Given the prospect of once again visiting people for whom we want to make more of an effort, my mind turns to how the past year might have changed our grooming habits. Doubtless many will relish the opportunity to trowel on makeup, enjoy colour again and feel different as we come out of lockdown. But every day? Even if people return to full-time office life, I’m not convinced. We may have been in tracksuits and moisturiser too long to return to rigid waistbands and 10 different makeup products.
With this in mind, I’ve been testing sticks that claim to enhance eyes, cheeks and lips in just a few strokes. Live Tinted’s Huestick (£22.50/3g) is among the most hyped products on Instagram, and it’s a compelling package: one stick of flattering colour (choose from nine: I got Perk, a peachy pink) acting as dark-circle corrector, eyeshadow, blusher and lipstick, for women of all skin tones. It mostly delivers. I found the texture creamy on the skin, but it remained firm in the tube and in situ wherever I blended it. Application is kid’s stuff: stroke straight from the stick and pat with fingers. There’s no shade light enough to correct dark circles on paler white skin, but the market is already awash with products for that. A solid 3/4 for white women and 4/4 for most brown and black women is a pretty great performance overall.
I wondered if an old favourite, Milk Makeup’s Mini Lip + Cheek £13/6g) could diversify into eye makeup. It, too, fared very well. The pinky Werk shade (one of five) is dusty and muted enough to avoid looking mouse-like, and it’s the most moisturising of the three here (all are vegan).
Nudestix is an entire brand built around the multiuse concept, and this is best realised in Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil (£20/2.5g), available in 13 well-chosen shades catering for all skins. The product blends like a dream, lasts as well as any other cream (ie less well than powder), and feels light and comfortable on eyes, cheeks and lips.
Overall, the low-key casualness of the all-in-ones is enjoyable. They’re perfect for days when a little effort is plenty. But for the rest of the time, I could no more wear one shade all over my face than I could wear a single-colour outfit. It’s cool, easy and handy, but way less fun. And fun is what I want back.