The New Lip Rules

Step aside lip gloss; the bullet is back in a big way. Now’s the time to embrace lipstick again with the season’s bold, messy and matte new looks

If you join us in prayer at the altar of lipstick, rejoice. After seasons of cellophane-grade glossy lips, the outstanding message of the latest catwalk beauty is this: the lipstick bullet is back and it’s simpler to master than ever. “Women are enjoying the glamour of lipstick again, but they’re also aware there needs to be a balance of statement and effortlessness,” explains Terry Barber, director of make-up and artistry at Mac. The ‘bitten lip’ effect at Monse’s a/w 2017 show is a prime example. Make-up artists harnessed their fingers to press lipstick into the centre of the mouth. At Roksanda, the classic rose lip was modernised with blended, buffered edges. Prada and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi also nodded to the carefree attitude by swiping, dabbing and smudging lipstick across models’ mouths.

“Precision is no longer expected, so applying lipstick has become easier,” says Sascha Jackson, Stila’s UK lead make-up artist. And that’s the game changer here. “The nonchalant swipe of red on an otherwise clean face is now the beauty equivalent of throwing on a pair of jeans,” adds Barber.

For many of us, it’s the effortlessly natural style that we’re keen to sport right now. With a return to no make-up base, bushy boy brows and naturally flushed cheeks, our lipstick needs to flawlessly fit with these new ‘easy’ expectations. For those keen on a little more drama, the new lipsticks come in an extended colour spectrum, from nightshade black to effervescent plum.

Make-up guru Val Garland’s striking peacock-blue lips seen at Gareth Pugh stole the show and led the charge for bold kaleidoscopic tones which is now being picked up by the major beauty brands. Mac’s Lipstick in Forest Green, £16.50, has wearability factor thanks to its creamy rich formula and Givenchy’s Rouge Interdit in Purple Fiction, £25, has proved a hit among the Stylist beauty team for its ability to suit all manner of complexions.

Crucially, the rise of lipsticks has led to an increased desire for healthy, smooth lips and spawned the ‘lip kit’, full of masks and moisturisers that nourish and perfect your pout as the base for whichever colour you embrace. Tempted to swap your gloss for a bullet? These tips and trends are for you…

The nonchalant swipe of red on an otherwise clean face is now the beauty equivalent of throwing on a pair of jeans

The New Lip Rules

Smudged lips or modern mattes? Read on for five simple ways to shake up your lip routine

Blur The Lines

With all the skill and effort it takes to achieve perfectly painted lips, it was a matter of time before somebody flipped the script and championed a deliberately smudged look. Enter Garland, who took the concept of a hot rendezvous and applied it to models’ lips at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. “It looks like she’s been snogging her boyfriend for five hours,” Garland told Stylist backstage as she buffed Mac’s Lipmix, £15.50, along the edge of models’ mouths. She recreated similar finishes for Temperley London – with a slightly more coquettish effect – and again at Roland Mouret where lipstick appeared slept-in for a ‘morning after’ look. Even glossy bold lips were given the blurred effect. “It’s a natural, hot, sexy, sweaty look,” Garland said of her soft-edged berry lip at Giambattista Valli.

Tempted to try it? Ditch the liner and layer on your lipstick, heavily. Use a medium-sized stippling brush to pat along the edge of your mouth and diffuse the colour. Alternatively, use your finger to dab out the edges.

Reinvent Your Red

A staple since 3500BC when lips were adorned with crushed gemstones, red is powerful stuff. According to research from Harvard University, red-lippy-wearing women were found to be more confident than their bare-lipped counterparts. No wonder we always come back to it. “Red isn’t really considered a trend any more, because it’s surpassed that – it’s iconic,” says Barber. Historically, the rules of red have been to keep it neat and simple. Not any more. Try the contemporary rendition created at Jason Wu by painting your top lip in bright orange then your bottom lip in red. This will draw attention to your top lip and make it seem plumper.

If you’re not ready to dive in head first, apply the technique harnessed at Roksanda and push red lipstick onto your lips with a fine brush. This gives a flushed effect as if you’ve pressed your lips together, but lasts longer as the pigments haven’t been rubbed together. Still in search of your perfect red? Base it on lip colour, not skintone. If yours are naturally pale, go for orange-based reds, like Urban Decay’s Comfort Matte Vice Lipstick in Doubt, £15.50. But if your lips are naturally rich in colour, go for blue-based reds such as YSL’s Rouge Pur Couture Matte Lipstick in Black Red Code, £28.

Embrace The New

Make-up brands are now offering more colourways than you’d find in a rainbow, so there’s never been a better time to experiment. If you’re drawn to powerful shades that scream attitude, try chrome or black. Seen at Gucci and Marques Almeida, keep in mind that blue-based blacks will look more severe, so if you want a warmer effect, shade your lips with a burgundy lip pencil before applying your lipstick. Prefer punchy colours? Try the popping purple seen on Gigi Hadid at H&M. It’s a grown-up version of pink.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with shapes, too. “This season isn’t about conforming to the norms, it’s about expressing your individuality,” says Jackson. “The brilliance of lipstick means you can explore different silhouettes and create new looks with just one product,” she adds. Accentuate your cupid’s bow and make your lips look plumper by adding colour to the centre of your lips, as seen at Emilio de la Morena. Alternatively, apply a wash of colour over your lips before outlining them heavily. This creates the weathered effect embraced at Hussein Chalayan.

The brilliance of lipstick means you can explore different silhouettes and create new looks with just one product
The New Lip Rules 1

Modernise Your Mattes

This season, matte lips are everywhere and they’re a doddle to wear. Firstly, they don’t budge; secondly, matte colours pack a real punch; and finally, they counter a dewy base giving your skin a greater glow. “Wearing a full-bodied, matte mouth with very little else is the ultimate in chic. It always works,” says Barber. At Eudon Choi, a medley of velvet finishes were created by make-up artist Ada de Cruz, who mixed Mac’s Retro Matte Colours, £16.50, with Mac’s Pigment in Genuine Orange, £16. At Alberta Ferretti, models’ lips were subdued with matte shades similar to their natural lip colour.

Dip into the trend with the latest creamy formulas that promise a powdery finish without any chalky, drying aftermath. Dior’s Diorific Kohl, £29.50, gives a high dose of pigments for a velvet finish with the added benefit of plant-based butter to keep your lips soft. Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Sheer Matte Lipstick, £26, combines the intensity of a matte formula with a metallic effect, dousing your lips in a high impact finish. Having trouble removing your matte lipstick at the end of the day? Simply dab a tissue in some Vaseline and rub over your lips in circular motions.

Deploy A Lip Routine

The essential ingredients in any new lip look are, of course, smooth, healthy lips so it’s no wonder lip kits containing scrubs, balms and masks have suddenly become wildly popular. The proof, of course, is in the pudding, or rather on social media. Pinterest recently recorded a 388% increase in pinned images of lip masks while #lipscrub has garnered more than 300k posts on Instagram.

“Lips only have five layers of skin compared to the 16 layers on the rest of our face so taking care of them is just as important as investing in your skincare routine,” says Jackson. Your lips don’t have oil or sweat glands either so they also become dehydrated faster than any other part of your skin. On top of that, acidic fruit juices, hot lattes or spicy curries can all weaken the lips’ natural barrier, so the real question is: why didn’t this trend happen much sooner?

For pillow-soft lips follow this two-step routine once a week. First, massage Clinique’s Sweet Pots Sugar Scrub & Lip Balm, £15.50, into your lips to get rid of any dead skin. Next, give them a hit of naturally fermented coconut juice (packed with potassium, magnesium, amino acids, and a decent amount of B and C vitamins to nourish and protect your lips) with Starskin’s Dream Kiss Plumping Sheet Lip Mask, £8.50. Simply apply, leave for 15 minutes then massage in any leftover serum for perfectly smooth lipstick-ready lips.