While normally I like to leave the house with a precisely lipsticked, scarlet mouth which distracts conveniently from un-brushed hair and un-ironed shirts, from time to time it’s nice to lighten up, both literally and figuratively, with a lip product that doesn’t require such careful application.
Enter what I call no-mirror lipsticks – lip products that contain enough pigment to deliver a definite wash of colour to your mouth, but that forgive being applied in a slapdash manner when you’re bumping along on the bus and have left your mirror at home.
The queen of these idiot-proof lipsticks, in my opinion, is MAC’s Sheen Supreme Lipstick. My favourite shade is New Temptation – it’s a rich, glossy red that has impact without being intimidating and is ideal for when you want to wear something lighter than a traditional lipstick in hot weather, but still want a pop of colour on your face. It’s beautifully moisturising too.
My mum borrowed mine so often, I bought one for her to keep and I got one for a friend who doesn’t normally wear heavy lipsticks and was looking for a sheer lip product that wasn’t a sticky lipgloss in a toffee shade for her wedding. I’ve worn mine down to a nubbin so need to restock – I live in fear of these cult products being decommissioned (is that the right term, or does that only apply to aircraft carriers and nuclear power plants?)
Next up is Calvin Klein’s cKone Shine Lipstick which, apart from the fact that it’s pushing ALL my nostalgia buttons (cKone was one of ‘my’ perfumes in the ‘90s), is a beautiful product with some seriously cool, monochrome packaging. Shade 510 – Spiked – is similar to MAC’s New Temptation in that it’s a rich, glossy red that glides onto the lips and feels incredibly moisturising. I liked the way that when I blotted it down it made my lips look like I’d been eating a blackcurrant ice lolly.
Then we have Maybelline’s Color Sensational Pop Sticks which I love in all the shades, but particularly the juicy Cherry Pop. This is sheerer than the MAC and Calvin Klein products so you can swipe it all over your mouth with gay abandon, not fearing you’ll look like a scary clown at the end. It smells delicious – like those cherry jelly sweets you get in pick ‘n’ mix at the cinema and has a cool neon-plastic pink tube which I’m a total sucker for.
The final two - from New York Colour and Miss Sporty - are most definitely tinted lip balms so you don't get as much pigment but they are safest to apply sans mirror. I just slathered the NYC balm in Big Apple Red all over my face, went and checked in the mirror and it looked absolutely fine, plus it smells awesome in a sickly-sweet, candy-crush kinda way.
There is definitely something youthful about wearing a more translucent wash of colour on your mouth instead of an opaque lipstick. It's fresher and more summery, the colours seem more fun, brighter and sporty. For everyday wear, I'm going to be sticking these in my handbag for the forseeable future and saving my classic red lipsticks for evening only.