Which matte lipsticks are best?
Lipstick is an incredibly fun part of makeup, and matte lipstick is a great way to make a bold statement with your face. Depending on the brand, there are so many different colors and formulas to choose from. There’s a matte lipstick out there for pretty much everyone.
Whether you like nude shades, a classic red lip or something unconventional, you just can’t go wrong with a matte lipstick. The best matte lipstick is NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment.
What to know before you buy a matte lipstick
Unfortunately, a lot of matte lipsticks can be quite drying. This can often result in a more puckered look, where the natural lines of your lips are enhanced by the lipstick. To avoid this, use a moisturizing primer on your lips before you apply the lipstick. A primer will fill in these lines and provide a smoother canvas while keeping your lips comfortable for however long you intend to wear the lip color.
Regardless of how good a lipstick is, it will pretty much always transfer one way or another. It might not get on your coffee cup when you’re sipping a latte, but it will almost certainly come off if you eat any oily food. Don’t let this stop you from wearing beautiful matte shades. There are ways to minimize transfer if you don’t want to have to reapply constantly. See the FAQs below for some tips.
Many people find it easiest to apply a matte lipstick by tracing the outline of their lips first. Whether you do this with a matching lip liner or the lipstick itself, it’s good practice. If this is something you struggle with, there are countless tutorials available online for free that are full of tips and tricks. But what it comes down to is practice. If you wear matte lipstick regularly, you’ll get the hang of it sooner or later.
What to look for in a quality matte lipstick
Liquid vs. solid formula
Believe it or not, matte lipsticks can come in a liquid formula. Often these are the ones with the most staying power, but they can also conversely be the most drying. Everyone is different and reacts differently to products, so consider swatching both liquid and solid formulas on your hand and seeing how well they hold up over the course of a few hours before you decide which one to buy.
Ease of use
Although it’s possible to learn how to apply any kind of lipstick with enough practice, sometimes it’s better to just go with what you know works. For example, some people find doe foot applicators on liquid lipsticks easy to use, while others prefer the classic shape of a solid bullet lipstick. Of course, there are positives and negatives to each, so it’s completely up to you whether one or the other is a dealbreaker or a feature.
Aside from whether the formula might be drying, certain matte lipsticks are more or less comfortable for other reasons as well. Some go on very thick and will feel heavy on the lips, while others are much more lightweight, to the point where you might forget you’re wearing anything at all. Moreover, other mattes will go on very wet and dry down quickly, but there are mattes that will transfer easily because they never actually dry all the way. They may look dry and matte, but they will feel very loose on the mouth and come off on everything. Your comfort level is very personal to you, so these things may or may not affect which type of matte lipstick you buy.
How much you can expect to spend on a matte lipstick
A matte lipstick can be anywhere from $12-$90, depending on the quality and brand.
Matte lipstick FAQ
How do I keep my lipstick from transferring?
A. Start with a primer, as mentioned above. You can also lightly blot off excess product with a tissue after the product has had a few minutes to “set.” When eating, taking smaller bites and using utensils rather than biting into the food will also limit transfer. Eating processed food will also keep your lipstick on the safe side.
When will my lipstick expire?
A. It differs from product to product and brand to brand. Bullet lipsticks tend to last longer than liquid once opened. Smell-check your lipsticks every few months — if you notice a significant shift in the odor, they should probably be tossed. They can last as little as a year or much longer, but they may not perform well past a certain point.
What are the best matte lipsticks to buy?
Top matte lipstick
What you need to know: Lightweight yet highly pigmented, this liquid lip from NARS comes in a variety of stunning shades.
What you’ll love: The formula is less drying for most people and reportedly feels weightless. The doe foot applicator is small enough to make application more precise and easy, and the color lasts for hours.
What you should consider: Some find the formula too drying and report that it still transfers.
Top matte lipstick for the money
What you need to know: This matte lip color is meant to wear more like a stain, meaning it’s light and easy to apply.
What you’ll love: It comes in a creamy liquid formula that goes on slightly sheer and can be built up to greater opacity. Designed to feel like mousse for your mouth, it is light and comfortable to wear and delivers as much as or little color as you like.
What you should consider: It goes on blotchy for some people and might transfer easily.
Where to buy: Sold by Sephora
Worth checking out
What you need to know: For those who want to splurge on a designer brand with gorgeous packaging, this matte lipstick from Christian Louboutin is a treat.
What you’ll love: Featuring a luxe, elegant design, the tube alone will look gorgeous on your vanity. The lipstick itself comes in a solid bullet formula and is moisturizing and comfortable to wear for many hours.
What you should consider: It feels a little heavy when applied and only comes in five shades.
Where to buy: Sold by Sephora
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Eve Jones writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.