Lipstick has been an iconic cosmetic product for generations, long before the modern beauty movement. Ancient civilizations used dozens of different materials to color their lips, from crushed gemstones to dried bugs. While lip color has long been available, it wasn’t considered a product that respectable women used until the early 1900s. By that time, the more traditional formula using oils and beeswax packed into a convenient tube was on the market, and the average woman could purchase lipstick through the Sears Roebuck catalog.
Today the industry has boomed, and lipstick is one of the most widely sold cosmetic items. Modern makeup mavens can purchase just about any shade imaginable, and matte formulas are taking over the trends. While these high-impact lip colors get a lot of buzz, they are a bit trickier to use than other types of lipstick.
Properly Applying Matte Lipstick
While it’s true that the following three brands stand out from the crowd, no matte lipstick will look its best without properly preparing the canvas. Unlike standard lipstick formulas that you can quickly apply on your way out the door, matte lipstick will show every flaky and dry patch on your lips, so you need to follow a lip prep routine for the best results.
- Before you apply any makeup, take the time exfoliate your lips. This will remove any dry skin and create a smooth surface for application.
- Use a lip balm to soften the lip’s surface. Don’t be afraid to use highly emollient formulas as you will be wiping off the excess before applying your matte lipstick. Apply the rest of your makeup while this soaks in and works its magic.
- Swipe your lips with a moist towelette to remove excess moisturizer as any oily residue will hurt the longevity of your lipstick.
- Use a quality lip primer to protect your lip’s surface from the drying effects of matte formulas.
- Apply the matte lipstick in thin layers. If you need more depth to your look, it’s better to use several layers than one thicker application. With matte lipstick, less is more.
- Allow the product to dry down before eating or drinking. If it is still tacky after ten minutes, blot it with a tissue and put a thin layer of powder over your lips.
There are dozens of brands of matte lipsticks available on the market. Almost every cosmetic manufacturer has jumped on the matte bandwagon, so you can find matte options at both drugstores and high-end beauty counters in formulations ranging from traditional solid lipsticks to liquid products.
In general, solid matte lipsticks are more moisturizing but will dry down with a bit more sheen. The best longevity and strongest matte effects come from matte liquid lipsticks, but users find these formulas more drying. You will probably find it worth the trouble to experiment with several different brands to decide what your preferences are.
These three brands are widely considered the most impressive by daily matte lipstick users, and you’re likely to find a winner in all these choices.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream
Despite being a drugstore product with a price tag under $7, NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream has long been a serious contender for the title of best matte lipstick. The affordable nature of this product makes it a must-have in your makeup toolkit, and the exciting assortment of 34 shades offers something for every skin tone.
The cream formula is more moisturizing than many matte liquid lipsticks with a dry down that many people find to be on the tacky side. This is a plus for people who find drier formulas off putting, but if you like a completely matte look, powdering your lips will give you the feel you are looking for. Expect to find both traditional pinks, reds and plums in the shade range along with trendier colors like grape, raspberry and navy.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream is sold in the drugstore section of Ulta as well as retailers including Walmart, CVS and Target.
MAC Retro Matte Lipstick
Since its introduction in the late 1990s, this line of MAC lipsticks has made a significant impact on the makeup community. With their base of loyal customers and celebrity followers, MAC has pushed their way to the forefront of cosmetics.
Rihanna and Taylor Swift, two of the aforementioned celebrities, swear by the shade Ruby Woo; While this neutral-toned true red shares the spotlight with pinks, plums and burgundies, Ruby Woo is definitely the most versatile color in this line. That being said, it’s also one of over 200 shades.
As a classic bullet lipstick with a creamy application, MAC Retro Matte Lipstick isn’t as drying as liquid formulas, but some reviewers still find that topping with a light balm makes it easier to wear all day. The formula is long wearing, true to color and highly pigmented, and when it does start to fade, it wears evenly without patchiness. Available at MAC counters and retailers like Ulta, this popular matte lipstick will set you back around $17.
ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip
For lipstick lovers who want a truly matte lip color and can handle a slightly drier formula, ColourPop is one of the very best mattes on the market. This brand is not only an Internet sensation that is promoted by beauty gurus all over the web, but it is also surprisingly affordable and accessible to the average user at just $6 a tube.
The brand collaborates with beauty celebrities such as YouTube’s Kathleen Lights with shades like Lumiere 2 and Aquarius 2, but the extensive assortment from their regular color line provides plenty of interest as well. Best sellers in the ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip line range from the bright red Bumble to the nude legend Trap. More adventurous lip aficionados can choose from bold options including the raspberry-plum toned Zipper and the deep teal shade of Dr. M.
While it dries to a true matte finish with impressive longevity, the formula is a bit thin, and you might need to apply several layers for full opacity and depth of color. ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip products are sold only on the ColourPop website, but delivery costs are reasonable, with any order amount over $30 receiving free shipping. ColourPop provides exchanges for damaged products but no returns if you just don’t like a color. Check out YouTube videos for real-life swatching on various skin tones to avoid surprises.
Lipstick is a girl’s best beauty friend and can take a look from every day to out of this world with minimal effort. Matte lips are rising in popularity for their intense color and impact, and many women find the long-lasting nature of matte lips ideal for busy lifestyles. While it’s true that matte lipsticks are a dime a dozen and every brand has its version, these three tried-and-true choices are sure to please, making them products that every beauty lover should have in their makeup box.