We’ve recently run a bargain special, so please indulge me while I talk about the hugely expensive, wildly extravagant luxury lipsticks that I think (for a true obsessive, at least) are worth it. God knows, we’ve been in a state of withdrawal long enough to earn it (although, chapeau to those who’ve defiantly slicked on a red daily under their masks with no concession to smudging). Designer lipstick sales, previously as secure as bullion, crashed in lockdown – now, surely, they can at least partly recover.
Let’s start with the most toweringly expensive so we can deludedly convince ourselves that everything thereafter is a steal. La Bouche Rouge are expensive for good reason, as they are probably the most sustainable lipsticks on Earth. The leather cases (think the Hermès Birkin of lippies, £62) are handmade from luxury tannery offcuts otherwise destined for the incinerator, then refilled in perpetuity with a matte, satin or balm bullet of your choice (£36) – all vegan, cruelty-free and made from sustainable raw ingredients (there’s also a vegan-friendly case, if you’d prefer). The colours are glorious – pigment-drenched and comfortable thanks to shea butter, squalane and jojoba oil. A complete lipstick costs a fortune, but I can think of few cosmetics so close to couture fashion in terms of time, craftsmanship and attention to detail. Any makeup enthusiast would swoon at receiving one as a gift.
A tad more affordable, but similarly luxurious and cult in appeal are makeup artist Lisa Eldridge’s True Velvet Lip Colours £26, and constantly sold out – do persevere). Talc-, cruelty- and fragrance-free, the limited shade lineup is carefully conceived and will appeal to all, but the standouts are the reds. Velvet Morning – an orangey, tomato-pulp red – is right up my alley, but Velvet Ribbon is among the loveliest blue-toned reds I’ve seen, and great if you’d like the illusion of whiter teeth. The texture is matte, but far from dry and inflexible, laying down heaps of vibrant colour without dragging (though if you’re not quite ready to veer from balmy sheers, she makes those, too).
What I love about Valentino’s brand new satin refillable lipsticks (£40 complete, £26 thereafter) is that each is divided clearly into cool, pinky undertones (R for rosa) and warmer, yellowy undertones (A for ambra), for an easy, flattering selection. The formula is beautiful (silky, punchy and smoothing) and the packaging so predictably glam that you’ll seek any excuse for a public display of grooming.