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Liquid lipsticks shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only do they last longer than other textures, they dry down fast, are full of pigment and give the illusion of fullness. Make-up artist Emily-Jane Williams recommends softening their texture with your fingers – especially for bolder colours like coral. “Apply them straight from the applicator for a more defined edge, or take a small amount on your ring finger, pushing the shade into your lips for more of a muted stain. It’s a great technique if you want a more subtle wash. If you want to amp it up, apply directly from the bullet.” It’s worth exfoliating your lips before applying a liquid lipstick. The formulas dry down matte, so lumps, bumps and dry patches will show through. If you don’t have a dedicated exfoliator, a bit of coconut oil mixed with granulated sugar will help.
Lip glosses have come a long way since the 90s and they’re having a moment right now. Forget sticky, tacky textures, the latest iterations are sheer, hydrating and more wearable than before. The various coral shades run from those with peachier undertones to ones with a more reddish colour. Use the wand instead of your fingers for application – this will help push the product into your lips for even and seamless coverage. Experts recommend focusing a little extra gloss on the middle of your lips for the illusion of fullness.
Matte & Satin
There are so many great coral lipsticks available in satin and matte textures. Make-up artist Hannah Martin swears by Charlotte Tilbury’s Sexy Sienna for a ‘natural, modern coral’ while A-list make-up artist Caroline Barnes regularly recommends Max Factor’s Colour Elixir Lipstick in Pink Brandy for its hydrating texture and pinkish coral undertones. For something more vibrant, look to Lisa Eldridge’s Lip Colour in Atomic Cherry.
In terms of application, make-up master Kenneth Soh advises: “Use your ring finger for a better and more flattering blend. It allows you to physically push colour in for a pouty effect that’s very feminine. You can try smudging your colour out of your natural lip line, too. If you do apply from the bullet, purse your lips together several times to ensure you distribute the colour evenly.”
The beauty of a lip stain is you don’t need much for an impactful finish. Newer formulas are sheer and lightweight, meaning they’re easy to work with and build up. Just remember not to pile them on in one heavy-handed go. Use a light-handed approach and apply in thin layers. Once they set, they don’t go anywhere. When you’ve reached your desired intensity, either leave as is for a matte dry down, or layer with some gloss for extra sheen. There are plenty of coral stains out there, but we love Fenty’s latest for its suits-all undertones – plus it lasts a whole day with no tight, flaky feel.
If you find lipstick formulas too rich but are keen to try a coral, a tinted balm is a great place to start. Wearable for both day and night, many now have subtle pigments that last well, while the texture hydrates and nourishes your lips. We love Bobbi Brown’s Extra Lip Tint in Bare Poppy and NARS’s Afterglow Balm for their subtle, yet warming tones that are perfect for summer. Wear either as a single sheer layer, or double up for something a bit stronger.