“I thought back to the lipsticks I saw in my life, when I was little, my mum’s lipstick, who was always inspired by the 50s, and I wanted to give it the most powerful meaning, that of the Hollywood divas and the mythology of cinema, which first put the lips in the spotlight,” says Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, of the instinct to package super-sheer balms in classic metal tubes that read as pretty as a traditional lipstick. The brand’s first foray into makeup launched this month, and the Baume à Lèvres line sits in retro robins-egg-colored packaging chosen by Michele himself, because as he describes it, “lipstick is the most beautiful object you can find inside a handbag.”
The glamour of a bullet, the no-nonsense application of a balm—it’s a concept sweeping the beauty space as customers shirk their faded chapsticks for something a bit more aspirational. And for brides, choosing translucency makes a lot of sense. “There’s a modern wave of brides looking for petal-soft lips that require little to no attention,” says L.A.-based makeup artist Jessica Monzalvo, who’s mastered the equation for Vera Wang Bridal and Modern Luxury Brides. “My clients are always asking me about a mess-free, no-mirror touch up for the day—aka the perfect lip balm.”
A fan of Gucci’s sheer launches—including the Joslyn Clair shade that “goes on completely transparent for anyone who loves their natural lip color,”—Monzalvo also prefers Givenchy’s Le Rose Perfecto for a pH-balanced shade of pink since “it works as a plumper and color enhancer.” For a can’t-miss selection, Winky Lux’s adorable pill-shaped balms come in every iteration from pinky color punches to shimmery hints of sparkle. “They’re all disguised in super-cute tubes and even infused with energizing matcha so you get your fix all day long.”
At long last, there are elevated options for every aesthetic with formulas to match, whether harnessing luminous oil technology like Cle De Peau’s slim design, packing in moisturizing hemp like Milk’s sleek white metal iteration, or are even infusing flowers for a pocket-sized Origins bouquet. Below, six balms for a camera-friendly kiss.