As a beauty writer, these are the lipsticks I keep in my make-up bag

Laura Kennedy: We can wear lipstick out to dinner again, or to the office. It’s a basic joy I deeply missed in recent years

Thank goodness that lipstick is part of everyday beauty again. I came to the realisation this week that my make-up bag had slowly but surely repopulated itself with my favourite lipsticks after the last couple of years of lipstick drought. We can wear lipstick out to dinner again, or to the office. It’s a basic joy that I had deeply missed without fully realising it. As I sit in my office alone at home writing this (unless you count the cat, whose taste in lipstick is notoriously vulgar), I’m sporting a dreamy, glossy nude from Mac aptly named Thanks, It’s Mac! with a bit of tinted moisturiser and mascara. It’s a perfect lipstick – wearably light reflective, tonally non-committal (so I don’t have to top it up unless I feel like it) and moisturising. It garners many compliments.

After more than a decade as a beauty writer, I know precisely the features a lipstick must possess to deserve a spot in my already overstuffed make-up bag. Beauty writers have the loyalty of that guy you dated briefly in college – which is to say, none at all. Our job is to seek the newest and best, so familiar or longstanding products have to offer a lot to hold our attention. Currently holding a well-deserved spot in my make-up bag, you’ll find:

Lisa Eldridge Insanely Saturated Lip Colour in Strawberry Shock (€32 at When I want colour, I want it to be pigmented to the point of obnoxiousness. Celebrity make-up artist Lisa Eldridge is the pinnacle of tasteful beauty, and this screaming hot red with a shot of “punk pink” is the ultimate statement. It looks exceptional on every skin tone, and the demi-matte finish keeps the intensity of the colour precisely on the right side of too much.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Raquel (€32 at The perfect pink-beige, this is the ideal “your lips, but better” shade for people with fair to medium skin tones. It leaves a completely opaque veil of colour and has just enough moisture in the formula to give lips lustre and keep them comfortable. If you like a nude lip but dislike a sheer colour, this is the lipstick for you. It’s the one for weddings and polished but pared-back make-up looks.


Sculpted HydraLip in Blush (€17 at Some days, I don’t want full-on opacity but a comforting, low maintenance and juicy lip product that I can apply without effort, a mirror or, on very early mornings, all my faculties. This is that lipstick. It isn’t a balm, but it feels like one, and Irish brand Sculpted has yet to launch a dud. Disloyal beauty writer or no, this is a brand I enthusiastically spend my money on. The shades work across skin tones and lifestyles – you’ll like this whether you’re a lipstick novice or a seasoned pro.

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about beauty