The Panel: Lip service
There are certain things we overlook when it comes to primping and preening. Facialists will tell you that we seriously neglect our necks and decolletage, for example, and they emphasise the importance of moisturising right out to your ears, a habit that will stand to you in later life. And while we happily apply all manner of colour products to our lips, when it comes to areas that need care and attention, lips do tend to be overlooked. Until we notice their deterioration.
As a highly sensitive part of the body, with delicate, easily damaged skin, it's no harm to look for some sun protection in your lip products, particularly ones you use on holiday. Chapped, sun-parched lips are not a pretty sight, and neither are those brown, sun-damage lines which result from from excess tanning, and lend a bad-lipliner look. A decent SPF is to be found in many lip products, in everything from basic lipbalms to seriously glamorous glosses. It's probably the most effortless skincare you can think of, and these are the best of what we tested.
Bobbi Brown Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15 in Brownie Nude, €24, Brown Thomas; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16
With cocoa and shea butters, an SPF, a variety of nourishing oils and a handful of skin-protecting ingredients, this stick ticks all the boxes, including that of great colour. Worn lightly, it's a good daytime, poolside or beach choice but, with a bit of blotting and a second coat, it's a great grown-up lipstick. It's available in 12 colours, including a clear option. "This manages to be nicely sheer," said a panellist, "but it also sort of stains your lips and stays on really well. And I felt it gave a little lipbalm-like comfort too."
Philosophy Kiss Me SPF 20 in Red, €12.50, see www.hqhair.com
Falling somewhere between a balm and a lip gloss, this has minty healing powers and an impressive pigment, too. Containing peppermint, sweet almond and kiwi-seed oils, it will soothe sun-parched lips, and it has surprising staying power, too. "I wore this on holidays and felt it gave a bit of polish as well as protection, without making me look like I was trying too hard," said one panellist. "And I loved the mintiness."
Best for the Beach
Mac Tinted Lip Conditioner SPF 15 in Gentle Coral, €17, Brown Thomas and BT2
This high-pigment balm comes in five vivid, summery colours and has a lovely holiday smell to boot. Its emollience comes from shea butter, almond, avocado and wheatgerm, and the colours are intense, but very wearable. "I became addicted to the creamy feel and the smell of this," said a panellist, "and the coral looked good with pale skin at the start of my holiday, but amazing with a tan."
Nars Pure Sheer SPF Lip Treatment in Greta, €26, Brown Thomas Dublin
On first appearances, this seems similar to the Bobbi Brown product, but proved more popular with those that favour a balm but fancy a hint of proper colour. With SPF 15, it contains acai oil and mango butter and comes in six quite subtle shades. "It has the waxy feel of a good balm," one panellist said, "but the colours are like grown-up lipstick, without heaviness."
Clinique Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 in Tenderheart, €19, Clinique counters nationwide
The addition of sun protection takes nothing from this being a great gloss -- it's just tacky enough to last well, but it won't attract every strand of hair on your head. Nicely nourishing, it's available in 18 different colours. "If you want to be a bit more made-up, but want something that isn't going to sizzle your lips in the sun, this is great," said one panellist. "I used nothing else on holiday."