My birthday is in November, but I’ve always considered July 29 – National Lipstick Day – my personal holiday. It celebrates my life-long search for the platonic lipstick of my
dreams, a bold, face-defining pop of matte color that doesn’t dehydrate or exaggerate
vertical lines. But life is a give-and-take, and lipstick is no exception. If one wants vibrant
pigments and staying power, oil must be absorbed, if not subverted, leaving one’s pucker
parched and flaky, impervious to even the gentlest exfoliation, an inhospitable surface for
the next swipe of your fave shade of fuschia. The truly lipstick-crazed commit to this vicious
cycle, though like reuniting with an ex to give it another go, it’s doomed to failure, leaving
one in quite the pickle. How to indulge the love of electrifying, latte-resistant color pay-off
with the promise of hydration? Cue the next generation of nourishing mattes from Kevyn
Aucoin, Stila, and UK-based newcomer Code 8.
For the slickest packaging, cheekiest names, and most nourishing formulas, we turn to no
other than KEVYN AUCOIN BEAUTY, the genius line created by the dearly departed
king of the modern contour. At the more neutral end of the color spectrum, despite their
naughty names, these lightweight formulas, delivering just the right amount of color pop,
are perfect for meetings. Your accountant or boss won’t know your life is Explicit and
Uninterrupted, but you will.
Stila, one of the earliest movers in the matte liquid space, has expanded their offerings with the Always On Cream to Matte Lipstick Collection. Self Worth It and Hoops On clock in as the barbie pink and burgundy to replace all others in my collection. My tip is to apply them to a bare lip, no primer or balm needed, as they are already included in this emollient formula that dries down to a velvet finish.
The stunners in the group are courtesy of Code 8, a female-owned brand whose raison d’etre is a patent-pending pigment mixing process. The sleek black and gold-accented
packaging is the perfect foil for the non-fussy, yet maximalist payoff of their highly-edited
color palette. Though there only 5 shades in the Code 8 Matte Velour collection, it’s more than enough to play with, as each shade, from limo, to mambo, pop art, and opera, are
Pantone-perfect, if not the platonic, mauve, pink, and red, against the fairest to deepest
A special shout out to the copywriting teams at Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, and Code 8 for nailing and naming the vibe these vivid shades promise. On a humid July night, nothing pops against dewy, hot summer skin accentuated with a swipe or two of highlight like a traffic-stopping hot pink, blue-toned red or gothy burgundy. Try any of these cutting-edge lippies and you’ll be ready to mambo and turn yourself into an explicit work of pop art, with your hoops on.