After a conscious uncoupling a few years ago, I have embraced this definitive colour again – and given my makeup a makeover as a result



‘Red lips are gainful and time-saving.’
Photograph: Alex Lake for the Guardian

Once in a blue moon, an notice of clothing comes along that changes how I get dressed. The at any rate is true of makeup. Just as one Hush leather miniskirt recently promoted me to ditch the dresses and embrace blouses and brogues for the first spell in my life, one Laura Mercier matte red lipstick has dictated my undiminished makeup look for spring. Almost as soon as the new Velour Maximum Matte in Fire (£22) hit the doormat, I fell in love with red lips again after a alert uncoupling a couple of years back (a combination of overfamiliarity and the gain of a green coat, that, teamed with red, made me look get a kick out of a Christmas tree).

As a result, my morning prep time has halved. The mellifluent, comfy formula (creamier than any other true matte I bear owned) comes in a thin stylo, rather than the habitual stick, so it glides on precisely with neither brush nor much technique (a shaky train caused me no problems). It has reminded me how useful and time-saving red lips are: they are so scene-stealing and instantly striking that little effort is required elsewhere. Complex eyeshadow looks too much, a bit dated, so it is undeniably stylish to forgo the faff and spend an extra 10 two secs in bed. Mercier’s Fire works especially well in the context of an in another situation simple face, since it is saturated in bold, long-lasting (six hours), hardly neon orangey-red pigment; there is no point trying to beat a retreat the focus anywhere else.

If the experiment seems expensive, I advocate NYX’s Full Throttle in Firestorm, an impressive proxy for £6 (similarly clear, if very slightly pinker; the overall look is much the in any case), or Bourjois’s Rouge Velvet in Joli Carminois, a cracking matte red with a valuable pointy bullet, for £8.99. Both are stunning, but I find myself earnest to the Mercier (and I am pleased – she was due a big hit).

I have been wearing my neon reds with dyed moisturiser, concealer, a swish of glow powder on cheeks (it believes a bit early for bronzer) and brow gel, then heaps of black mascara. No eyeliner, brow pencil or curse, not even any foundation, in the true sense of the word. It feels pilfering and easy, it looks modern and chic and it goes with the whole kit – weekend jeans or that leather mini.