Pass the red lippy: Three of this season’s best rouge lipstick shades

Red is the colour of the season, whether it’s orange-red, blue-red or brick-red

I’ve had enough with these masks. Now pass me my new red lippy – the non-transferable one of course.

If glamour is to return with this season’s new red lipstick, then they need to be non-transferable as masks continue to be mandated for the foreseeable.

Micheál Martin ruined my day. There was I all ready to ditch my mask – outdoors at least – and go back to my old pre-pandemic ways with my favourite red lipstick. There is a little picture on my desk that reads: “On a bad day, there is always lipstick.” The accompanying picture is of blood-red lips in a pouty, kissy pose with an old-fashioned red lipstick bullet being held up against them. I have been staring at this picture ever since the start of the pandemic almost two years ago now, wondering if lipstick would become a permanent victim of Covid-19 alongside high heels and highlights, falling foul to a life of masks, virtual parties and WFH (work from home).

This October, I thought there was finally some light at the end of the tunnel as restrictions were beginning to be lifted, but alas, it was not to be. Masks are here to stay. Despite this, some of the biggest cosmetic houses are confident in the future with some major lipstick launches to signal a return to glamour. Red is the colour of the season. Whether it’s bang-on-trend orange-red, a classic blue-red or a retro brick-red, there is a shade, and an occasion, for every woman. . .just make sure the formulation is non-transferable if you want to get another wear out of that mask.

Outlandish orange

Had you told me just a few short years ago that my favourite lipstick would ever be a bright orange-red, I never would have believed you. But as a woman, I always reserve my right to do a 360 and I have changed my mind on orange, inspired in no small part by this image of Bella Hadid for Lanvin.

Lancôme obviously believes that the tide has turned in the beauty blackout caused by the pandemic by launching a major new lipstick line-up in 18 shades. L’Absolu Rouge Drama Ink is being billed as a breakthrough formulation offering dramatic pigmentation while being weightless. This orange shade is 553. They are non-transferable and have hyaluronic acid for its ultra-hydrating properties. At €32.50 (pharmacies, department stores) it’s pretty rich, but well worth it. If you want to copy Hadid’s look, then add a touch of gloss to the lower lip only and outline the cupid’s bow in a lip highlighting pencil.

Classic red

When I think of a classically beautiful woman, it’s the starlets from the golden age of cinema in the 1950s who come to mind. Of course, nobody did it better than Marilyn Monroe. Traditionally, the formulation would have been creamy and transferable, but this season, there is more choice with non-transferable formulations at the forefront, which is just as well considering that we still have to wear a mask indoors.

MAC’s Ruby Woo is a classic and has been a worldwide bestseller for the brand for many years now. This season, MAC has invested in a major launch of the iconic blue-red shade with six limited-edition formulations called Ruby’s Crew. The beauty of a blue-red is that it is particularly suitable for cool-toned, pale skin, which would be typical in Ireland. It also makes teeth look whiter. I like the Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour (€22, department stores).

Retro red

When I think of a retro red, I think of a 1990s brick-red, which has a touch of brown in it. If you are frightened of the brightness of a classic red, a dulled-down brownish version might be just the thing for you – and best of all, this shade is notoriously universal.

This season, I really like the look of this Rouge Pur Couture Slim Velvet Radical Lipstick in Fiery Spice (€36, department stores) from Yves Saint Laurent. The square tip of the slim bullet allows for precise application, while the actual formula has a semi-matte finish. It is surprisingly hydrating but is still slightly transferable, which is bad news for the mask wearer. If you wish to make it non-transferable, try this insider MUA trick – after blotting, place single ply tissue over the lips and dust lightly with translucent loose powder.