For my first college ball I was in a frenzy. The autumn was 2008 and I sort of knew there was a recession but I was also all fresh from secondary school and had a debit card meant for wiser things than rushing up Henry Street and buying whatever might come in handy later that evening. The recently memorised pin number got a lot of exercise that afternoon. I needed a soft grey cardigan. Subtle tights because I couldn’t trust myself and my obviously-on-iron-supplements alabaster skin with a dose of first timer tan. However, it is the plum lipstick that remains the most tangible memory.
I was pacing through Debenhams, the crook of my elbow weighed down by bags when I spied it. A bullet of dark purple atop this silver rectangular encasing. The word Givenchy burned in my eyeline. I tried it on. Tentatively, because it was such a deep shade – Dark Plum. Then the sales assistant sat me down with a brush, and showed me the potential of risk. I looked a little mad, but felt plenty great, and this expensive lipstick became my passport to confidence in the years to come. Most of the time I avoided lashing it on thick, instead rubbing it along my lips as a stain with my fingers looking like the happy victims of a lush blackberry picking. Sadly, the shade was discontinued. However, I’ve been in love with wine stained lips since and tend to keep a variation to hand when I really want to play up the wan Victorian heroine. Here are three I really rate.
A lipstick round-up list without MAC is like an angel waiting for its wings. Their lippies have a cult-like following for a damn good reason – they’re brilliant, and the entry level price won’t make you groan. From electric showstoppers to everyday roses, MAC are like a stable of Catholic saints. There’s one for every lipstick quandary. When looking for an all-rounder strong colour Diva is your only girl. Immediate confidence booster that you can play with depending on the level of pigment you want. MAC Lipstick in Diva, €20
This lacquer from Smashbox can go either way. It’s the perfect stain, but if you want to go full-on vampiric, lash it on with some accompanying liner. Think sexy New Orleans witch with a subplot involving an immortal and handsome lover. BE LEGENDARY LONG WEAR LIP LACQUER by Smashbox in Bordeaux, €24
Kate Moss for Rimmel is a celebrity collaboration which has spawned a generation of budget beauty devotees. The formula is perfect for matte lips and the price is a steal. In recent months, a bunch of nudes have flooded the collection, but the darker shades are where this collection continues to excel. Shades we love include 30 and 107. The Kate Collection by Rimmel is available in pharmacies nationwide, €6.99