Air Kissing, Real Kissing, and Turkey: The Lipstick Test

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and Christmas fast approaching after that, it’s about that time for my seasonal red lip to start making its appearance.  Not usually one to wear more than a swipe of tinted lip balm, putting on red lipstick is my way of acknowledging the festive and joyful nature of the holiday season, and also coincidentally brightening up a complexion that has been dulled from the lack of sleep and stress also associated with the season.

This year, having lost the red lipstick that I stole from my mother an embarrassingly long time ago, I found myself in need of a new holiday lip color. And as this is the only time of year I wear it, I wanted it to be perfect a.k.a. turn me into a well-rested holiday goddess, you know? Thanks to some brief beauty stalking and a group text among my more lipstick savvy friends, I narrowed down my possible holiday lipsticks to four contenders. All of which were put to an extensive holiday test. The following results are gleaned from rigorous scientific assessments including: champagne sipping, four course dining, all day shopping, air kissing, real kissing and other arduous holiday activities.

The all-day, it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon, holiday shopping lipstick:

MAC matte lipstick in Russian Red is bold, bright and begets the necessary confidence to power through your gift list (excuse me, Jonathan Trager, but those gloves are mine.) The blue-red color is reminiscent of the bygone era of pin-up models and produces a similar sense of glamour. Its matte formula gives it amazing staying power that won’t give out on that last trip down 5th avenue. And should you bring your girlfriends along, air-kiss away as the color stays firmly on your lips and won’t magically appear on her cheeks.

The holiday work party lipstick:

Rimmel’s Lasting Finish Matte By Kate Moss in 01 is a deeper, more sultry red than the aforementioned MAC iteration. The color complements rather than overpowers. It’s smooth, velvety application is surprisingly moisturizing, hiding any imperfections. Infused with black diamonds (yep) it produces a delicate sheen that doesn’t come across as overtly glossy. You can chat up your boss without worrying about your lipstick migrating to your teeth, as once applied it doesn’t budge. Though it fades faster than the other lipsticks tested I imagine that’s the perfect excuse to bow out gracefully after a few hours… because work parties can sometimes be a sprint – toward the door, not the booze please.

The going-out-and-hopefully-I-find-some-mistletoe lipstick:

Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gel in Showstopper is subtle and still playful. It’s also the most approachable and kissable lipstick according to my boyfriend who also was pleased with its sugary taste. Thanks to monoi butter and the glossy gel formula your lips look as soft and as plump as they feel. The warm brownish undertones ease the intensity of wearing a red lipstick and the super hydrating gel formula catches and reflects light, giving the illusion of super full pillow-y lips. It’s rich – perfect for a night on the town. It also fades to a pretty stain that lasts through the night (and maybe even the next morning…)

The if-I-could-bring-one-thing-to-the-island Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner lipstick:

Tom Ford Lip Color in Rouge Fatal is the absolute perfect holiday lip color. One swipe and I feel instantly put together, my entire face glowing with that holiday magic. The rich, creamy formula goes on easy and makes my lips look full and smooth. The color is warm and bright without being overwhelming. The luminous glossy finish easily transitions from day to night. The color didn’t bleed or feather and thus didn’t require constant trips to the powder room. From dinner to champagne, it stayed vibrant and left only a little residue on my glass. Like holiday cheer in a tube Tom Ford Rouge Fatal is my new go to when in need of a reminder of how lovely the holidays really are and how much a lipstick can really do.

Photo: John Brian Pierce

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