And They Call It Chubby Love…


Best selling novelist and self confessed beauty junkie, Marian Keyes, on her lifelong quest for the perfect lip colour

My beauty icon is the Clinique Chubby Stick and do you mind if I put it in a bit of context for you? Okay, thank you. The first thing is, I can’t take lipglosses. The minute I step outside my front door, the wind picks up a hank of my hair and glues it to my lipgloss and that is that. If I free the hair, it only reattaches itself 2 seconds later.

Also I can’t bear the ‘jammy’ feeling on my lips and I always have a sensation that lipgloss interferes with my speech. See, I like to talk and I like to talk fast and I feel that lipgloss glues my lips together between each word – only for the tiniest nano-second of time – but still. I feel that lipgloss slows me down and puts me off my game.

Lipstick, I love, and my face really needs the colour. But lipstick, she is a demandin’ task-mistress. Well, she is for me and my lopsided lips. I can’t just lash it on and sally forth. I need a lipliner to balance up my bokety lips. It takes time and concentration. Also lipstick can be a bit alarmingly ‘done’ looking – if I need to pop down to the opticians I don’t want to scare the mid-morning shoppers by showing up with a red mouth straight from the French Resistance.

Now for a little beauty history lesson. Some years ago Elizabeth Arden did a thing called 8-hour lip balm. It was shaped like a lipstick, instead of being a little pot, like most lip-balms are.

Initially it was colourless, but then they introduced 3 actual colours – a plum, a red and a pink, as I remember (and I might not have all the details quite correct). Anyway, I was very taken with the pink colour. I liked the sheer gleam of colour and the fact that it wasn’t sticky. But one day, when I was applying my twelfth consecutive coat, I realised that the pinkness of the colour was not pink enough for me and never would be, no matter how much I put on. The formula was simply too lightweight. Then – and maybe it was them and maybe it was me – the colouredy balms were no longer to be seen when I was passing through the airport duty-free so I gave up on it.

But I never forgot them… No.

And then – was it 2 years ago? Maybe not even – came the Chubby Stick. It was as if they’d taken everything that was good about the 8 hour lip-balm and fixed everything that was wrong and since then it has fulfilled every lip colour need I’ve ever had.

A swipe of a Chubby Stick is easy. It’s quick, it’s effective and it brightens me instantly. It brings colour to my face when I’m looking grey and exhausted. The finish is gleamy and shiny but never sticky.

Unlike lipsticks, the Chubby Stick is chunky so it’s unfiddly. One swipe in one direction (lower-lip) and one swipe in the opposite direction (upper-lip) and I’m complete. The colour is very much there but I can put it on without a mirror, I can put it on while I’m driving, I can put it on while I’m doing a head-stand (well, I could if such an incredible event ever came to pass).

Also, the actual Chubby Stick itself is so unthreatening and crayon-like that I can happily apply it in public without feeling like I’m being provocative or ‘inappropriate’. (Can I just take a moment to say how much I dislike that word, ‘Inappropriate’? A prissy US import that makes big smacky-rage rise in me.)

There are 16 colours in the original Chubby Sticks and mine is Pudgy Peony, a pink that’s almost neon. I am entirely dependent on it. There was one dreadful morning when I couldn’t find it. It was awful, awful, awful and although it eventually turned up, safe and sound inside my wallet, up to some flirty business with my driving licence, I resolved I would never let this happen to me again. So now I have 3 Pudgy Peonys – one in my handbag, one on my windowsill (where I do my make-up) and one stashed in a secret location, for emergencies.

I hear there are now plenty of copies of Chubby Sticks on the market. People talk a lot about (I think) how good the Revlon one is. I haven’t tried any of them because the Chubby Stick has been a very good pal to me and I sort of feel I’d be being disloyal.

Last Autumn, Clinique changed things slightly by introducing the Chubby Stick Intense. Which I like, I do, but it’s quite a different thing. The colour is very saturated and opaque and much more like a lipstick. Maybe it’s dewier and more moisturising than a lipstick. Certainly it has its place. But the original Chubby Stick is the one for me, my beauty icon.

Clinique Chubby Sticks, £16

Marian’s book, The Mystery of Mercy Close is available in paperback, now.

Related - Features
Related - Features + see all

SALI LOVES: Lisa Macario’s slogan sweatshirts

Any words you want, hand-stitched on a flattering sweatshirt? Sali Hughes is spoilt for choice

Sacred Brows

Comedy writer Sarah Morgan gets microbladed and finally sees what all the fuss is about

Meet The Experts: Nicola Addison

Fitness expert Nicola Addison tells Debra Brock how we can all easily improve our wellbeing

Mother’s Day Beauty Gift Ideas

Debra Brock trawls the aisles for the best gift ideas