At the Golden Globes earlier this year, Dame Helen Mirren wore a luscious cranberry lipstick, giving lie to the view that women ‘past a certain age’ should stick to pastel pinks. Dame Helen and I were born in the same decade and we have the same laugh lines and crimps round the eyes: mine from squinting in the sun; hers from peering into spotlights.
I love her attitude to ageing. When Vanity Fair asked about her siren lips, she replied, “On the whole, I advise women of my age to wear less makeup… but, on the other hand, it’s great to go mad and have fun.” So, I took her advice and gave four red lipsticks a try.
At my older son’s wedding (he’s 42), a make-up artist told me that every woman can wear red lipstick: it’s just a matter of finding the right one. Then she whisked out her bag of tricks and conjured up the lips I didn’t think I had.
This lipstick brought back that memory. It’s not too heavy; not too light, as the cereal ad says. I want to say the colour is cool watermelon, because the impression is softer than a bright red door. It was the most flattering for my skin tone of any of the lipsticks tried.
It’s very moist, hydrating, and respectful of age, and it didn’t bleed. I would wear it in the summer with a large sunhat and a good book.
In a COVID world, we all need a lift, right? This could help. Red lipstick is a sign you’ve got your stuff together. It’s a cosmetic equivalent of walking out of lockdown with your head high and shoulders back. This Shiseido lipstick is light-as-air (a horribly overused phrase), but it does make you feel strong.
The bluey-red made my teeth look whiter. I liked the colour so much, that if it were a dress, I’d buy it. The inspiration for the name, apparently, is Tokyo nightlife.
It’s shaped like a pointy bullet which makes colouring in easier for those who can’t afford a hint of feathering. It also works well as a dabber. Beautifully pigmented.
My first reaction was that it was different to other liquid lipsticks: creamier, easy to apply and super soft.
It feels like a hydrating balm on your lips and it lasted through several soy flat whites. Even by the end of the day, it didn’t look dried out – more like the lick of a lollipop.
The orange-red colour (201) wasn’t right for my skin tone, but, even so, I didn’t look like mutton dressed like lamb. In more confident hands, the angled applicator would have made it easy to apply with one swift brush stroke, but I played it safe with lip marker. For a less-bold look, I tried dotting it on my lips, then blending it like a stain. Worked a treat.
A discerning young friend rates this lipstick as her all-time favourite. “Incredible format and amazing pigmentation,” she raves when I ask why. Can’t argue with a woman who always looks a million dollars, even in Pilates pants.
It is by far the lushest of the lippies I sampled and a top pick for days of social distancing and Zoom meetings when you need to make a great impression from afar.
It feels light on the lips but gives great coverage. Bobbi Brown has been known for its signature nude palette, but this range is not at all subtle. It reminds me of Vivien Leigh’s famous fractious pout and low-cut red dress in Gone With The Wind.
The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know.