The Beauty Edit: A Beginner’s Guide to Lipstick.

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The beauty business is a world within itself. A world in which new products are released daily, each accompanied with fantastical claims to reverse the effects of ageing or to last on your face until the apocalypse arrives. I can’t help but love it all. Whether it’s an endorphin rush I get from opening a fresh tub of luxurious moisturizer or taking the time out of my day to apply my war paint, I’m something of a beauty obsessive. However, I’m also operating on a student budget and this fortnightly column will not only wage through nonsensical advertising but also offer recommendations (some student-friendly and some only justifiable to the make-up veterans) straight out of my personal cosmetics bag. From one beauty junkie to another, happy reading…

Lipstick is a divisive make-up item. Some women depend on a bold lip as the foundation of their make-up wardrobes – no pun intended – whereas others shy away from the stuff. Both are valid make-up stances and I completely understand that lipstick is not everyone’s greatest love. I had several failed tries in adolescence when I thought fuchsia pink glitter lipstick was a good investment. Spoiler: it wasn’t.

But the beauty of lipstick is it can work as a suit of armour of sorts, helping you to look ‘put together’ when you’ve actually put minimal effort. Equally, if you’re ever feeling miserable about the world on a rainy February morning or just want to distract from the dark circles around your eyes, red lipstick is always the answer.

Image Credit: Lydia Hawken. Left to Right: ‘Sex Machine’, ‘Never Say Never’, ‘Cruella’, ‘Luxemburg‘, ‘Timanfaya’, ‘Mexican Rose’

I fell fast and hard for the stuff in my first year at Southampton when I discovered the online world of beauty blogging. Watching endless beauty reviews on YouTube allowed me to experiment vicariously with different brands and trends without actually having to gamble my money on a fad product. As such, a bright red lipstick became my signature look. NARS lip pencils defined my first year of university, I wouldn’t be without them.

These pencils are the perfect entry level lipstick in that they are so easy to apply on-the-go and the lasting power was like nothing I’d ever tried. Pictured above are a mix of their ‘Velvet Matte’, ‘Velvet Gloss’, and ‘Satin’ lip pencil ranges – there’s a finish to suit all tastes. I personally couldn’t be without ‘Sex Machine’ (NARS is a brand famous for its tongue-in-cheek names, specifically their iconic ‘Orgasm‘ collection) which is a beautiful mauve-y pink that suits all skin tones.

Image Credit: Lydia Hawken. Left to Right: ‘Sex Machine’, ‘Never Say Never’, ‘Cruella’, ‘Luxemburg’, ‘Timanfaya’, ‘Mexican Rose’

After breaking the bank on every brightly-coloured NARS lipstick I could find, my taste inexplicably became more refined as my initial love for an everyday red-lip wore off. If NARS lip pencils were the honeymoon period of my lipstick love story then nude shades represented the move into a long-term relationship.

During the 2016 trend of all things liquid lipstick, I made it my mission to add NYX‘s ‘Soft Matte Lip Cream’ in the shade, ‘Stockholm’, to my collection. After months of internet searching, I finally stumbled upon it in the Brighton branch of Boots and practically skipped to the counter, after also convincing my friend to pick it up ‘because she could double her money by selling it on eBay’. She didn’t, because it’s that beautiful-  a peachy, nude shade.

Image Credit: Lydia Hawken. Left to Right: ‘Stockholm’ and ‘Cannes’

The great thing about these liquid lipsticks is that they don’t strip your lips of all their moisture as is to be expected of a mattifying liquid product. Instead, NYX have created a comfortable, long-wearing formula in 34 shades – ranging from the weird and wacky (if you’re ever after a navy blue lipstick, ‘Moscow‘ is a great choice) to the subtle and everyday.

The best thing about them? They’re priced at an accessible £5.50 so you’re not taking too much of a gamble on them if you’re still not convinced. I also have the shade, ‘Cannes’, which is rosy red in colour – I reserve it for days when I don’t necessarily need a burst of colour but still want something to perk up my complexion.

Image Credit: Lydia Hawken. Left to Right: ‘Stockholm’ and ‘Cannes’

I couldn’t write this artilce without mentioning the make-up goddess that is Charlotte Tilbury. Having worked as a leading make-up artist during the 1990s, i.e. the age of the Supermodel, Tilbury launched her own brand in 2013 which focusses on re-creating iconic ‘looks’ inspired by old Hollywood glamour.

It’s a brand created by women for women and celebrates the ‘before’ and ‘after’ process as ‘beautiful before’ to ‘beautiful after’. Tilbury creates products that are lavish and meant to be enjoyed as a luxury rather than a necessity. An ethos I can certainly get on board with.

Image Credit: Lydia Hawken.

Although I’m not keen on caking myself in make-up on an everyday basis, Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks are where the brand excels. Of course, these are luxury make-up items and retailing at £24 each means they are certainly not a student-friendly price point.

However, to my fellow make-up enthusiasts out there, Charlotte Tilbury lipstick is what I reach for on an everyday basis. I usually buy them on a ‘treat yo’self’ whim and have yet to actually finish one, which is pretty impressive seeing as I’ve had these two nude shades for almost two years.

Image Credit: Lydia Hawken. Left to Right: ‘Secret Selma‘, ‘Miss Kensington’ (limited edition circa 2015), ‘Bitch Perfect‘, ‘Between the Sheets’ (limited edition circa 2016)

The lipsticks either fall into the ‘Matte Revolution’ category or the satin finish, ‘K.I.S.S.I.N.G’ range. Personally, I’ve fallen out of love with the matte lipstick trend and prefer the more classic sheen of a satin finish. They’re more comfortable and more relaxed as I go about my business as a stressed-out third year in the library.

However, if you’re still on board with matte lips then you don’t get a more comfortable application than ‘Matte Revolution’. As I type this, I’m weighing up how much I need her limited edition, ‘Valentine‘, shade. Just call me a Charlotte Tilbury addict.

So there you have it, the fully-fledged rambles of a self-confessed lipstick hoarder. Realistically, I could write a dissertation on this topic, my love of lipstick is just that great. The wonderful thing about lipstick is how it can make you feel. Whether its a conservative nude shade or a bold, bright red, taking the time to apply a lipstick before I go about my day just makes me feel more like myself. Such is the power of a bold lip.

 

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Third Year English Literature Student. Deputy Lifestyle Editor of The Wessex Scene. Lipstick hoarder and literature enthusiast.

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