The more Valentine’s Days I live through, the stranger they seem. A day oriented around gesticulative declarations of worship and adoration, it is a shrine to the frenzied early stages of lust and love. That’s all fine, except that it seems odd to celebrate a day characterised ultimately only by the beginning of relationships. This all seems wildly out of place deep into a long-term relationship, when rather than worshipping one another as potentially perfect partners, you just get on with seeing a person as they really are and loving them anyway.
You nursed them through food poisoning, watched them trip repeatedly up an airstair like Joe Biden, or stayed silent when they grew that moustache that time. I can think of nothing more miraculous and wonderful than this kind, tolerant, deep love –pink confetti and a national debt's worth of roses don't really encompass it.
Neither, for that matter, does lipstick. Still, we might find our inspiration this week in Valentine’s Day regardless, taking a look at the best nude lipsticks. If anyone sends you nudes over the next few days, my wish for you is that they are consensual and preferably one of the below. While a nude lip can match your natural lip tone and act to enhance it – a lovely way to go about choosing an everyday lipstick – lately I find myself drawn to a slightly edgier nude. Something with a bit of spice to it.
Vieve Modern Matte Lipstick in Deity (€24 at vieve.co.uk) is an unusual cool pink with no blue undertone, making it particularly good for paler skin. It looks great on everyone, though, and is such a lovely hassle-free buy if you like a matte finish that doesn't feel dry on the lips.
Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lipstick in Velvet Intrigue (€32 at lisaeldridge.com) is the Rolls Royce of matte nude lipsticks. A 1960s-inspired peach-rose-beige, it is slightly darker (I think) than it looks in photos on the brand's website, but you'll find lots of photos on Instagram. It is elegant, sensorial and generally exquisite.
For something glowier, try Chanel Rouge Coco Baume in Natural Charm (€38 at Brown Thomas). A dreamy confection of 1990s brown-nude with a hint of burnt russet, it looks as good on deep and tanned skin as it does against a pale complexion in a winter coat. The finish is sheeny but the pigment is rich and unrelenting.
If a satin finish and a pink-nude is more your bag, Irish brand Up Cosmetics Perfect Nude Lipstick (€20 at upcosmetics.com) is excellent. Creamy, easy to wear and subtle, it's ideal for pairing with a bolder eye look. It is also generally a good date lipstick (if you're inspired by the week that's in it).
This is the sort of lipstick that will wear elegantly through a dinner. It will fade after a whole bowl of pasta (I tested it) but won’t leave a glaring perimeter line or look neglected.
Product of the Week
Aromatherapy Associates Rose Pure Essential Oil Blend (€32 at Space NK)