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Sunday 21 September 2014

Get colouring: five cream-of-the-crop lip crayons

Lip crayons are a bit of a novelty, says Sarah Caden, but the panellists have found the five must-have cream of the crop

Sarah Caden

Published 18/05/2014 | 02:30

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Pictured, from left: Estee Lauder Pure Colour in Mandarin; Revlon Colorburst Matt Balm in Elusive; benefit posiebalm; Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Curviest Caramel; Clarins Lip Balm Crayon in Sweet Cherry

When it comes to make-up, even the most stick-in-the-mud among us will admit that a bit of novelty is nice. Even the flibbertigibbets out there will concede, however, that the novelty can't be nonsense. That's just wasting money, and who has the stomach for that, these days?

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The fashion for lip crayons is, without doubt, a bit of a novelty. These chubby, crayon-like lip colours are a nice change from the standard, twist-up, bullet-end lipstick, and the proof that we are drawn to their pretty, primary-school quality is to be seen in the speed with which the cosmetic companies are churning out their versions.

If you haven't been tempted to date, you can smugly convince yourself that you've been prudent, biding your time until the selection grew, and you could make an educated choice. And there is quite a choice on offer.

With so many brands now producing crayons, there's everything from very sheer, almost-balm types, to those that are close to regular lipstick in depth and density. One word of advice, however: because they look like fun, they are even more appealing to the under-10s. I speak from experience.

Best Overall: Estee Lauder Pure Colour in Mandarin, €23.50, Estee Lauder counters nationwide

This crayon comes out on top because it is the best halfway house between a balm and a proper lipstick. It has the cute looks of a crayon – "Oooh, I just throw it in my bag, fish it out and draw it on" – but it has high-impact pigment and the ability to last through any lip-licking, despite its sheerness. "This shade is pure summer – it's apricot more than orange, I'd say, with a high shine and no stickiness," said one panellist.

Best Staying Power: Revlon Colorburst Matt Balm in Elusive, €11.20, larger Boots and selected pharmacies

These balm-y crayons have been around a while, but the brand recently launched them in high-shimmer and matt variations. The matt comes close to matching the intensity of a regular lipstick, and it's very matt. "This colour reminds me of a kind of Sixties, worn-by-Twiggy look," a panellist said. "And the staying power is dramatic. It took me three goes to wash it off my three-year-old's scalp when she got at it."

Best Beautiful Balm: Benefit posiebalm, €21.50, benefit boutique, 17 Sth William St, D2; Brown Thomas and Debenhams nationwide; Clerys; Arnotts, larger Boots; selected pharmacies

Admittedly, this is not a crayon, but the texture and effect are so similar to one, it was worth including. Also, it has the fun factor. This is one of four balms just launched to complement the existing "tints" – benetint, chachatint, lollitint and posietint. The balms are very sheer lip colours with moisturisers; they can be used over the lip tint of the corresponding colour for a full-on effect. "This is very balm-y. Very sheer. But oddly long-lasting all the same," said one panellist.

Best Traditional Texture: Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Curviest Caramel, €19, Clinique counters nationwide

This would be considered the original of the lip-crayon species, as anyone in the know will tell you, and the "intense" variety is richer in pigment than the regular kind. Which is to say that you can still see it an hour later. This shade is a nude that will enhance a natural lip colour and lend a pretty shine. "Like everyone, as I've got older, my lips have got paler and less defined-looking," said one panellist. "This stick makes them look neater, but still quite nude."

Best Shiny Sweet: Clarins Lip Balm Crayon in Sweet Cherry, €19.50, Clarins counters nationwide

What stands out about this crayon is just how shiny it is. In keeping with the fruity-sounding shade name, there is a summery juiciness to the texture, and the colour is brilliantly bright. It is nicely moisturising, too. "I would choose this Lip Balm Crayon over my usual purchase of a summer lip-gloss this summer," a panellist said. "It has all the good qualities of a gloss, but without any of the hair-stuck-to-it stickiness."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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