Today, I met a friend who hasn’t bought a lipstick in 6 years. 6 years! As someone who probably buys 6 lipsticks a WEEK, this was almost impossible for me to comprehend. In fact, a lipstick is my desert island product… the one thing I cannot live without beauty-wise!
Feeling low and looking drab? Swipe on a luscious red lipstick. Want to channel instant sophistication? Pencil in lips with a nude hue. Need to look pulled together in a hurry? A quick dab of pink will do the trick. How does one manage without this essential makeup accessory?
But what about the lipsticks that dry out your pout, asks one friend. Or when it has a tendency to get on your teeth, asks another. And what if there is no mirror in sight for re-application? Or you don’t have a stead hand to paint within the lines neatly? Or they make your upper lip sweat? Or come off on everything? Or… or… or… ugh! I had no idea so many people had so many problems with lipstick.
And that’s when the penny dropped: this is the reason so many beauty brands are launching innovative color-gloss-balm hybrids that leave a wash of color without being overwhelming, are so easy to apply that you don’t even need a mirror, provide hydration and have a lightweight finish.
I heard someone refer to them as the “training wheels for lipstick” and it seems pretty spot-on. Except that these formulas are so cool that they might just fill in the space for lipstick in your beauty wardrobe, whether you actually like lipstick or not!
Clinique Chubby Stick Intense
#CliniqueDidItFirst. The brand actually launched its first Chubby Stick in the ’90s (who remembers the originals?). However, it’s the 2011 version that set the market ablaze, launching a whole slew of me-too products by other brands. My favorite, though, is the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense, which combines the good-for-you benefits of a lip balm with the ease and convenience of a pencil. $16
The makeup equivalent of a Crayola marker (the likeness is seriously startling), this brand new lip stain makes it super-easy to stay within the lines thanks to a chisel felt tip and rubber grips. It goes on pretty light at first application but can be layered on for added intensity. And unlike other stains, Milk’s Lip Marker is infused with super-hydrating sunflower seed oil, aloe and vitamin E, so you won’t be left with dried out lips either. As for the staying power: You are talking at least 8-12 hours here, easily! $20
Benetint’s water-based texture allows for easy buildabilty of color, taking you from barely-there to a natural flush that works perfectly for daytime wear (it’s a bit too light for full-on evening drama). The nail-polish-style brush is easy to use, though personally I prefer to pat on the stain with my fingers. Once on, it’s practically budge-proof, food and kisses included. $30
This one’s gone rapidly from being a popular chapstick to becoming a cult product across the world. Buttery smooth, it’s made up of essential oils and reparative waxes that contain hefty doses of Vitamins A, C, E and SPF 15. It’s super-moisturising and slightly glossy, without being too high-shine. The color payoff is good but not so bright that it would look out of place at a Sunday brunch. Only issue? It doesn’t last for more than a couple of hours. $22
I adore Burt’s Bees all-natural lip balms but have always wished there was some more color in there – color that actually shows up on the lips and stays there for a few hours. The brand’s new lipsticks tick all the boxes. The creamy, all-natural formula (moringa oil, raspberry seed oil, beeswax, and vitamin E) make it feel like a lusciously comfortable lip balm, while the concentrated pigments build up all the way from natural to full-on opaque. Wearability is a good 6-8 hours and the tube’s cut-out honeycomb design makes for easy color identification (I wonder why more brands don’t do this – would save oodles of time swirling up every lipstick to check the color!). My favourite shade? Juniper Water, which goes from day to night in 4-5 swipes. $8.99
Though my heart belongs to Tom Ford’s ultra-pigmented lipsticks, lately I am never without his Lip Color Shine in Ravenous – a completely decadent concoction of soja seed extract, Brazilian muramura butter and chamomilla flower oil among other rare ingredients. It glides on just like a stick of butter and you can actually feel it nourishing your lips. And even though the color is semi-transparent, the concentration of high quality pigments give it enough of a kick to add high doses of drama to your look. $48
Maybelline Color Whisper
Maybelline’s Color Whisper is pretty opaque and extremely buildable, especially where the darker shades are concerned. There are no heavy waxes or oils here, only “pure color pigment surrounded in weightless gel”, which gives lips a cool, refreshing feel. They have a sheen, rather than glossiness or shine and wear for a good 3-4 hours. Plus, the hydration quotient is quite high, though being gel-based, I feel the moisture mostly sits on the surface of my lips, and does not actually get absorbed. $7.49
What about you? Love lipstick? Loathe lipstick? Scared of lipstick? Have you tried any of these formulas? Tempted?