Back in the mid-1970s, my very glamorous grandmother, Betty, used to pack up her pale yellow convertible, her badly behaving Irish Setter dog and drive north to spend the summer months at the family cottage on Georgian Bay. With her Pucci-print caftans and her case of turquoise costume jewelry, she looked like she was spending the weekend on Jackie Onasis’ yacht, not on a lake in Northern Ontario. I remember there wasn’t one square inch of space left in that convertible trunk – she even brought the mammoth family punch bowl in case a cocktail party broke out on our deck. (The secret recipe included about eight different types of booze garnished with some maraschino cherries and star-shaped ice cubes.)
But what is clear in my mind is Betty insisted on wearing coral lipstick from May 24th, the official start of summer in her mind, right through until Labour Day in early September. Her favourite brand was Elizabeth Arden and she wore is proudly with her Blue Grass fragrance. She had to stop bringing her beloved Blue Grass bath soap to the cottage as the dog ate every bar. (Remember, I told you it was a badly behaving dog.) Betty told me that coral always flattered a summer tan.
She’d be very pleased to see the summer 2015 makeup collections overflowing with coral and turquoise shades. Coral, in particular is a nice alternative to the perennial popular reds and pinks.
“What I love about coral is that it is a shade most women can pull off,” says Arden’s Jamie Petrovic. “It’s so versatile because it sits right in the middle of the colour spectrum between red and pink.” He says that coral lip shades have a distinct personality but there are a few differences to keep in mind when selecting the right shade for your skin tone. “A coral lipstick with a hint of warm red or tangerine works best for warm skin tones. While, a coral lipstick with hints of cool red or blue pinks work best for cool skin tones.”
“Since coral lipsticks provide a fabulous job of giving a fresh, uplifting look to the face, I would recommend a classic eye look that complements the eye. I love to use a regal jet black/navy liner with a soft nude or peach shadow – something that isn’t too dramatic to take the focus away from the lip. Nudes are always a safe route to go, but since summer is a season filled with colour, you can add a little more – perhaps a pastel hue.”
For a subtle hint of coral, you can layer a coral gloss over any lipstick. It will instantly breathe new life into all your lipsticks. It will either add a punch of colour or immediately lighten up a lip shade that may be on the darker side.
“It is important to keep your lipstick and blush in the same colour family,” adds Petrovic. “If you decided to wear a coral lipstick, make sure your blush has a similar tone. You don’t want to wear a pink/fuchsia blush since that would fight with the coral lip. Choose a coral or peach toned blush to keep the look harmonious.”
“One of my favourite looks right now is to create a glowing dewy bronzed look to the skin while kissing the apples of the cheeks with a Sweet Peach blush and a coral lip. It provides a youthful glow.” He says that finding the perfect coral shade may sound like a challenge, but when the hot weather finally rolls around after a long winter, many women are enthusiastic about putting those neutrals away and trying something different and fun. “My rule for makeup is simplicity and every woman should add to their makeup regime a coral themed blush, lipstick and gloss. These three items provide a soft, fresh look that works equally well in the workplace as it does on a cottage deck.”
Clinique’s Global Colour Artist Jenna Menard is so enamored with coral she personally created a Long Last Lipstick in Runway Coral. She felt the colour was flattering on so many different skin tones and thus perfect for Clinique. MAC Cosmetics is equally fond of the shade. Coral Bliss is a best-seller in hot, summer months. And Lancome has also followed the coral trend with “Irreverente” in its new Shine Lovers Collection.
Of course, if you truly love coral, you’ll want to pick up the limited edition bronzer by Guerlain. It comes in a coral-hued silicone case that can be reused. I know Betty would have snapped one of those up. She’d even find room in that convertible trunk to take it to the cottage.
Our Favourite Coral picks:
Elizabeth Arden Matte Lipstick in Coral Crush
Elizabeth Arden Lip Gloss in Coral Kiss
Elizabeth Arden in Tropicoral
MAC Cosmetics inCoral Bliss
Butter London Lip Pencil Trout Pout
Lancome Shine Lover in Irreverente
Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Runway Coral
Elizabeth Arden In Neoclassic Coral