Ease up on the foundation: photo of Alyson (in full makeup) via Pure Collection

Tomorrow, July 29th is National Lipstick Day says Vicci Bentley. It’s also my 66th birthday  – a curious coincidence, since I’m having a bit of a lipstick issue. Throughout most of my lippie-loving career, I’ve enjoyed a relatively smooth ride. Lately though, I’ve noticed a worrying migration from lip central to suburbs – little tributaries of colour feathering upwards beyond the contours. And I’m not alone. Over a bottle of rosé during the hot spell, Alyson confided a similar trend, herself. Call them Cat Butt Creases or Cat’s Bum Mouth, (depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on), sooner or later these pesky purse lines creep up on us all.

Lipstick on your teeth’s bad enough, but lip wrinkles are downright frustrating, whether or not you smoke (neither Alyson nor myself partakes, BTW). Does skincare help? Night creams with collagen-boosting retinol (like SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 concentrate); and line-plumping moisturisers with hyaluronic acid during the day (I’m loving Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream right now; available HERE and HERE) might prevent them worsening or at least soften their visual impact. And of course Eve Lom’s Kiss Mix is the best hydrating lip balm I know…


If you’re brave or rich enough to risk a procedure, hyaluronic acid fillers both in the lips themselves and more subtly above the lipline plump up thin lips and smooth lines without that telltale ridge that screams ‘trout pout.’ Then there’s Glam Glow Plumprageous Matte Lip Treatment, which tingles like hell to make lips look more bee-stung, then calms down to become an effective smoothing primer for colour.

Glam Glow also available at M&S HERE

And this is the best news – there’s a lot you can do to control your lippie. ‘The problem is, we’ve been spoilt by easy balmy crayons, but we’re not so good at prepping the lip surrounds,’ FAB makeup artist Sara Raeburn reminds me. She’s been using Deciem Hylamide HA Blur on set over foundation – it’s like Nanoblur, but finer she reckons. Oh, and by the way, ease up on foundation. The less there is, the less it will pool into lines.

‘You also need some kind of a barrier, like a pencil,’ Sara continues. ‘Pick a shade nearest your natural lip colour, draw in the entire lip and blend it in well with a brush. Top it with lipstick, keeping just shy of the edges, but avoid lipgloss like the plague.’ You might need to splash some cash on a good matte lipstick, she muses. And as luck has it, there’s no shortage of those in the A/W17 colour collections.

I’m excited about Nars intense new Powermatte Lip Pigment (in Selfridges from August 1st – a little goes a long way and stays). You’ll find a good match for your own lip tone in their Precision Lip Liner, too. If you like your lips less intense, Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Sheer Matte Sculpting Lipstick (from August 1st) is more your comfort zone. Or, if you fancy a bit of retro shimmer (you know you want to), Dior’s Double Rouge has a velvety-matte outer ring with a sheeny inner core that gives a fabulous ombré effect – although you’ll have to wait until September. Might as well?


Meanwhile, according to sales stats compiled by John Lewis, your lipstick colour can show where you live now, if not where you come from. Apparently, it’s all bold and shiny down south and barely-there nude up north. Being Midlander at heart, my comfort zone’s matte beige. A bit on the pale side, perhaps but at least it won’t betray those Cat Butt Creases…

Vicci’s midlander matte lips



43 thoughts on “Wrinkly lips and what to do about them

  1. Easiest not to wear lipstick! I haven’t worn lipstick or foundation for about 40 years (I’m 64). Just mascara and eyeliner now – those pesky wrinkles around lips and eyelids are bad enough without colour bleeding and creasing…ugh!

  2. This is the bane of my life…so thank you, some useful products to try. I’ve always been a gloss girl but alas, I think I have to concede defeat here and move onto grown up stuff! Definitely going to try the Deciem blur one as this company is my new obsession.

  3. How interesting to read this just 10 minutes after boarding the Paris bound Eurostar behind a beautiful woman in her mid-70s (at a rough guess), immaculately dressed in the usual effortless style of the French, hair artfully coiffured so as to look not done at all, and definitely wearing Arpege by Lanvin. Perfect….but then, “Non!” Because her mouth was set in that perfect ‘moue’ that says lip-filler, and which makes the lips look so odd. Needless to say, her lipstick was perfect, but is it worth it, when what you lose is your unique smile?!
    Excuse me whilst I apply my Boots Sheer Temptation – Blooming Pink – and practise my pout!

  4. I just tried LookFabulousForever’s primer for this problem. I used to use a wax pencil, but that really didn’t work well. But the primer seems to be fixing the problem. Now my mom (the 70+ model on my blog) has stolen the primer, so I’m going to have to buy another one….
    I blame the wrinkles on all of my smiling!! XOXO

  5. Yep I always say you absolutely should use lip pencil over the entire lip to properly set the lipstick. In other words the waxy pencil creates a firm base to keep your lippy in place. Another good trick is to sharpen your pencil to a point so you can draw that liner along the outside edge of your lips to make them look plump. Using a nude pencil works best by the way…You must be sure to keep it along the natural line or it will be clownlike, hence having a super sharp point.

  6. Hi Alyson! I’m pretty new to your blog but have enjoyed your posts. I completely get the lip wrinkles/lines! Ugh! I have found the Rodan and Fields Redefine Lip Renewing Serum to be amazing. Using their silver capsules throughout my day not only lessens the lip lines, it also helps bring back my lip color– something else that fades with age. It’s rich with peptides and vitamin E!
    For an extra blast against facial lines and wrinkles, nothing beats the R+F AMP MD Micro-Exfoliating Roller. I use that on my face, neck and lips. It’s a real winner!
    P.S. They are launching in Australia soon! Send me a message and I can get you set up!

  7. Thank you for this post! I used to have filler put in on a yearly basis to ‘crisp up’ the lipline . Now I’m 74 so it seems kind of pointless but I have used a lip pencil for 40 years once I found a good color. I may have filler for nasolabial lines as yet..haven’t decided as I am due. My dermatologist has a nurse practitioner who has the specialty of skin care and I trust her. I am looking forward to the Estee Lauder lipstick you indicated. Thank you, Dianne PS Purging my wardrobe and trying to streamline it as I have less time to dress, shop, and coordinate these days due to granny duties.

  8. Vicci,
    Keep doing what you’re doing because I think uou look fabulous! Your lips look 40-something not 60-something!

  9. Alyson
    Your lipstick post is so timely. I’m 74 and my problem is that my lips are SO dry the lipstick dries and fades in to my lips in less than an hour after application. I have tried lip brushes, lip pencils, everything, but I can’t seem to find any product that will successfully moisturise my lips. As a last resort I have just ordered the Eve Lom lip balm you recommended so I’m living in hope! Do any of your readers have any other tips for my problem? I love your posts, Alyson, and love your style. That minimalist look is me to a T.
    Frances Whyte

    1. I had the same problem, Francis. Sounds like you need to exfoliate to remove the dry skin to let the moisture in. I use Rodan and Fields MicroDermabrasion Paste and follow up with their Lip Renewing Serum. Voila! Hope that helps.
      Ruth Fox

    2. Frances, I’ve tried so many lip balms and moisturizers. The best thing I’ve found — which I received in an American Airlines biz-class overnight baggy on a transat flight last spring — is a simple old Elemis lip balm stick. It’s the most moisturizing lip balm I’ve EVER used. It has made my flaky, dry, icky lips smooth as a baby’s bottom. And when I use it all up, I’ll have to figure out where to buy it. Or just fly back to London on AA. 😉

    3. Frances, the best lip balm I have ever used is the Sugar products by Sephora; I don´t know which special ingredient it contains, but it is absolutely different from all the ones I have tried, besides, they are available in different colours which give your lips a sheer tone as they moisturize.

    4. Frances, I recommend Renewal Lip Complex by Dermalogica. It’s the product that has really sorted out my lifelong ultra-dry lips!

  10. I’ve collected a few lip pencils which I use all over the lip to create the colour, then top with a thin smear mixture of lip balm and beeswax melted together to moisturise and add a sheen. It looks more natural than gloopy lipstick and doesn’t bleed.

    I found through my BLOG by asking and the BEST is CHAPSTICK!Give that a go around the outside of the lips two or three or four times use a pencil to outline lips and color in with pencil apply color!STAYS ALL DAY without dipping into the TRIBUTARIES!


  12. Matte lipstick??? It ages me about 10 years even if it dies not bleed. A satin finish over the pencil works for me.

  13. This is a very interesting issue! I have recently bought a new (but quite oily) gloss by Clinique and was horrified to see that it bled , I had all my lip wrinkles dyed in a burgundy colour. I am 50 and until now I hadn´t had this problem, but you always get a first time; unfortunately all the mentioned products are unavailable here in Bs As, I use a nude lip liner by Rimmel which is cheap and very good, so I highly recommend it to draw a line on the border of your lips. And reading other blogs about this subject I presume that the best you can do is scrub and hydrate your lips on a daily basis. Any recomendations about available product here in Argentina will be appreciated

  14. Carmex lip balm in a little pot only a few pounds from boots..i use it all year round everynight when i go to bed and never get dry lips…lipstick never works on dry lips..

  15. I have recently experienced the same problem. I have been using Elizabeth Arden Eye Fix Primer for years. Whenever I purchase a new tube, I notice the “Lip Fix” primer and wonder when I’ll need to start using that as well. I think the time has arrived……………it’s on my shopping list. Hopefully it is as good as the Eye Fix Primer which keeps my eye make-up from sliding off my face even during our hot humid weather (southern Ontario, Canada).

  16. Since you’re talking cosmetics, could you please do a column on achieving the look in your professional photo? You look wonderful but not overdone, especially your eye makeup. I’d love a “how-to”!

    1. Hello Monica, this is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while – next time I get my makeup done I’ll do a step-by-step.

  17. I have never been a lip person until recently. I bought a bright red lippy just on impulse one day and put some on there and then. I felt like I was walking on air. People started to look at me (in a nice way)for the first time in years.
    I have the dreaded lines but now I spend time applying my lips carefully. I had some unwanted eye cream and used that on my lips – its fine.
    Now my make-up essentials are red lips and another forgotten beauty must have – eyebrow make up. With those two I do not have to worry about eye makeup on my watery eyes. I feel sixteen again.

  18. I’ve been using a Korean product, recommended by Ynnika on her Life in a Cold Climate blog. It’s Laneige Lip Sleeping mask, which when layered over a Hyaluronic acid before bed does give a great result, much bouncier lips with fewer dry chapped bits and plumps out the lines as well. And Lanolips or Korres lip butter during the day. I must admit I don’t really use a ‘proper’ lipstick very often these days, Clinique Chubby stick is as near as I get.

  19. I’m in my mid sixties and have never had any facial or lip injections. There are some lines on upper lip but I just have to get on with things and ignore them. I do rub moisturiser into upper lip area. Some French brands like Caudalie which I use make an eye cream for both lids and skin above lips. Dry lips I do have but have found the perfect products to combat this problem. I have used Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream forever. An improved version is Eight Hour Cream Nourishing Lip Balm in a small tube with SP 20. Expensive for what it is but very pleasant to use and effective. I’ve recently bought Ren Vita Mineral Lip Balm in a tube. M & S sells this for a tenner. Better value than the EA one but lacks sun filter. No more dry lips now. For lipsticks I like Clinique and Laura Mercier. Good colours and non-drying if applied over balm. Pencil doesn’t work for me. I use a lip brush instead with the lipstick I’m going to apply. Then blot whole mouth with a tissue. Reapply as required. For food in teeth especially after eating roquette and other greens always carry a small hand mirror to check teeth. Wooden sticks and little dental brushes in make up bag sort out the problem. I couldn’t function without lipstick. It brightens a fading complexion. Day starts with brushed hair, a squirt of cologne or perfume and lippie.

  20. For what it’s worth, I have terrible dry, lined lips and have used everything on the market. Nothing really has made any significant difference and then my daughter (who’s a good deal younger but still has dry lips!!) told me to use the Bodyshop Hemp lip balm/stick. IT WORKS!!!! It’s made my lips considerably softer, less dry and it’s the last thing I put on my face before I go to bed. I haven’t once woken up to dry, flakey lips.

    1. That’s a great tip Kim and The Bodyshop are not too expensive. I will certainly try that out. I have already ordered Eve Lom lip balm online (rather expensive) but worth it if it works. I will let you know how I get on.
      Many thanks
      Frances Whyte

  21. I use Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream on my lips every night – have done for over a decade – I am now 65. It really seems to help.
    I also use No 7 lip pencil all over my lips – then Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Balm – Roomiest Rose. The Eight Hour Cream lasts for months so is cost effective. I love red lipstick ( I am from The South) – it seems to brighten up my whole face – and I too just concentrate on my eyebrows as the main way of accentuating the eye area.

  22. When I want to wear lipstick the long-lasting ones are brilliant – I use pencil then something like L’Oreal Infallible and can forget about it for the rest of the day (which is just as well as I never remember to refresh my makeup). Yes they are drying, so you need to exfoliate and lubricate, but that is doable. I might use bright red lipstick only once a year, but when I do I want it to stay put.

  23. What a wonderfully refreshing blog! Great practical advice, stimulating articles and no egoist rubbish. Honest (and beautiful) pictures of Vicci and Alyson. More of these please. It’s so helpful to see real people showing how they deal with their challenges. Proof that style is the best weapon against life’s trials and tribulations. May I ask where Alyson’s lovely tailored jacket in the photo comes from?? It’s not on the Pure Collection website at the moment. Wonderful tailoring, great slim lapels and stand up collar. Is it a charity find, a designer investment or available now (I do hope so – want one!)???

    Keep up the great work – you are doing a much needed and fabulous job.

    1. Hello Stephanie and thanks for your lovely comment. This photo is a couple of years old now and so the jacket is no longer available. Sorry about that!

      1. Ohh Alyson, how lovely that you have replied. That’s what make this blog so special. Enjoy your evening!

  24. Update on my post from Friday: I went out and bought Elizabeth Arden’s Lip Fix and I am happy to report it works. I tried it with and without lip liner because I don’t really like using lip liner (unless I have to) in the summer. And with this product, I found that I don’t have to. So, I would recommend!

  25. I seem to be allergic to every lipstick and balm – other than Carmex. Over the past year, I’ve developed deeper lip “crevices,” so I look forward to trying some of these products. If anyone has a recommendation of a gentle lipstick that moisturizes, please share. It would be nice to be able to wear a little color!

  26. I’ve been using Guerlain’s Kiss Kiss Lip Lift Primer for years. I wear red lipstick every day & this is my saviour. Works everytime. Lightly smear on entire lip ensuring that you apply a thin layer ABOVE your lip line; a light dab will render it invisible. It’s on the pricier side but well worth it. $44.00. I dig down deep into the bullet with a lip brush to make use of every last bit of it. It’s magic!

  27. Lovely to hear lots of people have this problem – it’s the sort of thing that’s never mentioned in magazine beauty columns, which are rarely pitched at our demographic. A bit of a lipstick queen myself, I had to give up my favourite bright lipsticks as they seemed to end up all over my face and eventually, several hundred pounds in wasted lipstick later, I discovered Maybelline’s Superstay 24-colour lipstick. It NEVER runs. Sadly the reds are not very good, but I’ve found a colour that suits me – and I’m sticking with it!

  28. Living here in dry dry as a bone Colorado, I am never far from a shiny/soft/moisturizing lippy. But then I’ve always felt naked without something on my lips, which may or may not explain my (so far) lack of lip lines at 64. As I am a slap and dash applier I’ve never used lip liners or primers. Perhaps a softer color is the key? Much less likely to show creasing than a bright red. Burt’s Bees makes a nice moisturizing lipstick and there are lots of lip glazes with a hint of color. One favorite is Love & Toast Lip Glaze in Crush Rush.

  29. Am in the midst of a series of microneedling facials, concentrating on the lip area – at almost 64, and a former smoker – i wanted to target trouble spots sans botox or scalpels. It’s working! pricey but worth it! i love re lippy and want to wear it forever. you look amazing Alyson – and I love the white jeans and loafers look on Keep It Chic, btw.

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