Perhaps you’ve sworn off wearing lipstick until Prince Harry pares down his partying. Or maybe you wouldn’t be caught out in lipgloss, even when you’re relaxing in (Isabel Marant) sweatpants and spending a quiet night in. But with the arrival of a new breed of next-generation lipwear, the days of “either/or” are over.

Who doesn’t love lipgloss and its ability to mimic larger lips and bestow youthful shine? The eternally flattering, easy option, gloss requires minimal upkeep—you can apply it haphazardly sans mirror, and it fades with little protest. But herein lies the dilemma: Whereas sheer shades paired so well with the smoky eyes and bronzed skin that defined the post-millennium beauty look (thanks, JLo), gloss lacks opacity. Only a lipstick bullet can replicate the bold jolt of covetable colours killing it on the catwalks.

At the fall/winter 2012/2013 shows, colour-coated lips owned the spotlight. From Givenchy to Gucci, red lipstick reigned. It materialized as cherry coloured and glossy at Zac Posen and in darker variations of stained wine at David Koma and mulberry at Bottega Veneta. And the pigment refused to budge at the spring/summer 2013 shows, with fluoro-red/pink lips spotted at Rochas and plenty of vivid fuchsias at Giles and Dries Van Noten.

U.S. market-research firm NPD Group saw lip-colour sales in America reach $290 million last year alone—an increase of 13 percent from the previous year. Not surprisingly, lipgloss sales started to dip, dropping to $182 million. And in the first half of this year, lip colour brought in nearly $305 million in sales, swelling 10 percent and outpacing the former syrupy front-runner. The lipstick shades in hot pursuit? They’re electric, baby!

“Really vivid purples, bright oranges, bold reds and light, very clean pinks are populating our top 10 [bestselling] shades,” says Nicole Masson, vice-president of global product development for colour at M.A.C Cosmetics. “The nature of lipstick has changed. It’s not a finishing touch; it’s a starting point."

Note: If you’re going to start with a lipstick, cut straight to Mr. Tom Ford. Back in 2010, Ford formulated a line of lipsticks that were loaded with Brazilian murumuru butter and chamomilla flower oil and had his initials embossed on the bullet. Lipstick addicts clamoured to score the luxe weighted ivory-and-gold rectangular tubes. If this wasn’t the $55 accessory to be caught smearing your lips with, what was?

We list the best new lip hybrids, on the next page…


Ford wasn’t the only one rethinking lipstick. As the last decade drew to a close, prestige brands like Chanel, Dior, Lancôme Paris, Guerlain, YSL and NARS raised the lipstick-as-accessory bar. Every makeup brand was tweaking old formulas or developing new recipes. “Beautiful packaging, moisturizing properties and virtually any colour being available all played a huge part in the overwhelming success of lipsticks and lip products,” says Simone Otis, a beauty consultant for Joe Fresh.

Tricked-out cases housing fully loaded formulas (think deliciously fragrant formulas, weightless textures and antioxidant and SPF infusions) became the new norm. It was the perfect product storm: women’s changing expectations, colour on the catwalks, an explosion of innovation.

Rather than remaining at opposite ends of a Céline Trapeze handbag, lipgloss and lipstick have finally come together in an entirely new category of hybridized lip colour that amalgamates the hallmarks that women so fiercely desire: shine and pigment.

Take Shiseido’s Lacquer Rouge, developed by Dick Page, a regular backstage and in editorials and the Japanese brand’s makeup artistic director. Page thinks lipgloss is “sloppy” and loves “the idea of real lipstick, even though people get kinda freaked out by it.” Lacquer Rouge gives rich, deep colour in just one swipe (hello, lipstick!) comes in a tube (très lipgloss-like!), contains a brush (again, gloss camp!) and has a slightly viscous formula (gloss it is!?.

The reach of some of the newest hybrids is worth noting. L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Caresse is formulated with less wax than a lipstick and more colour than a gloss yet resides in a sleek gold tube masquerading as a lipstick. Some — like Maybelline New York SuperStay 10 HR Stain Gloss — stain lips but offer built-in moisture so you’re not left feeling handcuffed to your pocket mirror.

Plenty are padded with powerful anti-agers, like Clé de Peau Beauté Extra Rich Lipstick, which contains vitamin A acetate. Some, like YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain, blur the lines entirely, imparting long-lasting shine with an intense stain and barely-there texture. Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss delivers a thick, gel-like gloss via a wedged sponge and crushed mother-of-pearl to intensify the colour. Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick paints on like melted lipstick and dries to a velvet finish, while Lancôme Paris L’Absolu Crème Matte Gloss goes on glossy but sets like matte lipstick. Stila Long Wear Lip Color is dressed up like a proper lipgloss yet stains lips with a creamy coat of colour.

Whatever your product politics are, lips are taking centre stage this season. It’s high time to empty your bullets and make nice with someone who prefers a sponge-tip applicator — because you never know when you might need a touch-up.

Learn about the matte trend that’s dominating the season, on the next page…



The lipstick versus lipgloss debate brings out strong opinions in the fashion set. Lucia Pieroni, makeup creative director for Clé de Peau Beauté, believes that lipstick typifies femininity. “But it doesn’t necessarily indicate that a woman is subservient to a man,” she states. “It illustrates that she knows how to show herself as a sharp, smart person. Lipgloss, on the other hand, does add sheen to the lips, but lipgloss alone makes for a ‘fake’ image. I think more sophisticated women tend to become more enthusiastic lipstick users.”


If having lips like a mirror has never been on your to-do list, don’t despair. Matte lipsticks are back, and they’re beautiful: soft, velvety and lush rather than the flat and (frankly) scary ones of the past. A matte lip is an ideal way to bring a bit of retro glam into your day-to-day look, and new formulas keep your mouth from feeling dried out or chalky. Chanel, Joe Fresh and M.A.C all have lush lippy options that elevate lipwear for the anti-shine contingent.

Read more:
This holiday, it’s all about stand-out lip colour
How to: get the perfect party lips
Gorgeous red lip shades
Beauty essentials: 8 can’t-live-without products