I don’t know about you, but I can’t be bothered with lipstick in the summer. It’s too hot, it’s likely to end up smudged into oblivion and, frankly, the less time spent piling on make-up and the more time spent eating bruschetta and lying in front of a fan, the better. Autumn is a different kettle of fish, though. Autumn signals layers – knitted jumpers, long johns (just me?) and, of course, the welcome return of velvety matte lipsticks. You know who pulls off a cracking red lip? The French. Just ask Vanessa Paradis or Jeanne Damas (pictured above). And while, in theory, all it should take is a quick slick straight from the bullet to replicate, in practice, if you’re dry-lipped or cack-handed (which I invariably am), the finished effect for some of us can be far from insouciant. Maybe it’s because the French have the tools for the job. Namely, Lancôme, Bourjois and Chanel, all three of which have new formulas out this month to make lipstick application easier and more comfortable. Elsewhere, MAC, 3ina and Bobbi Brown have all been working on new autumn-appropriate lipsticks – compensation for the colder days that are to come.
BEST FOR INTENSE COLOUR: LANCÔME L’ABSOLU ROUGE DRAMA MATTE
Lancôme worked with its leading make-up artist, Lisa Eldridge, to create a matte lipstick that’s “more matte, more intense [and] more radiant than ever” which, in fairness, is exactly what they’ve done. The formula is soft, velvety and more pigmented than before to give a deeper colour that sticks around, but it’s infused with jojoba to make sure you don’t feel like you’ve papier-mâchéd your mouth. This is one for if you want a good hit of colour – of which there are 18 shades, including bright orangey reds, deep ruby and delicate petal pinks. Plus, the click-to-release packaging is brilliantly satisfying.
BEST FOR FINDING YOUR PERFECT SHADE: BOBBI BROWN LUXE MATTE LIP COLOR
Bobbi Brown’s new Luxe Matte Lip Colors are delish – thick, creamy, luxurious, like a cashmere blanket for lips. It slicks on in a satisfying layer and, although it’s not as lightweight as some of the others, it’s still very comfortable. Where it stands out though, is in the shade range. There are 30 well-considered colours, from my favourite, Razzberry (a brown-toned mauve), to the almost-black Plum-Brandy, and Red Velvet (a red-carpet red that works on all skin tones). There are punchy brights like Retro Coral, pretty pinks, such as Neutral Rose, and more – which means more than enough options to find “the one”.
BEST FOR DRY LIPS AND LIPSTICK-PHOBES: BOURJOIS ROUGE FABULEUX
The only creamy lipstick of the bunch, this is your guy if you can’t bear a matte finish. In fact, it’s your guy if you can’t bear the feel of lipstick in general. It’s ultra lightweight, feels virtually undetectable once applied, but is packed with colour. It’s also packed with nourishing, skin-plumping ingredients, such as marula oil to restore moisture if your lips are a bit dry and knackered (so ideal for colder weather). Of the 12-strong selection of shades, half are dedicated to nudes to make sure there’s one for every skin tone, the other half range from pink to red to dark berry and have a slightly sheeny finish. Plus, the tapered tip means you can be more precise about where you apply.
BEST FOR IF YOU LIKE THE LOOK OF MATTES BUT NOT THE FEEL: MAC POWDER KISS LIPSTICK
MAC’s brand-new lipstick mercifully favours non-neat application. I swipe a blob on to the centre of my lips, then use my fingers to blend it outwards; the soft-focus formula blurs into edges, which means you can avoid wobbly lines (thank goodness). As for the texture, it combines the pigment of a lipstick with the softness of a balm, making it smooth and comfortable on your lips. Despite its name, it neither looks nor feels powdery and falls somewhere in between a cream and matte finish, in my opinion. As always with MAC, the shade range is excellent, with 16 to choose from.
BEST FOR BEING BUDGE-PROOF: 3INA THE LONGWEAR LIPSTICK
If you stay away from lipstick for fear that it will end up over by your ear before the end of the day, I’d suggest giving 3ina’s The Longwear Lipstick a try. It’s a liquid lipstick with a lip-gloss wand to swipe the colour on. Application-wise, I’ve found it slightly trickier (messier) to use, as it starts out feeling wetter and smudgier than the others. It does take a couple of minutes to dry (giving you time to fix mistakes) but, once set, is bulletproof. This will withstand breakfast, lunch and dinner, with wine and snacks thrown in, too. Plus, it has 20 colours to choose from.
BEST FOR BUILDING UP COLOUR: CHANEL LIQUID MATTE POWDER EFFECT
When a lipstick is made by Chanel, you know it’s going to be good. Not because of the classic logo and snazzy-looking packaging (though that does help), but because it’s been leading innovation since the start. In recent years, Chanel has given us one of the best renditions of liquid lipstick (its Rouge Allure Ink) and also brought about lip powders that wear like a balm (its Poudre A Levres). Now, it’s launched the Rouge Allure Liquid Powder, a hybrid of the two, which manages to feel creamy, powdery and ultra, ultra lightweight at the same time (it feels like you’re wearing nothing). Dabbed on to lips with the foam applicator, it can be blended out to a really pretty tint or built up to a stronger colour. And it’s a great handbag number, since you can apply it on the go without a mirror. My favourite shade is Avante-Gardiste, which looks like a rosy red when tapped into lips and a deep ruby when layered up.