In beauty, there is no category more timeless—or quintessential—than lipstick. As an enduring symbol of power and femininity, the transformative swipe of classic lipstick is never to be underestimated. Over the decades, brands have met perennial demand with a dizzying menagerie of offerings, leaving no color, undertone, or finish unturned. But despite the scale of options, there are those strikingly universal shades that women keep coming back to. From true reds to nuanced nudes, here, a dozen classic lipstick shades with that certain something loyal masses can’t get enough of.
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire & Ice
In 1952, Revlon launched its Fire & Ice ad campaign, starring Vogue cover girl Dorian Leigh, and caused a stir with its kitschy quiz supplement designed to decide if one was, in fact, suited to this tried-and-true bold red.
It was in 1991 that makeup legend Bobbi Brown’s debut line of lipsticks hit the Bergdorf Goodman counters. Of all the shades, her Lip Color in pink-tinged Brown caused the biggest sensation, helping to usher in the ’90s nude lip look still being referenced today.
There was a time in the late ’90s and early noughties when blue eye make-up reigned supreme. In schools up and down the nation, eyes were ringed with the cool colour in every shade – inspired by Cameron Diaz, Christina Aguilera, and Christina Ricci in Buffalo 66. While the craze did eventually die down, now blue is back and trending again. In fact, sales of the frosty blue MAC Tilt Eyeshadow ballooned to two and a half times what they had been between March and May this year, according to sales statistics from John Lewis.
“There is definitely a desire in beauty to wear less make-up but with more interesting shade choices, hence why a wash of fresh colour is becoming more desirable than heavily structured neutrals,” says director of make-up artistry at Mac Cosmetics, Terry Barber. “Blue eyeshadow is one of the shades undergoing a renaissance, and it’s being reinvented as something flattering and chic, rather than the kitsch, clownish image it might have had in the past.”
Whether it’s a sheer veil of a matte blue shade or a full-on molten blue disco hue, the world of blue eyeshadow is yours for the taking. A stellar recent example of the trend could be seen recently on Nicola Coughlan, who wore a striking cobalt blue to the BAFTA TV Awards. The make-up artist behind the look, Neil Young, previously told Vogue that he loved the shade as “it’s the perfect antidote to black and yet it still defines the eye, makes every eye colour pop ,and works on every single skin tone”. He added that you can wear it graphic and bold, or in place of a traditional black eyeliner.
So how to make the look work? Barber believes it’s all about creating a painterly, low-maintenance appearance, rather than anything too “structured” or overly technical. “That leads to an immediately retro ’80s look when there is blue involved,” he says. “It’s also important when wearing blue on the eyes that you don’t use colour elsewhere, as it can make it look garish or dolly.” He recommends pairing with a bronzed cheek and a fresh nude lip or clear gloss, to create the ultimate low key ’70s look, as well as several coats of mascara.
When it comes to colour, seek out tinted eyeshadows with a soft, shimmery finish and those with a more delicate colour pay-off (these are more likely to suit all skin tones and eye colours). While strong shades like cobalt are great for statement red carpet looks, Barber is a fan of soft, glamorous shades like duck egg, bluebell, Wedgewood and teal for daytime eyes, or for those who like to keep things minimal.
Below, British Vogue’s edit of the blue eyeshadow shades to try now.
Studio Fix Fluid SPF15 – a modern lightweight, natural matte foundation with shine-controlling, medium-to-full buildable coverage and 24-hour wear – available in an all-inclusive, colour-true range of 63 shades.
Studio Fix Powder – a one-step pressed powder and foundation that gives skin a 12-hour ultra-matte finish while controlling shine and without causing acne.
#170 – a best-selling foundation brush with a rounded, slanted shape and densely packed fibres that applies, buffs out and blends any foundation or primer.
& #150 – a full and dense brush for dusting loose or pressed powder onto the face or body.
Over the past year-and-a-half many of us have picked up new beauty tricks to help in our quest to quickly look presentable on ZOOM, even if we’re still wearing our pyjamas. Those in need of some inspiration should take notes from Priyanka Chopra’s recent IGTV, in which she takes fans through her own “quick makeup” look, which she’s learned to perfect in less than five minutes.
Next up: it’s blush. Chopra uses a Chanel compact blusher, the latest of which is the ultra-pretty Fleurs De Printemps Blush and Highlighter Duo, and blends it over her cheekbones and up to her temples. “I like going a little bit on the sides of my face,” she says. “[It] gives [my face] a little shape.” Her next makeup artist-approved trick is to use the same brush to lightly blend the blusher over her eyelids, for a little pop of colour and to bring the face together.
Since our eyes are everything nowadays (“Eyes are important on Zoom!”), Chopra swears by an eyelash curler to wake her eyes up, and then applies mascara afterwards – including on the bottom lashes. Then, she brushes her eyebrows, using a pencil to fill in the gaps, while still keeping them “super natural”.
Despite the amount of time we all now spend wearing protective face masks, Chopra is still all for a look that emphasises the lips. “I usually like to have a lighter lip or a fun colour, maybe,” she says in the video. “This is my favourite go-to. It’s Clinique [Chubby Stick] and it’s kind of natural.” One of Clinique’s bestselling lip products, Chubby Sticks offer a natural, balmy lip tint while nourishing the lips.
To finish? She sweeps her hair back into a relaxed bun, adds some “distracting, fun accessories” and voila, she is ZOOM ready.