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From the minute my parents allowed me to wear make-up in my mid-teens, I've been all about a statement lip.
I've had brief dalliances with nudes (lipstick, that is) and sheer glosses, but quickly got sick of people saying: "You look tired" or "Are you unwell?".
Though I have an extensive collection (think three drawers devoted to different shades of reds and deep fuchsias) there's one lipstick that has survived numerous culls: Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour by Mac in the appropriately named Quite The Stand Out (£15.20 – was £19 – at Boots). It's a matte, smudge-proof gem, and as soon as I put it on, the bright, orangey/red tones make me look like I'm lit from within. A strong statement, yes, but true.
Science even backs it up – according to a study by Professor Richard Russell and researchers from C.E.R.I.E.S. (Epidermal and Sensory Research and Investigation Center), wearing a bold lipstick makes you appear younger. (I can vouch for that – I was wearing Quite The Standout recently when out with a group of women I'd just met and they all thought I was at least 10 years younger than I actually am.)
If that's not enough to make you click to buy, then know this: research by The British Heart Foundation found that 26% of women feel more confident and 'fierce' when they wear red lipstick.
Of course, you might have heard of the 'Lipstick Effect' too – something that can be traced back to the Great Depression. It means that even in economic hard times, like the current cost of living crisis, people will still buy beauty products to make themselves feel better, with lipstick being a top choice.
US business magazine, Forbes, reports that new data from global market tracking firm NPD Group shows sales of lipstick and other lip makeup grew 48% in the first-quarter of 2022 compared to the previous year, and women are also going for brighter, more dramatic colours.
The power of lipstick to not just make you look better but feel better, too, is not to be underestimated. Lipstick has always given me a mental boost: as soon as I slick on one of my favourite, pigment-rich colours, I immediately feel stronger. Braver. More confident. In fact, one of my mother's top bits of advice whenever I'm not feeling great (emotionally or physically) rings in my ears: "You'll feel a bit better when you put a bit of lippy on." And you know what? She's right.
With that in mind, and to celebrate National Lipstick Day today, here's why Mac's Quite the Stand Out is a worthy addition to your stash.
How it works
Mac says its Retro Matte Liquid lip colours offer "a rush of pigment-soaked, liquid colour in a velvety, mattest, matte finish that’s impossible to forget."
And I'd agree with every word of that. It applies like a lip gloss, but dries into a pigment-rich matte lipstick – and the brand claims it'll last for eight hours.
How to apply
Mac experts recommend using the edge of the applicator for a smooth, sharp shape, and then using the tip of the applicator to perfect your application.
FYI: In winter, when my lips feel their driest, I'll sometimes put a sheer lip gloss over the top so I don't sacrifice the pigment. Though it does reduce the staying power.
What to expect
After applying Mac's Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Quite The Stand Out, it dries to a velvety soft, highly pigmented matte shade within seconds.
And, if you don't eat, it will last for eight hours. But if you do scoff a sandwich for lunch, be prepared for it to wear off in the middle.
As for mask-wearing (as I'm still doing this when on crowded public transport or in busy shops) – I lose a little bit of pigment. But, unlike a lot of lipsticks I've worn, I don't end up looking like I've had a heavy kissing session when I remove my mask.
Against my fair skin, the colour packs a real punch – it's a seriously bold, striking, orangey red. Because it's so matte and dramatic, I keep the rest of my make-up really minimal and glowy. I avoid face powder and just go for a touch of mascara and radiance-boosting base (I recommend IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream Illumination SPF 50+, £26 from Boots – the tube lasts for ages).
Although Quite the Stand Out looks amazing year-round, in summer with a tan (or fake tan in my case) it looks sensational. It makes my skin look radiant, my green eye colour pop and people constantly tell me how 'well' I look.
And it looks just as good on other skin tones too. In fact, I first fell in love with it when I saw mixed-race influencer, Style Me Sunday, wearing it. On her, it's a stunning, almost deep fluorescent orange. And on the Mac website, you can see what it looks like on very fair, olive and black skin.
Another bonus? I use it as blush, too. I touch my middle finger to my lips and then dab the colour that comes off onto my cheeks.
I'll leave you with this quote from former lipstick entrepreneur Poppy King: “Give a woman the right lipstick and she can conquer the world."
Happy National Lipstick Day.
Shop now: Mac Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour Quite The Stand Out | £15.20 (was £19) from Boots