There’s nothing quite as transformative as a lip colour when it comes to taking an outfit from drab to fab (deep burgundy for sexy vibes, glossy red for all-out glamour) but our lipsticks are going to have to take a back seat this summer, as proved by Laura Whitmore this weekend who took off her mask to reveal her red lipstick had migrated down her face. Not the look she was going for.
Because lippie-chin is not a good look. Here's why we need to take extra care of our lips when they are covered
That’s not to say you should skip applying lip products though - our lips can take a real battering from being under a mask and may need more TLC than ever.
“Trapped heat, humidity from mouth breathing and friction from the mask can irritate delicate lips,” says Dr Sam Bunting. “It’s also very difficult to reapply lip balm frequently under a mask and you may also be less inclined to keep up drinking fluids. This can all add up to exceptionally dry, cracked lips. It’s vital to find a long-lasting lip product that stays put and performs barrier repair.”
If you're reapplying your lip product while you're on the go, be sure to use a stick or wand formula rather than a pot so you don't need to put your finger in and increase the risk of germ spreading, recommends Boots beauty specialist Tia Samuels.
While we may have to swerve satiny-shine lipsticks or lacquer-like glosses on mask days, there’s a whole world of mask-proof lip products waiting to be discovered.
Makeup artists, beauty experts and our GTG staffers pooled their knowledge to compile this edit of the best long-lasting, non-drying lip products to add a hint of colour for when you take your mask off. Because socially distanced drinks still need a touch of glam.
Best for: hydration
If you're wondering whether this is sticky, the clue's in the name. Lighter than a balm this glides on for a hit of hydration thanks to hyaluronic acid and lanolin. It has a juicy watermelon colour and flavour as well as a subtle sparkle.
This balm feels instantly nourishing and not at all sticky. It glides on and smells like roses and is made from the crushed petals of 12 flowers which sounds very fairytale. It gives a subtle baby pink sheen and feels buttery soft when you rub your lips together.
Best for: long-lasting moisture
Dr PawPaw Peach Pink Balm, £6.95
Dr PawPaw has been a favourite of NHS workers during the pandemic (the brand was actually giving out free products to frontline workers throughout), thanks to soothing and moisturising properties that work hard under PPE. It's oil-based for longevity on the lips plus it's fragrance-free so won't irritate already troubled skin. If the peach tint isn't for you don't worry – it's also available in a colourless shea butter formula , a hot pink hue and a colourful orange . Works well on cheeks too.
Many liquid lipsticks promise to be long-lasting but this one really stands the test of time. It can hold its own against eating and drinking and when we put it to the test it didn't transfer to our mask, even with lots of chatting going on. Being a liquid lipstick it's not as moisturising as some of the balms in our edit but it's by no means drying (it's alcohol-free) thanks to vitamin E and sunflower seed wax.
Best for: a light shimmer
Makeup artist Lisa Caldognetto rates this for wearing under a mask for comfort and durability. "The balm-like texture feels cushioned and soft due to the nourishing formula and it's rich in colour pigment yet applies as a wash for an effortless look. The shades have a bit of shimmer so perfect to cheat gloss to give a fuller pout."
Best for: protecting lips
Dr Sam blended lanolin and ceramides in this balm to make sure it absorbed easily, meaning it doesn't transfer all over your mask when you're wearing it. "It's free of irritants and stays put no matter what. It looks pretty too, but has a purpose, replenishing the essential lipid barrier," Dr Sam says of the product. For a bit of colour, wear it over lip pencil
Best for: matte colour that lasts all day
GTG's editorial director Victoria, as well as GTG expert and frequent mask-wearer Dr Shophie Shotter are big fans of this two-in-one lipstick and primer. Apply the creamy primer first and then go over with the liner (cover the whole lip and you don't need lipstick). It gives several hours wear with no bleeding or smudging with a rich matte colour pay off. It comes in 12 shades and won't slip and slide about under your mask. Once on, it's on.
"Using lip liner as a long-wear lipstick is an old makeup artist trick," says Lisa.
Best for: organic skincare fans
Care and colour your lips in one sweep with this super hydrating balm made with organic oils. There's a decent amount of colour here, more than you'd expect from a lip balm – the rose shade Passion Lane has a hint of shimmer. The formula is so fine that the untinted one Simply Coco works well as an eye cream too, says its creator the legendary makeup artist Rose Marie Swift (we can confirm that it does).
Best for: a highly pigmented colour pop
This matte liquid lipstick comes approved by beauty podcaster and makeup artist Rose Gallagher. "I’ve got so many of these liquid matte lipsticks because they simply do not move," she tells us. "Usually I avoid matte textures because I don’t like anything drying but these wear so comfortably. The pigment on this liquid is so rich and I love that you can skip your lip liner and use them to add any shape or volume that you wish."
Best for: sun protection
Bobbi Brown Tinted Balm SPF15, £17.50
Another favourite of Rose Gallagher's is this comfortable, slightly coloured balm (pack an applicator brush if you are out and about). "It's so hydrating and balmy in texture, but not sticky and won’t transfer. Offering all of the comfort of a lip balm with a kiss of colour, it’s a simple stain that makes you feel a little more pulled together," she says. Buy it nowBest for: colour on a budget
"This offers great pigment in such a convenient bullet which makes it easy to apply," says Lisa. "It sits comfortably on the lip and has a sharpener hidden in the lid. It delivers great results and is a real bargain."
Best for: keeping your lipstick from bleeding
Boots beauty specialist Tia Samuels rates this lip liner for stopping lipstick from bleeding and feathering – essential if your lips are under a mask for extended periods and you can't see how they're looking. She pairs it with a creamy lipstick then adds a tiny bit of loose powder on top to ensure it's set.
Best: nighttime lip balm
We know we've been advised to avoid potted products at the moment, but this one is just glorious to leave out. We've been applying at bedtime for an overnight mask style treatment. These little pots are back by popular demand after hundreds of fans asked when they'd be available again. They combine organic coconut oil and avocado oil, nut butters and vitamin E to keep lips nourished and hydrated. This flavour feels tingly and cooling on the lips for an unexpectedly refreshing burst of balm.