Our long-standing love affair with lips is stronger than ever. According to NPD Group Inc., prestige lip make-up enjoyed double-digit sales growth from January to August 2015 compared with the same period in 2014, jumping 16 per cent to a whopping £54 million.
There are many issues that can leave lips looking less than lovely, however. Dr Howard Murad, dermatologist and founder of Murad skincare, explains: “The skin on our lips is thinner than on other areas of the body, and lips don’t have oil glands or an outer protective stratum corneum, which makes them particularly vulnerable to environmental factors.”
Cracking and chapping occurs when the keratin surface layer of the lips breaks down as a result of lack of moisture. “Dehydration most commonly occurs in dry environments. It can also occur in a cold climate with artificial heat, with mouth breathing [for example, overnight or with a cold], and with insufficient fluid intake or excessive fluid loss,” explains Carmex expert Keith Edgett. “Another common cause of dehydration is frequent lip licking, which removes the lip tissue’s natural protective oils and, in turn, allows the natural moisture of the lips to evaporate.”
Daily application of lip balm can help to prevent dehydration. Edgett recommends using products containing petrolatum, cocoa butter, beeswax, lanolin or shea butter. “The primary function of all these compounds is to seal the natural moisture in the lips, thereby preventing them from drying out,” he explains.
Dr Pawpaw Original Balm combines papaya, in fermented pawpaw form, with aloe vera and olive oil to soothe, moisturise and nourish lips, keeping them hydrated and smooth. Tinted variants – Peach Pink and Ultimate Red – are also available, offering subtle, buildable colour as well as care.
UV damage from the sun is another key cause of dehydration, says Emma Davis, Blistex marketing manager: “The skin on our lips contains almost no melanin – the body’s natural sunscreen – so we should always wear a lipcare product with an SPF of 15-plus.”
Lanolips Tinted Balm SPF 30 Perfect Nude offers high SPF protection along with a universally flattering “hint of nude” tint, while hero ingredient lanolin prevents drying and seals in moisture.
Just like the rest of the face, the lips and surrounding skin are prone to signs of ageing. Dr Murad explains: “Underneath the skin where you find those common vertical lines are muscles, and using these muscles regularly (for example, while smoking or to apply lipstick) encourages the lines to form more quickly and become more visible.”
Dr Murad recommends eating a healthy diet, sleeping well, reducing stress and applying a plumping, moisturising lip treatment regularly to keep lips looking luscious. Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion for Lips contains collagen amino acids that penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin to plump fine lines and wrinkles, while mustard sprout stimulates microcirculation to restore volume, and apple extract leaves skin soft and smooth.
Fashion weeks around the world are always a good indicator of upcoming colour trends. Bold matte reds made statements in London at Gareth Pugh, Mary Katrantzou and Pringle of Scotland, where Lord & Berry’s crayon-lipstick in Vertige Copia stood out against pale complexions. At Celine, Christian Dior and Valentino, there were a lot of nudes and pinks.
“But Puma by Rihanna really made a statement with Gigi Hadid’s matte black lip,” says Mahnoor Shahid, brand manager for Color Studio Professional. “There’s a lot of mixing going on with colour and texture; matte shades of nude, pinks and mauve/brown tones are in demand, as well as semi-matte tones of reds, oranges and pinks that look a bit more creamy and add just a hint of shine.”
However, it’s formula, rather than colour, where true trends are arising for lips, and matte is where it’s at due to its modern, colour pop finish that tends to be long lasting. The downside is that matte can be less easy to wear as it tends to show up imperfections. Rebecca Restrepo, global make up artist for Elizabeth Arden, advises: “Before applying matte lipstick, exfoliate the lips by gently brushing them with a toothbrush, then add a pea-sized dab of lip balm to seal in moisture for a flawless matte finish.”
Liquid lipstick is another huge trend. “Liquid to matte formula gives full coverage, is virtually bullet-proof and sinks into the lip for an effect that looks like you were born with that colour,” says Karla Powell, makeup artist for MUA.
Oils have been steadily increasing their hold on the beauty market too and are gaining popularity in the lip sector, thanks to their softening, nourishing properties and flattering, shiny finish. Hitting the shelves this month, Lancôme Juicy Shaker is a biphasic colour infusion lip gloss packed with three nourishing oils – almond, omega 3 and cranberry. Available in 13 shades, the colour intensity increases the more the user shakes bottle.