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The Makeup Maniac: The rise of liquid lipstick

September 22nd 2016 / Anna Hunter

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It’s overtaken red lipstick in Google’s search rankings, and we predict it’ll stick around (it’s very long lasting). Here’s the downlow on liquid lipstick…

To quote Cult Beauty, ‘lips are the new brows’, and I’m tempted to agree. Ridiculous as it sounds for one feature to outdo another in the popularity stakes, the stats back up the fact that we’ve all gone a bit lip loony, and eye makeup has for the time being taken a bit of a back seat. According to Mintel, sales of lip colour have been on the rise for a few years, but 2016 looks set to be a remarkable year, with an estimated rise in sales of 12%, bringing the lip colour cosmetics market up to £306 million in value. On a more micro level, 40% of us purchased a lipstick last year, rising to 48% if you’re between the ages of 16-24.

Correspondingly, brands have been fuelling our lip colour cravings with an increase in innovation and development, and so far this year 25% of colour cosmetic products that have launched have been in the lip colour sector, compared to 11% in the liquid foundation category and 10% in the eye shadow division. Charlotte Libby, senior beauty analyst at Mintel, thinks that the Kylie Jenner Lip Kit effect has well and truly taken hold:

“Sales of lip make-up are expected to grow significantly this year, thanks to a high number of new product launches in the category. While matte lipsticks have been a popular trend, the fuller lip too has been made fashionable again by celebrities such as Kylie Jenner. As beauty blogger tutorials continue to focus on recreating the full lip look, sales of lip products are expected to increase.”

One product in particular that is enjoying the limelight in the lip colour field is liquid lipstick, which is now more searched for via Google than the classic, time honoured red lipstick. Fresh technology, strong pigment payoff and previously unseen longevity have all contributed to the success of a new breed of liquid lipsticks, while celebrity and blogger associations have amplified their presence in the market (see Huda Kattan’s Liquid Mattes and Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks). Finishes vary, although tend to steer towards ‘all matte everything’, textures are light as air and the latest crop of liquid lipsticks are designed to withstand coffee chugging, cocktail sipping and a day’s worth of chowing down without fading, flaking or disappearing altogether, For the most part, they stand up to scrutiny, indicating that the current liquid lipstick worship isn’t likely to wane anytime soon.

If you’d like a dip a wand into the trend, here are the latest and greatest launches of note. I haven’t pulled together the most economic of edits (see our Budget Beauty column for high street options), but the fact that our penchant for prestige products is soaring (the prestige sector grew at almost twice the rate of mass market last year) hints that we’re willing to invest a bit more for truly high performance products that break the mould. This lot are certainly on the frontline of the liquid lipstick revolution…

Nars Velvet Lip Glide, £22, launching 1st October

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Inspired by the iconic venues and new attitudes that emerged during the sexual revolution of the 70s (these are made by the man that brought us the cult ‘Orgasm’ blusher, remember), the liquid lipstick is as multifaceted as it is vibrant. Described as a perfect fusion of ‘softness and strength’, an oil infusion complex takes care of hydration and ‘glide’ during application, while intense colour pigments deliver a lipstick rather than gloss effect. The idea behind these might be a throwback, but the formulation is nothing short of futuristic. They went don’t a storm at New York Fashion Week if you need convincing.

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte, £18

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Well this is just delicious. Firstly, it smells like a vanilla sponge, in a pleasant rather than sickly way. Secondly, it feel plumping and supple on the lips, thanks to the slightly wet formula that takes longer to dry than liquid lipstick competitors, but sets beautifully without making your mouth feel Sahara-like. Also, the slightly extended setting time allows you to get your finish and lip line ‘just so’. Too add to Liquid Matte’s credentials, it stays beautifully even and in place for hours, fading slightly by the end of the day but in a uniform rather than flaky way, and the colour range is killer. There’s a reason that Cult Beauty has had to limit the number of purchases per customer; it’s flying off the cyber shelves for good reason. Get one while you still can.

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick, £16

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Everything about this slim wand lipstick is well thought out, from the illustrated packaging drawn by tattoo artist and beauty industry rockstar Kat Von D herself to the expansive shade range and 24-hour wear, this is liquid lipstick at it’s most potent. Think flattering, opaque colour, a velvety texture once dried and an applicator so dainty that lip liner becomes obsolete. Von D’s liquid lipsticks have become firm number one bestsellers in the US, and I predict the same for our shores.

Burberry Liquid Lip Velvet in Fawn Rose No.9, £26

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Part of Burberry’s ‘buy now’ September 2016 collection (as opposed to the traditional Spring/ Summer 2017 outing), this pretty, rich cream colour was used a few days ago on models to create a painterly, ‘antique’ inspired look, and is now available to buy, along with the clothes from the show. The dusty pink looked blooming gorgeous on models of every skin tone, and having tried the whipped formula for myself, it’s certainly silkier than your average matte. Staying power is slightly less hardcore than the Huda’s and Kat Von D’s of this world, but topping up doesn’t result in cracking or crumbling, which makes the whole business pretty seamless.

Elizabeth Arden Liquid Assets Beautiful Colour Bold Liquid Lipstick, £18

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Arden is coming up with some incredible concepts in both the skincare and makeup arenas, and if you’re not familiar with the brand, this sponge tipped, glossy liquid lipstick is a brilliant place to start. More ‘balmy’ than matte, the click distribution method releases a controlled amount of strongly pigmented colour, while the sloped applicator makes it easy to work into the lips. The lipstick feels very moisturising during wear (much more so than matte options), and it anchors to lips for a good four hours before you’ll need a dab more product. Going back for more is a joy though, as the colour layers well, making your lipstick look freshly applied even if you’ve been wearing it all day. Bravo for bold.

YSL Vernis Á Lévres Vinyl Cream, £26

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With a skincare inspired formula (ceramides ahoy) to plump out fine lines, pigments that are true to their in-tube shades on the lips, plus a long-lasting, sheeny finish, the new Vinyl Creams are cushy to wear, and mightily impressive to look at. Basically a tube of this combines the best of all lip product worlds- kiss-proof stain, grown-up gloss and nourishing balm. I witnessed a PR eating a full breakfast in Vinyl Cream and her lips looked exactly as they had beforehand. Any lipstick that survives flaky pastry is on a par with makeup sorcery. Try before you buy all day tomorrow (23rd September) via the exclusive, 24 hour YSL Vernis Á Lévres Vinyl Cream Snapchat lens. Pout, blow a kiss or smile and your lips will instantly change colour to a Vinyl Cream shade of your choice. The four bestsellers will be waiting online for you to have a play.

Chanel Rouge Allure Ink, £26, launches 7th October

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A matte liquid lip, but not as you know it. Chanel does ‘luminous’ matte like no other brand, somehow managing to make ‘flat’ colour radiant. This ultramodern invention is both rich and light on lips, stamping on colour and delivering a cocktail of antioxidants and hydrating sweet almond oil to make lips look and feel healthy. The line-up of reds is also outstanding, as you would expect from Chanel. If you’re used to waxy bullets, this thin but potent vial will rock your world.

More into lashes than lips? Discover how to make the most of them here.

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