Last year was a bit of a washout for lips, with the majority of us making the most of our eyes peeping out over the mask rather than wearing lashing of lipstick, but in 2021 when we all need a little something to perk us up, lipstick is back in a big way.
“The way we wear makeup has really changed in 2021,” says Guerlain national beauty expert Olivia Devey. “We aren’t socialising in the same way as we once did and the act of applying makeup has become much more personal than ever before. We want formulas that feel comfortable and make us look and feel more confident in one easy application.”
This year has already seen lipstick launches from big names including NARS, Bobbi Brown, Chanel and Charlotte Tilbury, giving us a clear view of what 2021’s lipstick trends are going to be and there are four clear trends emerging: we're seeing lip-balm and jelly-style natural slick and nourishing lip care with our pigments. Meanwhile, WFH has brought the nude back in a big way (we want to try, but not too hard) unless we're on screen or need a pick-me-up, in which case there are plenty of bold, statement shades.
1. Weekend low maintenance: barely-there balm tints
Is there anything more youthful than a flushed complexion complete with a barely-there, balmy finish on the lips? Think Glossier campaign models and Bridgerton’s Daphne Bridgerton and you’ll be along the right lines. “Balmy lips are plump, soft and fresh,” says Bobbi Brown pro artist, Hollie Ellis. This is no-makeup makeup for the lip and it goes perfectly with our new love of loungewear .
You can create a balmy lipped look by applying a lip balm before your lipstick for a subtle sheen, or by opting for one of the new balm style lipsticks hitting the market.
Just the name of this makes us want to apply liberally all day long. Made with fruit oils and hyaluronic acid, it gives a wash of colour and a mood boost in one easy-to-apply swipe. The jelly texture feels super smooth and it comes in six suits-all shades – for the balmy lip look go for sheer rose pink Honey.
Charlotte Tilbury has done it again, creating a lip product we never want to take off. It feels like a balm has the shine of a gloss and the pigment of a lipstick. As the name would suggest, it’s infused with hyaluronic acid for an ultra-hydrating feel that is comfortable under masks. It comes in the classic 'your lips but better' Pillow Talk shade, but for the no-makeup look, go for sheer Crystal.
2. For lip care: skintelligent lipsticks
Far from being just pretty faces, this year’s lipsticks and glosses fuse lip care and a wash of colour infusing. These are the new skincare lipsticks to know about Here are our new makeup as skincare picks.
Nars Afterglow Lip Shine, £23
Available in five gleaming shades, this ultra-shiny, silk-feel gloss is made with raspberry seed oil and pomegranate extract to hydrate the lips and make them look full and luminescent. Not one to wear under a mask as it is prone to sticking to silky fabrics, but for Zoom calls this is eye-catching enough to make sure everyone listens up. It doesn’t launch until March 1st, but we’ve got all fives hues on our wish list.
Hyaluronic acid, shea butter and rose petal extract regenerate the lips while colouring the for a lightweight, bare lipped feeling – like a second skin.
Hourglass’ lip treatment oils have been a handbag staple for a few years now, but the latest addition to the shade range, brick red At Night, has got us falling in love with it all over again. The applicator has a fancy 24k gold-plated tip to make you feel extra special when you’re applying it, plus the anti-ageing formula is enriched with 14 essential oils, ten plant oils and four nourishing vitamins, all adding up to the 28 in the name.
3. For WFH: the nude lipstick
In the past month, nude lipstick has seen a 100 per cent rise in Google searches and makeup artist and influencer Jamie Genevieve has an idea why. “With us all being stuck at home we’re looking for an easy natural look that will give us a boost: a nude lip is perfect for this.”
While you might feel a bit OTT parading around the living room in a bold pop of pink or a pillar box red, nude is enough to make you feel like you’ve made an effort, without feeling overdone. “A nude lipstick is a perfect way to amplify your everyday makeup look, and if you want to play around with tone and depth, a complimenting lip liner will work wonders,” adds Jamie. These are the best nude lipsticks for 2021
Jamie Genevieve has five nude lipstick shades in her Vieve collection, along with ten nude lip liners to alter your look from pared back to statement glam in two easy steps. GTG’s Jemma loves this shade for how it glides on creamily and isn’t remotely drying despite being a matte formula.
TV presenters Holly Willoughby and Laura Whitmore have both been seen wearing Highr’s lipsticks. The bullets are made from organic butter, hyaluronic microspheres and rosehip oil and have a built in mirror, which will come in handy when we need to apply on the go again.
This liquid lipstick has an oil formula which adds moisture to the lips and gives a smooth finish despite having a matte texture.
4. For pick-me-ups and Zoom calls: bold lips
We’ve lost count of the number of times we were recommended to wear a bright lipstick to make us stand out in a crowd of digital faces on Zoom and the love for statement lips is set to continue long into 2021 with bold lip colours still in focus but for the mood-boosting powers rather than Zoom visibility. Bright lipsticks are a pick-me-up that make us feel instantly awake and special with minimal effort. “More than ever this year people will be using their makeup looks to brighten their mood and this is especially true within lip trends,” says Jamie. Bright lipsticks to buy now
This is a shinier take on Chanel’s first liquid lipstick Rouge Ink , £31, which had a matte finish. The addition of Laque to the name means this is an ultra glossy take on the formula with nail polish-like shine. In 20 shades this comes in vibrant reds, show-stopping plums and glistening metallic shades.
Bobbi Brown Luxe Defining Lipstick in Bold Baroque, £29
This doesn’t launch until 4 February 2021, but will be more than worth the wait. It has a pen applicator with a built-in sharpener more commonly seen in eye liners for precise application, yet gives intense colour with just one swipe. The tapered tip allows you to create defined lips easily for a statement look.
MORE GLOSS: Why lip balm alone won't soothe your dry lips