During the post-bust gloom of the late Noughties, we heard a lot at first about the Lipstick Index. It was a term first coined by the late Leonard Lauder, of Estee fame, to describe the boom in lipstick sales during times of recession. His observation was that lipstick sales rose in inverse correlation to the state of the economy. Fundamentally, that meant that the less we had to spend, the more we spent on lipstick. The feel-good factor, he argued, far surpassed any guilt over the relatively small price tag.
In the last 10 years, Irish weakness for nail products and blow-dries gave lipstick a run for its money but the emotional hit to be had from a new lip colour still stands. There is nothing to match the difference that a flattering lip colour can make to your face. The rest texture, the right level of shine, the right colour; all of these add up to lifting how your skin, teeth and even eyes appear. And, best of all, beyond choosing judiciously, it's a doddle to do lipstick correctly. Just keep it off your teeth and, if you're older and in fear of feathering, try containing it where you want it with a lip pencil or a primer. And then smile. While a lipstick might be relatively cheap, smiling has always been free.
Lancome Matt Shaker in Yummy Pink, €19.50, Lancome counters nationwide
Last year, Lancome served up the Juicy Shaker, an oil-based glossy lip product. This new product works on the same, modern-foundation principle, which is a volatile-oil base that evaporates, leaving only pigment and polymers behind. That's colour and the skin-friendly glue that holds the colour, since you ask. This is a matt product that you shake like billy-o to disperse the pigment in the oil, with a new sponge-bullet applicator. "The seven colours are so bold on the packaging but so universally wearable in reality," one panellist said. "I love how the oil dries to a comfortable matt."
Giorgio Armani Lip Magnet in 400 for All, €33, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork
In common with the Best Overall above, this product has an evaporating oil base that leaves behind on your lips pure pigment. It's gorgeously comfortable to wear and the shade name suggests - correctly, in our experience - that it's a red that will suit everyone. Or it will suit every tone of skin and teeth, though you will require a bit of gumption to go this full-on scarlet every day of the week. "I loved lots of things about this, from the cute diamond-shaped applicator to the feel, but I most loved how white it made my teeth look," said a panellist.
Chanel Jumbo Longwear Lip Crayon in Framboise, €35, Chanel counters nationwide
Lip crayons are all the go, as we seem to have fallen in love with the novelty of drawing on our lip colour. This is at the creamy end of the crayon spectrum, with lots of shine and moderate staying power. The jumbo tip makes it easy to get it right. In a nutshell, it's a luxury crayon and keep the kids away from it. There are seven shades available and aside from this one, we love the hot red and nude shades. "A truly hot pink, this screaming spring to me," said one panellist. "It livened up everything and I like the sheer glossiness."
Catrice Lip Cushion in Better Make a Mauve, €4.99, Dunnes; Penneys
Of all today's lip products, this is the most like a lip gloss rather than a lipstick. It's a creamy gloss, so it has a bit more colour impact than your standard slick of shine and this new launch comes in a good range of colours. Not to mention that it comes in at a terrific price. The applicator, a sponge into which you dial up the product, is a nice touch. "This is a wearable nude and I love the neat and clean sponge tip," said a panellist.
Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Pussy Control, €26, Brown Thomas
In creating this lip crayon, Nars wanted to produce something that operated equally well as a lip liner and a lip colour. Which is not as easily achieved as you might imagine. Too much of a lip liner and it's a drying lip colour; too much slip and it's useless at keeping the colour in place. This really is a happy medium, with lip-friendly vitamin E and a huge selection of colours. "The pencil is firm, but it's nicely cushion-y to wear," a panellist said. "This purple is offbeat but nice, though you need white teeth to carry it off."
Sunday Indo Life Magazine