Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Here’s the classic red lip but with a new way to wear it. Which makes it the un-classic red lip, I suppose. It’s soft and diffused, the edges are patted down and blurry – it’s easier and more wearable than the traditional hard-edged, punchy red lip but still vibrant enough to make it a total show-stopper.

A bonus fact; this look is great for people who can’t ever get their lip-line right. You blur out those edges ever so slightly and suddenly the fact that you can’t even see the edge of your bottom lip, never mind put lip-liner on it, seems to matter that bit less.

I’ve used a marvellous matte lipstick, here – it’s the Joli Rouge Velvet in Spicy Chilli from Clarins. An orange-red that’s fiery enough to look modern and punchy but not so yellow in undertone that it makes your teeth look like they’ve been stolen from the Natural History Museum.

The Joli Rouge Velvet lipsticks are very well pigmented and – as the name suggests – velvety matte in finish. But they really come into their own when you start patting at them – the smooth, creamy formula becomes almost powder-like and soft, but without any of the obvious problems that applying a powder to your lips might present.

Talking about pressing powders to your lips; do you remember the Chanel Poudres a Levres from the Neapolis collection? That had a balm and then a pigment powder to press on over the top – I loved it for the novelty and the ritual and the beautiful kissed-off finish, though I must admit that I barely used it after my initial testing spate.

This patted-down powder lip has a bolder, more striking finish – it’s proper lipstick, distressed at the edges. It’s perfection made imperfect. Wilful destruction. Takes ten seconds but – I think, at least – gives everything a bit of a relaxed vibe.

How to do it? I’m almost embarrassed to write it out, because it’ll highlight the fact that I’ve just done a whole post on patting your finger over your lipstick, but that really is about it. I line (Max Factor liner in Red Rush is excellent, find it here*) and then I pat over the line to smudge it in.

Then I apply the lipstick straight from the bullet, usually – a lip brush seems to lay it on too precisely. (Although I do have to say that with bright colours such as this one, if you are incredibly clumsy then perhaps a brush is a good idea. We want “softly smudged”, not “applied during a power cut whilst three sheets to the wind”.) Then pat-pat-pat with your fingertip, carefully and gently – the middle one is best but I rarely use it to apply makeup when I’m filming because it looks as though I’m gesticulating at people in an insulting manner. So habit means that I use the ring finger, but middle is best. More control.

And that is it – just a delicate feathering of the edges, a blurring of the lines. Made possible by the great texture of the Joli Rouge Velvet from Clarins – I have many matte red lipsticks, but most of them won’t pat out as wonderfully as this one. I realise that softening out the edges of your lipstick isn’t revolutionary but in the current makeup climate of overdone flawlessness, I think that this look makes a nice change. Thoughts?

I’ll pre-empt the question as to why you’d put on lip-liner just to blend it in (why not skip it altogether?); if you’re anything like me, with gradually failing eyesight and an unsteady hand, you need that sketched in line to get your lipstick in remotely the right place. It’s a bit like having someone point you in the general direction of the donkey when you’re pinning the tail on – every little helps.

You can find Spicy Chilli at Escentual here* – it’s £19.35. I did a makeup tutorial using this lipstick – the video is here, if you want to see it in action. (Please be aware before you watch that the video contains a fashion advertorial for Boden.)

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