Lipstick, it was said, was recession-proof. In fact, sales of lipsticks rose during times of economic upheaval, as it was the cheapest way for a woman to transform her look and give herself a boost.

Gloss meets stick: Chanel’s new Rouge Coco range. Photo: Chanel

Iconic model Iman, singer Taylor Swift and supermodel Naomi Campbell all attended the Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York City on 3 May sporting the statement lip. Iman’s was a deep burgundy, Campbell’s a rich berry, while Swift opted for a strong matt red.

At MAC, the Spring/Summer forecast features 12 lipsticks (Rs920 per lipstick)—with shades from lavender, mauve and pink to berry, tangerine and coral. Most of them are already sold out in Mumbai stores.

At Chanel, they’re trying to help girls who grew up wearing gloss to discover the mystique of lipstick. The Parisian label’s new Rouge Coco range (Rs1,750 per lipstick) has 20 lipsticks that sweep across the lips, leaving behind a melty layer of colour. The colour is not as intense as a lipstick, but much more dressed up than a gloss. Peter Philips, Chanel’s global creative director of Chanel Makeup, says, “I like the idea that women from the gloss generation can return to this essentially feminine beauty step…" The rose-scented lipsticks mimic the hydrating effect of a gloss—they won’t dry out your lips as lipsticks often do. And unlike glosses, the colour will stay fast much longer.

(Left to Right): Iman at the Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York City. Naomi Campbell at the Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York City. Taylor Swift at the Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York City. Photo: AFP

* Lipstick is a make-up mainstay, while gloss is now fading out. The colour resolution you get with a lipstick is much superior. Creamy, matt finish lip colours are the rage at the moment and can be worn by women of all ages. Gloss, on the other hand, tends to look trashy after age 27 or 28. An older woman with a shiny mouth dripping gloss is just not attractive.

* Make it a point to wear lipstick instead of gloss when you go out in the evenings. Use a lip balm about 15 minutes before you apply your lipstick. It helps keeps the lips hydrated.

* Use a brush to apply the lipstick. Not only is the finish better, but it will make your lipstick last longer. If you apply it directly from the tube, there is a transfer of bacteria on to the lipstick which causes it to deteriorate quickly.

* After applying the first coat, use a one-ply tissue and lightly daub off the excess. Apply a second coat after waiting 2-3 minutes. Your lipstick will last much longer.

* Indian women tend to have pigmented lips which look like a smoker’s, because of our skin tone. So, often, women feel awkward about wearing lighter shades or nude colours. Even coffee and caramel shades look strange sometimes, while old rose or pink don’t show at all.

The solution is to use a base lipstick which is as close as possible to your facial skin colour (not the colour of your lips, but your face). A long-wear or semi-permanent lipstick is ideal. Try on the lipstick on your cheek or above your jawline; if it blends in perfectly, it’s the right shade. Use this semi-permanent lipstick first, and then use your coloured lipstick on top of that. The colour of your lipstick will show better. For the base lipstick, Lakme’s 9 to 5 lipstick is very good, as is Maybelline’s Superstay lipstick.

* My two favourite lipstick shades for Indian skins are cappuccino and old rose. I find that they work well with a wide range of skin tones.