A return to glamour for autumn means we want to wear great lipstick, even behind our masks – and these are the height of luxury …
This autumn, beauty’s going in two ways. On one hand, we’ve become used to pulling back on make-up, wearing less while working from home and just zapping some on for Zoom calls, and enjoying the freedom that gives us. On the other we REALLY miss dressing up – the joy of going for the full lashes, liner and lipstick (even if lipstick-wearing is annoyingly hampered by mask-wearing). And I feel like we’re going to be embracing glitter and glamour even more as the nights get darker. We need something to cheer us up. And if a ferociously black mascara, a hint of shimmer on eyelids or a streak of perfect coral matte lip colour gives us a lift, we’ll take it.
Standing out on the glamour front right now: Urban Decay’s rocking new palette, Stoned Vibes – inspired by gemstones, the colours go on lightly and with a glittering sheen, making them wearable even if you didn’t think you could wear all-out metals (€52 at Arnotts and www.arnotts.ie from September 14). Also: a host of new mascara launches, with Hourglass, Nars and Charlotte Tilbury all upping the glamour in the natural lash department.
When it comes to glamour, these lipsticks are right up there. This year Hermès launched their first lipsticks, Rouge Hermès. To be honest, I didn’t want to like them. They are really expensive. And how good can a lipstick actually be? Though they’re not the most expensive lipsticks I’ve ever tried (that would be the Louboutin ones which are £70-plus), at £56stg or €62 (at www.Hermes.com) they are certainly not a cheap thrill.
But a thrill they most certainly are. My teen daughter, who’s endlessly hard to impress and not really into beauty products beyond a liquid eyeliner, gasped with delight when she saw the contents of the glowing orange box. And so did I. In lipstick terms, we are talking Michelin-starred (the Wall Street Journal described it as the “Birkin of lipstick”, which puts it perfectly). As well as being entirely luxurious to have and to hold – yes, for life – most brilliantly, you can buy refills (£33stg – so only a bit more than your regular MAC). All the different lip colour types fit the base – even the lip balm. Hermès are ahead of the curve on this, and their perfumes are refillable, too (honestly, start looking at the Hermès website and it’s hard to tear yourself away). The orange box, the magnetic click of the bullet – it’s all presented so beautifully that your heart gives a little leap.
I don’t really get the colour coding on the packaging, designed by Pierre Hardy, which doesn’t correspond to the colour inside, but no matter – they just look intriguing and beautiful. But what about the lipstick itself? Personally, I find the colours live up to the packaging – it depends on personal preference but I am impressed by both the non-drying mattes and the silky satins. For example, I have tried a gazillion coral lipsticks, and never found one I wanted to wear a second time. Step forward Rouge Inoui – it’s really comfortable to wear, just matte enough without being at all chalky, and makes teeth look whiter, somehow. And my favourite, the one I will be refilling for sure is Rouge Casaque, a silky matte red with a face-brightening brilliance.
There’s an orange in there, too, as the brand’s signature shade, but I’m resisting a push from several beauty brands to get us wearing orange lipstick (Yves Saint Laurent Beauté are also doing Illicit Orange in their Rouge Pur Couture The Slim Glow matte range (€35.50, at Brown Thomas and Arnotts from September 30); while both Zoe Kravitz and Edie Campbell carry it off in the campaign, I won’t be. I wore it aged 15 and learned the hard way that it is not a good look (especially when matched with orange eyeshadow and large Pat Butcher-esque dangly earrings the shape of Pringles. What can I say – it was the eighties). Even this version, a true bright orange, reminds me only of an Orange Maid ice lolly on a hot day.
These lipsticks are little works of art and worthy of being displayed on a glass shelf and admired. Instead I shall be wearing each one down for the rest of the year, ruining its aesthetic perfection, and then smudging the results beneath my mask. Look, it’s just lipstick. But if you’re that way inclined, these luxurious takes on lip colour absolutely bring joy, and we could do with a bit of that.
Available from www.hermes.com
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