Matte lipsticks have reigned supreme for some time now. This is mainly thanks to a certain Jenner sister, who has made a fortune out of painting her full pout in every imaginable colour, from classic nudes to daring brights. But one of the most fun parts of beauty is the constant innovation and evolution, which sees us slathering on cool jelly cleansers, exfoliators without a grain in sight, and cotton sheet masks. The latest technology? Powder lipstick formulas.
Our first thoughts? The hassle: the mess, the lack of precision, the fallout. When By Terry's Lip Powder Essence landed on our desk, though, our doubts were removed. The powder comes in a narrow screw-top tube, and the applicator is thinner than a cotton bud. Designed to mimic a pen, it enables a neat and exact application, which works best when used as a liner to shape the lips first, then turned on its side to fill in the colour. The shades available are limited – there are just four – but gorgeous and highly pigmented. Pink Kiss is a bubblegum pink, Nude Flirt is a suedey pink, Chill Wine is a burgundy purple, and our favourite, Red Carpet, is a vibrant orangey red.
So far, so good. The science behind the formula is pretty impressive, too. "The breakthrough powder-to-liquid technology has been created by coating water essence microbubbles with highly concentrated pigments," Olivia Sharpe, By Terry's digital coordinator explains. "The microbubbles then explode on contact with lips, miraculously transforming from powder to liquid."
You're best off layering the product to build pigment and resilience against food, drink and kissing; once on, it doesn't budge. In fact, it takes an oil cleanser to remove it – perfect for long work days and into-the-early-hours evenings. "It's the premium pigments within the formula which provide the high-impact colour, while the silica and water powders cling to the skin’s surface and lock the pigment in place, thereby delivering long-lasting and smudge-proof hold," Sharpe tells Refinery29.
Having tried many a lip product, though, we know that 'long-lasting' usually translates to 'drying'. While the silica adds hydration, the reapplication of the powder does make lips drier than usual, and there's nothing like feeling self-conscious about your lip colour to throw you off your work presentation. However, on second try, buffing lips with a toothbrush beforehand (to stop the colour clinging to dry bits) and a heavy dose of paw paw ointment, and it's a much smoother affair.
By Terry isn't the only brand to launch a coloured lip powder, although it's certainly heading up the trend. Chanel dropped its limited edition Poudre à Lèvres back in February, a compact palette containing a balm and Naples-inspired vivid red powder. The balm is non-greasy and proves the perfect base for the powder (we recommend using blotting papers to remove any excess product), which can be dabbed on with the provided brush or smudged on for a more worn-in effect. The powder can also be used on eyes and cheeks, too, for a rosy finish.
While powder lip products are certainly fun to apply, highly pigmented and thus statement-making, they are more dehydrating than regular lip formulas (although no more so than matte lipsticks). If you're after durability and pack-a-punch colour, they're well worth having fun with – and that's what beauty's all about, right?