Matte lipstick, with its punchy pigments, is one of those things that look amazing … but just don’t always feel that way.
Which is why you often see it on catwalks and magazine covers, yet rarely on the red carpet – or, for that matter, any real life situation that requires lipstick to wear well (and comfortably) for more than seven and a half minutes.
But something curious has happened on said red carpet in recent times … Glossy, shimmery lip colours have been outshone by a decidedly non-shiny competitor: matte lipstick, in a spectrum of bold hues, such as wine (on Lindsay Ellingson, above left), orange (Camilla Belle, centre) and red (Nina Agdal, right).
The reason? Very likely because there’s a new generation of matte lipsticks that are actually a joy to wear.
Three new ranges hitting beauty counters right now:
Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm, $17.95 each (available from mid March).
These ten shades are all pitch-perfect, but start with the fashion-inspired brights – there’s a fabulous sherbet orange (Mischievous), a gorgeous fuchsia (Showy), a luscious velvety purple (Shameless), a neon salmon-pink (Unapologetic) and a pretty poppy red (Striking). The ‘triple butter complex’ (shea, mango and coconut) makes for the balmy feel, and the colour coats on evenly but lightly, meaning you can wear it as a subtle stamp of colour, or layer it up for major matteness. Bonus points for the light and pretty peppermint scent.
L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Moisture Matte Lipstick, $21.95.
This line of eight shades excels when it comes to the drop-dead glamorous end of the spectrum, where the shades look positively drenched in colour. Don’t go past Bloody Mary (a rich blood red), Flaming Kiss (a bold orange-red), Red Valentine (a pink-infused red) and Glamor Fuchsia (a cool magenta).
Maybelline New York Color Sensational Bold Matte Lip Color, $16.95.
Blended with honey, vitamin E and emollient waxes, these lippies glide on lightly to leave a lovely stain-like effect (although can be easily built up for intensity). There are only five shades available at the moment; my picks are Mat 1, a pink so bright it’s almost fluorescent, and Mat 7, a 1960s-esque beige nude that just begs to be worn with lashings of liquid liner or smoky shadow.
Whichever you go for, there are a few ways to get the most out of your new matte lipstick …
- Matte lipsticks, no matter how many nourishing and moisturising ingredients they claim to contain, are inherently more drying than other lipsticks. For this reason, make sure your lips are super-well-hydrated, both from the inside-out (nothing makes lips soft and plump like loads of water), and with a pre-lippie slick of balm. Tissue off any excess of lip conditioner, otherwise you’ll just negate the matte effect of your lipstick; for best ‘grab’, wait around five to ten minutes before applying your lipstick, which ensures that your balm has absorbed and your lip colour can hold directly onto the lips.
- The thicker, pigment-heavy textures of matte lipsticks can make chapped, rough lips look obviously so. As well as lip balm, use a lip exfoliator as needed – an easy alternative is to coat your lips in balm, then lightly massage with a baby toothbrush to work off any dry patches.
- Apply lipstick directly from the tube – this makes for better pigment pay-off. From here, you can go back in with a brush to neaten up edges and add another coat if desired. If you layer your colour this way, you can expect up to six hours’ wear from the above lipsticks.
- Matte lipstick looks amazing when contrasted with a glowing complexion, so don’t miss contributing beauty editor Eleanor Pendleton’s how-to on luminous skin.