Our resident beauty columnist, Ava Welsing-Kitcher, is ready to answer all your questions.
There have been so many lip looks over the past few years that have etched themselves into my mental beauty archives. Some are pretty much works of art – ruby-red glitter lips à la Pat McGrath, or the smudgy blurred edges that were everywhere during S/S 2017. Others are slightly less out there, but still a step outside of your everyday; my favourite is holographic lip gloss, which subtly changes colour from every direction, and Nars’ X lets me play with it without feeling like I’m overdoing it. For this new season, I’m also taking note of the trends I’ve been seeing in real time, which never fall out of favour due to how they work for everyone – no matter how subtle or amped up your approach to makeup is. Whether you’re a gloss girl or strictly balm, feel safest in neutrals or need punchy pinks, soft and matte or unafraid of a little sheen, read on for the timeless lip trends in autumnal hues that are everywhere, right now and forever.
Naomi, Cindy and Christy all had that carved-out, crafted supermodel lip down – the perfect tawny brown to suit their skin tones, all along their lip lines. And although it’s remained a staple for Black and brown women (Cork is the timeless go-to), brown lip liner suddenly experienced a mainstream revival from around 2012, when fuller pouts were ‘in’ after years of concealer-nude lips and shimmery metallic hues. It’s still going strong, and if you have yet to try it out, pick a shade of neutral brown (not too cool, not too warm) that’s deep enough to create proper contrast with your skin tone. Focus on the outer corners, bring it over your Cupid’s bow, and rub lips together gently to blend. Add a paler neutral shade in the middle, such as Pat McGrath Labs Liquilust Legendary Wear Matte Lipstick in Nude Cabaret, for extra dimension.
Tinted lip balm has been a staple through the ages; it’s our first foray into makeup, the only embellishment we can get away with breaking school rules for, and a handbag must-have throughout adult life. It’s a step down from creamy, sheen lipsticks, which sometimes feel too much like makeup on days when you don’t want to make that much effort. Enter the new generation of tinted lip formulas, which Glossier has really cornered the market with. When I get asked about my favourite lip products, Generation G is often at the top for its velvety range of softly pigmented shades. The brand’s latest lip offering is Ultralip, a buttery, buildable hybrid of a balm, tint and a little bit of a gloss, with a very autumnal shade range.
Always a fail-safe, the shade of your lips but with more oomph can take a lifetime to find. Consider your undertone – are you more on the cool side, needing just a hint of warmth to bring out the best in your lip colour? Or do you have a dominant natural hue, like brown, pink or even a hint of red? I’ve had makeup artists comment that mine is slightly purplish and cool-toned, so I reach for tawny shades that are neutral or slightly warm, such as Glossier’s Cake and Charlotte Tilbury’s deeper hue of the cult Pillow Talk lipstick.
This is the gloss for all self-professed lipgloss haters. With a texture that’s slicker and lighter than a lip balm, but nowhere near a lacquer-like gloss, Bobbi Brown’s formula was one of the first to guide me back to loving shiny lips after matte lipstick dominated during the Instagram makeup era. I’ve never met a texture like it, which intensely hydrates the lips rather than sitting on top in a layer – and the shade range is full of beautiful berry tones, sultry browns, and nudes for every skin tone. It’s autumn in a tube.
If you like your lipgloss to do what it says on the tin, then I don’t need to introduce Fenty Beauty’s offerings to you. After the huge success of the first Gloss Bomb – a sheer and slightly sparkling warm pink to suit everyone – a few cream shades dropped, and they’re like nothing else. Despite slicking on nice and lightly without any stickiness, these glosses have a really glassy finish. This shade (Honey Waffles) is a tawny terracotta that shifts very nicely with differing skin tones, from a light pumpkin to a deep russet, but my favourite is Fenty Glow: a universal taupe pink that brings out the best in everyone.
I’ve had this red in my collection for years and it’s one of my go-tos, along with Stila’s brighter liquid lipstick in Beso. The crayon applicator makes it easy to swipe on when on the go, but if you want an ultra-crisp line, pair it with a matching or slightly darker lip liner. While this shade is pretty neutral, you can opt for cooler-toned reds with a blue undertone, such as Mac’s Ruby Woo, for a more classic look that also makes your teeth look super-white, or a warmer tomato or brick shade with an orange undertone to warm up the skin, like Mac’s Morange or Chili.
I’ve had this palette on my wish list ever since Gucci Westman’s eponymous line launched a couple of years ago, and it fulfils everything I hoped it would. Ranging from bright fuschia to a deep rosewood shade, the two reds in the middle are perfect for when you want something bold, warm and bright (with shade Tomato Red) or something more subdued but still impactful, which I went for with the shade Brick Red. Apply with a lip brush for precision and build the colour up in layers to let your true lip tone and texture come through. I ended up applying a thin layer of Dusty Rose (the bottom shade) on top for a unique, cool-toned autumnal red.
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