The beauty panel: Lip Service... how to look pouty sexy
Summer lips are about more than gloss, says our beauty expert, who has matt, mousse and more for your mouth
Summer is the time when make-up can become a minimal affair. If we're lucky enough to get heat, there's not much point in putting on a full face, if it's likely to slide off again an hour later. Then, if we're heading somewhere sunny on holiday, a fully made-up face can look clownish in the bright light. We think of cosmetics as enhancing, but, weirdly, come summer, they can put years on you, adding a fussy effect and making you look too try-hard.
This explains why BB creams and tinted moisturiser are such summer hits, but what of the rest of your make-up? Three shades of eyeshadow are de trop in these months, while liquid eyeliner can look harsh, so both should be shelved for next season. Instead, focus on single washes of eyelid colour, and soft eyeliners, and think about moving your focus to your lips. The noughties were the heyday of the hair-sticking, high-shine lip gloss, but these days, when it comes to summer lips, anything goes, so long as the rest of your face isn't overpainted. Gloss still has light-catching loveliness, but a matt lip can be very pouty-sexy, and a mousse-like lipstick lends velvety softness. We have something for every mouth here.
Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Orange Shimmer, €20, Clarins counters nationwide
This tan-friendly orange colour, one of three limited-edition shades, joins the line of sheer lippies for the summer. There is also a bright-red hue, and a peachy shade. The colour of the packaging suggests that the product is incredibly punchy, but while these Lip Perfectors are high on pigment, the balm-gloss settles to a subtle sheen. They are like a light, effortless version of your favourite lipstick. "I love the spongy applicator," said a panellist, "and the nutty-creamy scent is a summer winner."
Best Matt Magic
Urban Decay Vice Comfort Matte in Backtalk, €18, House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Debenhams
The matt finish and the comfort elements of the title are key to this lipstick. The brand did a Mega Matte range previously that was more truly non-shine, but it was rather uncomfortable with it, while these six new shades are not. The shades range from neutral nude to proper purple, with wearable red, berry and pinks in between. Our choice of shade is an easy-to-wear neutral, with a velvety, cushion-y texture. "Great staying power," a panellist said. "It's not a lip-drying matt; it's soft and glides on."
Best Deep Gloss
Chanel Aqua Glossimer in Dzhari, €28, Chanel counters nationwide
The 'aqua' bit refers to the super-high shine of this product, which is even more glossy than their standard gloss. Who knew such a thing was possible? But it is. And without the tackiness we associate with glosses of old. This shade looks very dark, but in fact its depth, combined with the near plastic shine, is glamorously lip-plumping. "A lovely summer change from pinks and reds, and it's surprisingly tooth-whitening," one panellist said.
Best red hot
Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Lipstick in Muse Red, €7.49, available nationwide
Red can be overlooked in summer as too formal, and filed away for winter or Christmas wear. It's terrifically pretty with a tan, though, and so long as you keep it unfussy, it can look laid-back and effortlessly chic. Resist the temptation to use a lip pencil or a brush - slick it on from the tube, or dab on with your finger. This is a long-last range from Rimmel, in four of Kate Moss's favourite shades. It lasts well, without any desiccating effect. "A classic red. It's easy to apply, doesn't wear off unevenly and doesn't stray onto your teeth," said a panellist.
Best Peachy Keen
Bourjois Rouge Edition Souffle de Velvet in VIPeach, €10.99, available nationwide
We've featured this line before, enamoured as we are of their sponge applicator, their mousse-like feel and the way they settle into a soaking of matt colour for your lips. The shades are also delectable, and this peach one is truly summery. You need to have fairly white teeth, though, to pull it off. A panellist said, "I have a couple of these and I can't believe the staying-power of the colour, even though it's quite sheer. "And if I tire of matt, I just put some balm over it."