PUCKER UP: A How, What, and Wear Guide to Lipstick

by Elysian Magazine

Ever hear of the “Lipstick Index”?

The term was invented by Leonard Lauder (son of the legendary Estée Lauder, founder of her eponymous worldwide cosmetics conglomerate) to define the worldwide economic spiral that resulted from the attacks of 9/11. According to Investopedia.com, “The leading lipstick indicator refers to an economic indicator that suggests that consumers turn to less economic indulgences, such as lipstick, when they are not confident about the economy.”

Of course, this doesn’t apply only to lipstick. But it’s particularly true about lipstick sales during the pandemic. Sales plummeted by 30% as a result of mandatory use of masks. However, once restrictions lifted, lipstick sales soared. In the four weeks ending April 18, sales were up more than 80% from the same period the year before ($34.2 million, but still fell short of pre-pandemic levels of over $40 million.) Walmart, the nation’s biggest retailer, announced that lipstick sales were the top performer in cosmetics during the same period. “We have been preparing for this renaissance in makeup for the last six months,” said Sam Cheow, global head of makeup innovation, portfolio, and product development with Estée Lauder.

So, what do women want now that life is getting back to normal? Statement colors and long-wearing lipsticks. Women want a pick-me-up color—like the orange and classic crimson shades featured on the models in Versace’s spring 2021 show. Metallic lipsticks are also Versace featured orange and crimson lip colors popular and the boldest, newest colors are in the purple spectrum. So are gloss finishes. For daytime, it’s natural colors, such as nude, champagne, and soft apricot. Fruit punch pink is trending, too, but come evening, classic reds and scarlet that are stronger than ever, with a matte finish favored.

Why Use a Lip Scrub

To achieve this look is a process that many women don’t incorporate into their beauty regime. First, you need a lip scrub. A lip scrub defoliates your lips of dry skin. How do you know you need a lip scrub? Simple. A few hours after putting on lipstick, do your lips feel dry and flaky? That’s because you have some lingering dry skin that needs to be removed. Once you’ve restored your lips to health and gotten rid of the dry skin, your lips will stay plump, and you’ll achieve a long-lasting effect from your lipstick. And what’s more, you can even make your lip scrub yourself.

  • In a bowl, mix one teaspoon of honey, one tablespoon of brown sugar, and one tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Massage a fingertip’s amount into your lips for about 30 seconds
  • Rinse your mouth and dry
  • Seal your lips with your favorite lip balm

Be sure to refrigerate the lip balm mixture, which will be good for about a week. Then mix a fresh batch.

How to Perfectly Apply Lipstick

Then, when it’s time to apply lipstick, take a little time.

1. Outline your lips with a lip brush or pencil.
2. Apply your tube lipstick from the center of the lips to the outer line and rub your lips together evenly.
3. Using a liquid lipstick of the same, or close, shade, apply a coat to your lower lip, press your lips together, and feather the lips to the outer corners. For a more intense look, do multiple coats.

Here are some lipsticks that are trending right now:

CHANEL introduces its first hydrating lipstick with a plumping effect: ROUGE COCO BLOOM which is specially formulated for an intense, long-wearing shine. Created to glide on smoothly, its ultra-comfortable texture makes for a supple finish. The array of colors includes Radiant, Merveille, Season, and Alive. Also available is Rouge Coco Baume, a hydrating conditioning lip balm that will keep your lips moist and healthy. www.chanel.com


BOBBI BROWN, the eponymous line of one of cosmetic and skin care’s early trendsetters and now part of the Estee Lauder dynasty, has been the “go-to” brand for many women since it first gained prominence at Bergdorf Goodman, New York.  For a bold, fresh, look try Bobbie Brown’s Crushed Shine Jelly Stick Lipstick.  It’s in harmony with most skin tones and tans and adds just enough color to bring interest to your lips.  

GIVENCHY Le Rouge Luminous Matte Hydrating Lipstick has a soft, lightweight texture that delivers intense, long-lasting color while replenishing and hydrating the lips with hyaluronic acid and the smoothing effect of Acmella oleracea flowers.  Your lips will feel instantly smoother and supple. Available in 28 intensely pigmented couture shades.  Don’t throw away the exquisite Givenchy lipstick tube.  Refills are available.  

LIPSTICK QUEEN breaks beauty barriers with colors that transform and moisturizes. LQ’s Sinner Lipstick collection comes in an array of strong “statement” colors such as Berry Wine, Fire Red, Coral Red, Natural Sinner and Red Plum.  These shades will take you into the fall but for summer evenings, when the breeze is gentle and the light is low, these shades are great.   

YVES SAINT LAURENT’S Rouge Volupte Shine-Oil-in-Stick is a medium-coverage hydrating lipstick that gives you high-performance color and a stunning, luminous shine as it nourishes the lips with six oils, including natural pomegranate and rosemary extracts.  Available in 22 colors.  YSL Beaute Tatouage Couture Metallic lipstick, with its unique applicator, gives an edgy look, naked-lip feel, and has long-lasting results. Available at Macy’s or online at www.macys.com.


LANCOMBE’S L’Absolu Rouge Intimatte is a soft, matte lipstick that wears comfortably on the lips.  It’s creamy, non-drying formula is lightweight and glides on effortlessly.  Inflused with Pro-Xyland™, a Lancome-patented molecule, and rose extract and hyaluronic acid, it retains a thousand times its weight in water.  Available in 12 colors to match all skin tones.

GUERLAIN’S complete line of Kiss Kiss lipsticks is “as tender as a kiss.”  Lightweight, long-wearing and luminous, a trio of active ingredients—hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and rose petal extract—nourish and flawlessly shape lips.  Its light, delicate “floriental” vanilla scent has top notes of lemon, orange and bergamot accord to make your Kiss Kiss lips sweet-smelling.

Check out Guerlain’s fun and funky “Kiss Kiss” video on YouTube—with sound track by Elvis!

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