Oh, but you can. Here’s why a new category of lipstick is far more wearable than it first appears

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On initial consideration, a ‘matte metallic’ lipstick seems like quite the oxymoron. Surely it’s either matte, or it’s not, end of. The latest slew of lipstick launches, however, would beg to differ, and while they can look garish and more than little ‘for the ‘gram’ in their packaging, when applied to lips, it’s a whole different story. Here’s why the new metallics, foils, matte shimmers and spangly toppers deserve your consideration. Bear with me here.

They light up your face

Leave the highlighter at home- the new metallics and shimmers lock in the light, thanks to matte liquid lipstick textures infused with sheeny chrome pigments. A case in point is Smashbox Always On Metallic Liquid Lipstick , £19, which is technically a longwear matte, but the effect is brightening and mirror-like, unlike the velvety, subtle impact of your average matte lipstick.

Designed to warm up your complexion when worn and glow on every skin tone, I was skeptical when I applied a thin layer of this (I went for the coral hued Hot Damn) in the work loos of a Thursday morning, but after an unscientific office survey and a morning coffee run, I concluded that a metallic liquid lipstick is actually a goer for daytime wear. I think the light texture and precision applicator help- it feels barely there, you don’t need a liner or loads of time on your hands to get a precise result and it doesn’t flake or look waxy or heavy when you wear it. Also, it applies evenly and while it definitely comes off as metallic, it’s more of a ‘catch the light’ effect than a full on mouth of metal. For evening, it’s even better – I’d happily swap out my usual red lip for this.

They make lips look fuller

In a world seemingly obsessed with plump lips, where  lip filler is soon to be administered in Superdrug  and cosmetic lip treatments are already up by 15 per cent compared to last year, it seems we’ll go to great expense and a not insignificant degree of pain to boost what we’ve got naturally. A multidimensional metallic lip also serves to create the illusion of fuller lips, as it happens, but in a fleeting, far more fun way.

Okay, so it’s in no way equivalent to a needle, but a bit of glimmer is a literal smoke and mirrors way to play up your lips, and new launches big up lips whatever your texture preference. On the matte end, Trinny Lip Light , £24, can be taken all over the lips or just dabbed in the centre to create the impression of fullness, and is available in two jewel-like shades that are multi-tonal but not gaudy. With a transparent base, you don’t come off as though you’ve rolled in glitter, rather your lips look smooth and just the right degree of shiny.

Also flying the flag for grown-up matte metallics is the upcoming Lancôme  L’Absolu Rouge Drama Matte in Quartz Absolu, £25.50, which, like Trinny’s neat lip pot, can be worn alone (the colour is fairly bold in itself) or applied as a topcoat to bring life to a more low key lipstick. It launches on 24th October and the three metallic shades will be exclusive to Boots.com. Basically, it’s your party face in a swipe, with added emollients and nourishing plant oils to guard against flaky winter lips.

If you’re not a fan of the matte feel, a new glitz infused Fenty launch will also impress in the wearability stakes, even if it looks like it’s aimed at tweenagers at first glance. Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Diamond Milk , £16, was created by Rihanna to mark Fenty beauty’s first birthday, and elicits a plumping effect on every skin tone, as Rihanna quite literally highlights:

“I am obsessed with Gloss Bomb. I created Diamond Milk because I wanted a color that was like a dewy highlight for your lips. It gives you that juicy luscious effect and looks good on everyone.”

It’s as subtle as any of the shimmer lips in this edit gets and any hint of glitter is barely discernible once it’s on. It’s also genuinely not sticky, which will please tacky gloss refuseniks.

They’re so fashion

At the risk of going completely Zoolander on you, a magpie mouth is very ‘now’. At Jeremy Scott’s SS19 show last week the beauty focus was foiled lips, and makeup artist Kabuki used the words ‘bold’ and ‘neutral’ in the same sentence to sum up the fact that there’s a tug of war between showiness and subtlety here, and we like it:

“The look is a bold foil-like lip in neutral shades. The metallic edginess is in keeping with the brashness of youth.”

You needn’t be the youth to wear a foiled lip, however. Kabuki used lip liner and an eye pencil over the lips backstage to kick things off in an unconventional way before adding a pink toned metallic finish with MAC Dazzleshadow Liquid in Love Yourself , £16.50, topped with MAC Glitter in Pink , £16.50, for extra metal.

New makeup brand on the block Makeup 54  is also taking on the matte metallic in a sartorial vein. Conceived and designed by former Nars senior makeup artist Anna Priadka , the range harks back to the glittering Studio 54 era, and the tagline “welcome to the lipstick disco” pretty much sums up the makeup party happening in Priadka’s head. Described as “makeup to be seen in”, there are currently four pigment rich matte liquid lipsticks, ranging from bright pink to brick toned to classic red, all of which can be worn alone or transformed into something ‘lit’ by way of the Disco Topper in Glitterball , £18, a water-based gel with moonstone and rose gold spangle that would probably last all night in Studio 54 were it still doing business.

For something equally fashion forward but more patent than tinsel, Nars Full Vinyl Lip Lacquer  in Abruzzo, a metallic rose gold, and Cape Town, a metallic gold with a touch of pink, £23 each, are less ‘out there’ but still mirror-like in effect. They’re clever too – a dual sided applicator ensures you pick up just enough product and smooths it over lips evenly so you don’t end up with gloss overload. They debuted at the AW18 shows and have also been spotted backstage at SS19 in the past few weeks, used everywhere from lids to lips to create a veil of semi-sheer, high shine colour. If you’re not sold on metallic matte, this is the opposite of that…

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