We can’t all be Joan Collins. Some people carry off being overdressed, and wear everything to the max in a fabulous way, but I dread it: those occasions when you’ve taken time and tried hard to look smart, only to see someone glide past in a pair of perfect jeans, insouciant and entirely comfortable in their own skin. You wish you’d tried less hard, pulled everything back and been more effortless.
Overdressing can happen in beauty, too. This week, a friend said she hates wearing lipstick, but prefers to wear only balms, preferably one tinted a little red, like a bitten lip. Though I’m an dedicated bright lipstick wearer, after that, every matte lipstick I put on felt a bit try-hard, harsh and obvious, not to mention drying. And the more I look at the catwalks for spring, I realise how fresh and modern a natural lip colour looks now, paired with healthy-looking glowing skin, after seasons of metallic glazes and try-hard, dry-hard liquid mattes. My friend’s preference is Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream Lip Protectant worn over a lip-coloured pencil. If you’re over 45, a lip pencil is a saving grace, preventing lip colour running away into lines. It’s why Tilbury Pillow Talk and MAC’s Spice pencils are such winners: they define and even exaggerate your lip shape.
I scoured my lipstick collection for the perfect bitten-lip red. First to mind was Lipstick Queen’s Medieval, originally conceived as just that, and still good. Some were too bright, too sticky, too sparkly. But Chanel’s Les Beiges Healthy Glow lip balm in Intense proved to be just the right tint of soft cherry. Not many beauty collections focus on the underdressed look, which is why, I think, Chanel’s Les Beiges collection is such an enduring hit – think super-natural. The bronzing powder and water tint are the equivalent of the perfect pair of jeans, the ones that fit like a second skin and really suit you. It’s an antidote to the ubiquitous Love Island-inspired lip jobs, an aesthetic which makes teenage girls feel inferior if they don’t have a huge pillowy pout.
Other natural beauties: Nars have launched more shades of their Afterglow tinted balm, now in peach to cherry-red (Turbo), €28. Fresh’s balms, at SpaceNK, include Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment (also protective, with SPF15). Victoria Beckham and her beauty partner, ex-Lauder mastermind Sarah Creal, have an instinct for knowing what women want to wear, and the Bitten Lip Tint is a case in point. What looks modern now is minimal – a natural flush, glowing skin – and it’s part of a simpler, more transparent approach to beauty: as with packaging, less is more.
WHAT WE’RE TRYING THIS MONTH:
Facial tools and gadgets tend to be shortlived – even the gua sha is now languishing in a drawer – but Teresa Tarmey’s Cryoball is a genuine red carpet staple. And if you can use what Sienna Miller’s facialist uses, why wouldn’t you? Keep it in the freezer, and apply your serum before rolling the ball upwards on your face. You’ll find it magically sculpts cheekbones, refreshes the skin and generally wakes up your face. Easy and effective. £129stg, www.teresatarmey.com.
We haven’t seen a desirable collaboration in a while – remember Erdem x Nars? But fashion photographers Mert & Marcus have teamed up with Lancôme for a limited edition collection that’s darkly glittering. Drama queens will go straight for the Transforming Liquid Eyeliners (€29) – you’ll need a bit of skill, but they create instant drama; try the reptilian black emerald. There’s also a playful eye palette (above, €65) and eye kits (expensive at €85), and everything is designed to be easy to blend and paint with. At Brown Thomas and Arnotts.
While make-up is hyper-natural this season, there’s a big focus on eyes, with accents of blue and even pink as well as black. Try warm brown or maroon on the waterline: unexpected shades are at the forefront (try Chanel’s new Rouge Noir liquid liner). Fenty Beauty’s Flypencil Longwear (at Harvey Nichols) glide on (though don’t retract) – our pick is smokey grey. And L’Oréal Paris Le Liner Signature prove you don’t need to spend more than €9; they last as well as pricier versions.
Planning an afternoon at the new Mink in Ballsbridge once this isolation period has passed – surely the best-looking nail salon in town …
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