rose gold

From the moment I first picked up a lipstick, I’ve known that strong colours were for me. I don’t have a signature shade. Scarlet, black cherry, fuchsia, tangerine are all fine, but my lips must be bold – lots of oomph; no namby-pamby nudes allowed.

A few years back, I even had my teeth whitened just so I could wear Nars’ Schiap, an arresting, fuchsia pink hue that can make less-then-perfect gnashers look yellow. I opt for a black, grey and navy wardrobe because I want my lipstick to stand out.

So when I first heard about the current hottest colour in beauty, I responded with a big fat “no”. Rosy pink not only on the eyes, but also lips and cheeks? Yawn.

Early commercial beauty products for lips came in dark colours like plum, aubergine and, of course, red, but there was always a certain connotation that came with them. These shades were sexy and provocative – for “fast” women. At the end of the ’50s, brands began to launch pink lipsticks, only for them to be promptly adopted by teenaged girls who were otherwise forbidden to wear makeup. Compared to their gutsier counterparts, rosy pink was seen as a safe, non-threatening, youthful option.

In the ensuing decades, this delicate pink has become a perennial in women’s makeup bags, reaching new heights of popularity with this millennium’s K-wave, a culture all about prettiness and looking girlishly young. But for the most part, it’s been considered more of a staple than a statement maker; never trendy – until now.

In S/S ’17, fashion labels such as Paul Smith and Erdem sent out models made up in a kind of beige, tawny rose. And now in F/W ’17, the look has gone paler – a more ethereal kind of pink – as seen at brands like Altuzarra and Simone Rocha. The most important thing about this beauty trend: It’s monochromatic, with the same hue used on eyes, cheeks and lips.

And if you’re wondering, it’s not the much vaunted millennial pink – less pastel than it is powdery, and far less saccharine and girlie. Overall, the effect is fresh and modern. Leave the rest of one’s face mostly natural, right down to showing off one’s freckles, and the rosy hue comes across as sweet without being insipid – and oh-so pretty.

This prettiness has translated into a growing host of makeup launches. Lancome’s Spring/Summer collection was called Absolutely Rose and the standout piece was La Rose a Poudrer, a highlighting powder in the shape of a sculpted rose that’s far too lovely to use. Moonshot’s long-lasting Stick Extreme in English Rose checks the box for lip colour.

And when the approach now is to wear the hue tone-on-tone, multi-tasking products make a great option. RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek and Stila Convertible Color are both multi-creams that can be used on the lips and cheeks. For the former, go for Spell (a nude rose) and Demure (a soft pink with a hint of mauve); for the latter, try Gerbera – a rose pink with a hint of peach. Go one up with multi-sticks that can be used all over the face to lend colour: from the original, Nars’ The Multiple in Maui (sheer, dusky, cool), to newbies like Los Angeles-based organic brand Ilia’s Multi-Stick in At Last (a muted rose hue).

So how does an avowed anti-pink person (ie someone like me) get along with this colour of the moment? The thing I’ve learnt is that it’s not hard to. For one, it’s surprisingly easy to nail the runway look because you’re using the same colour on your eyes, lips and cheeks. No complicated shading or contouring needed – just tap or sweep the product on. Lashes are left bare and brows, undefined, so it’s genuinely a 30-second job. The second surprise, I’m almost loath to admit, is how flattering it is. Because it’s monochromatic, it looks uniform, pulled together, yet still subtle and yes, undisputedly pretty.

Will I be sporting rosy pink for the rest of 2017? You bet. Though I’ll always have a red lip crayon stashed somewhere about me – just when I need, you know, a little more oomph.

rose gold
Ilia Multi-Stick in At Last, $63,
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Nars The Multiple in Maui, $60, Nars
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Stila Convertible Color in Gerbera, $41, Sephora
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RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Spell, $58,
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Moonshot Stick Extreme in English Rose, $26, Sephora

Photos and

This story first appeared in Female’s September 2017 issue.

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