works for all sorts of occasions.
Buy now £19.00, Cult Beauty