For the last 30-odd years, I have lived with an understanding with regards to colours. Coral, and anything leaning orange, is not for me. I never questioned it – never even battered an eyelid when something orange and beautiful presented itself to me – a summer dress, the lipstick of the moment, a neon eyeliner, a beach towel, if it was orangey – it wasn’t coming home with me. With my complexion, it seemed that blues and pinks were my jam, the colours that brightened my eyes and gave life to the face. Orange did nothing for me but illuminate my paleness and look unnaturally Costa del Sol. Which is why, at some point this year, when I suddenly gravitated towards anything coral, I was a little confused.
Now, before my mum wonders who I am and where her daughters gone, I’m talking pink-coral, and it’s obviously down to the influence of Pantone and their Colour Of The Year. When Pantone announce their annual colour pick, it seems that the world swiftly obey and the world turns – coral.
Interiors magazine covers flash coral cushions and art work on the newsstand, fashion blogs are awash with the tone all over Instagram, shops are visual merchandising up their windows with the new hue, even Meghan Markle’s Vogue issue had it splashed across the cover in a neon coral typeface. It is inescapable.
So, here I am, coveting the colour coral – and hell bent on seeking out particular tones that flatter whether you have the golden tan or not. The simplest dip-you-toes-in method of experimenting with colour for is, for me, a statement lip or nail polish. Eyeshadow can be intimidating, blush is often best kept out of trends (although RMS lip2cheek Smile and Paradise are excellent corals), so I went with lips. I figured, if Kate Bosworth can rock the statement coral lip, so can I.
For the uber cautious, Dior Lip Glow in Coral is a good starting point. Despite it’s name, and appearance in the bullet, this leans far pinker on the lips. It’s sheer, balmy, and a lovely pop of summer colour.
Stepping it up a notch, I like Tom Ford Ultra-Shine Lip Colour in Lavish. This pinky coral is creamy and hydrating, but gives more colour pay-off than the balm. You can’t beat Tom Ford packaging for pure style, and the white and gold slimline case makes this a treat to use.
For a gorgeous, bright glossy lip, my go-to coral pick is Hourglass Unreal High Shine Volumising Lip Gloss in Horizon. These glosses have a minty flavour and slight tingle that supposedly plumps the lips their fullest potential. They’re highly pigmented for a gloss and wear down beautifully – no stickiness or gripping to dry patches.
My final flurry into the world of coral was an unexpected one. I was lucky enough to secure Lisa Eldridge’s summer pink collection and most excited to try Go Lightly, which had been touted as a salmon pink, despite appearing a vibrant coral in the bullet. Now, this lipstick does seem to appear different on every single mouth worldwide, but on me, the on-lip colour is very similar to the bullet and I find myself with a gorgeous pinky-coral that definitely packs a punch in terms of brightness. The texture is a dream – balmy and smooth – and if you’re feeling hesitant about corals as I was, just go lightly with the application for a subtle wash on the lips.
These products are not going to give you that real punchy orange-coral some might be seeking, but for the weary, the I don’t do orange gang, these prove that even we can hop on board with this year’s trend. What’s it going to be next year, Pantone?