Lipsticks. A symbol of glamour and grooming, what could be more demurely feminine? But that innocent stick of pigment and wax hides subversive subtexts and precision engineering which would make a watch-maker look twice. The bullet is just the tip of the iceberg.


Colour may be the first thing we’re drawn to, but the packaging is also an important consideration. For those occasions when you have only one hand free, Guerlain’s Rouge Automatique operates with a one-touch mechanism: slide the switch and up pops your lipstick. Our current favourite shade is the holiday edition “Lou-Ling”, which is a sheer raspberry red with a hint of shimmer.


Chanel’s new Rouge Allure Intense lipstick may look like the classic Rouge Allure on first glance but, like the best leading ladies, it has had some expensive work done on the sly. The Chanel lipstick engineers have reworked the case so that the lipstick now pushes smoothly into the case with no catch. There are also new shades in the range including the neon orange “Excentrique” which never fails to lift the mood on application.


Tom Ford has released a collection of reds that are presented in the brand’s classic black case and perfect for the mistletoe season. Packing intense names such as Slander, Reckless and Narcotic, these lipsticks are for Saturday nights not Sunday afternoons. After all, if you’re going to give the gift of lipstick, it should have glamour, form and function. Your lips deserve nothing less.