Tradition dictates that in summer months, lipstick should be traded in for something subtler and more sheer, such as a gloss or tinted balm. Unfortunately, I’m rarely a fan of the former (I’m constantly picking my hair out of my mouth, for one thing) and while an advocate for the latter on weekends or casual days, I still generally want a strong mouth if dressed up, even if only for the beer garden. Not that I wear all the same lipsticks year-round. The browny pinks I love in winter can suddenly look a bit flat, sad and bluish in warm weather, the rich reds as jarring and unseasonal as a tweed bikini. And so I tend to switch up to something brighter and more jolly, without sacrificing the striking opacity of a proper lipstick.
Pleasingly, among my favourites this year is the extremely cheap Power Pout Acrylic in Decorous, by MUA (£3.50). This is a bright coral red, with a nifty wand for a precise, neat application, which looks fantastic with summer frocks and a sheerer skin base (it’s also wonderful against freckles). In terms of finish, it has just what I yearn for – solid, bold colour that’s neither matte nor glossy, staying just where I want it without drying out my lips. I’d say it was perfect if it didn’t smell so strongly of cocoa butter to the point where it veers perilously close to “car air freshener” (the horror), though I think I’m unusual in not liking that.
On the subject of summer reds, Charlotte Tilbury’s new Matte Revolution 1975 Red (£23), from her heartachingly covetable collaboration with the estate of legendary British fashion and beauty photographer Norman Parkinson, is exactly as the name suggests. Directly inspired by his 1975 Vogue cover depicting Jerry Hall in a swimming cap, her red lips to a telephone receiver, this is an extremely glamorous, almost neon summery red that looks absolutely beautiful against all skin tones, from palest white to darkest black, and especially lovely paired with shimmery bronze eye shadow, mascara and very little else.
If red just isn’t your bag, try Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Liquid Lip Potion in Fierce Beauty (£20), a bright, vibrant, cheerful rose (although truthfully, there are no dud shades in the range). Be aware when shopping that this is categorised as a gloss, which it simply is not. There’s no stickiness, zero girliness, just chic, grownup glamour.