Though glosses have made a major comeback in recent months, matte lipstick is and will always be a staple in our makeup bags. The finish is sophisticated, dramatic, and above all, timeless. Unfortunately, too many matte formulas can be harsh on the lips, leaving them feeling (and often, looking) crusty and parched.
As the weather cools and humidity evens out, our skin starts producing less oil, meaning richer formulas are a necessity — and dried-out pouts are a dealbreaker. We’ve sifted through the hundreds of matte liquid lipsticks on the market to find the softest, most comfortable formulas available, ensuring the only characteristic people notice about your lips is their gorgeous color.
Who: Lauren Levinson, Editorial Director
What: Dior® Rouge Ultra Care Liquid Lipstick in 707 BlissTM; ($38)
Why: Disclosure: I don’t actually like liquid lipsticks. I prefer my pout to feel hydrated and pillowy, rather than matte and stained. That said, this new formula from Dior made me reconsider. This is truly the smoothest, silkiest liquid lipstick I have tried yet. Using the precision point doe foot applicator, I am able to successfully outline my lips (without the telltale bleeding), and fill them in with the velvet-like formula. It never dries down too much, but it’s also longwear. It is infused with camelina oil, almond oil, and shea butter; which, when blended, provide both a subtle botanical scent, as well as a petal-soft feeling. The range includes both satin and matte shades, with my favorite being 707 Bliss — a bright brick-red matte.
Who: Joslyn Winkfield, Senior Visuals Editor
What: Honest Beauty® Liquid Lipstick, in FearlessTM; ($13)
Why: Finding a bouncy, flexible matte liquid lipstick truly makes me feel like I’ve won the beauty lottery. As a result, I don’t wear them very often. However, when I first tried this gorgeous berry shade, I was amazed at the soft and supple texture. I immediately looked up the ingredients and was pleased to behold the hyaluronic acid and avocado oil included in the formula. A few hours into my first application, and the color was still vibrant and unbudging. But more than anything I’m always happy to add more vegan, non-synthetic products to my makeup shelf.
Who: Emily Orofino, Senior Beauty Editor
What: Huda BeautyTM; Liquid Matte Lipstick in IconTM; ($20)
Why: I’m a seasoned liquid lipstick wearer, and have pretty much accepted that most formulas come with a bit of discomfort. Huda Beauty’s is unlike most, however. Traditional liquid lipsticks dry down quickly and fully, leaving a sensation that feels almost sandpapery. This product dries down about 80 percent of the way, meaning there is a very light amount of transfer (on cups, sandwiches, and cheeks), but a significant reduction in that unpleasant “tight” sensation on the lips. Instead of feeling like your pout is in a tightly-wound vice, they’ll feel a bit more like they’re wearing shapewear, which is oddly comforting. The finish itself is also more realistic-looking than traditional liquid mattes — the formula seemingly melts into the lip and can easily be used to overdraw the natural lip line. The result is a cushy, sultry-looking pout that lasts for hours. My favorite shade, Icon, is a luxe mauve that can equally suit work meetings and date night.
Why: When I do a red lip, I abide by the old adage, “Go big or go home.” In lipstick needs, that translates to bold, bright, and completely opaque, with a last-all-day finish. The Molten Lip Color checks all those boxes and then some. The ultra-flattering “Julia” is a timeless, blue-based red that somehow looks luxe on all skin tones. Even better, the non-drying, velvety matte finish ensures this show-stopping shade looks classic — not costumey — for any and all occasions.
Who: Madisen Theobald, Social Media Editor
What: NYX® Soft Matte Lip Cream in StockholmTM; ($6.50)
Why: When liquid lipsticks come to mind, you may be thinking of a once tested matte formula that was overly drying and, unfortunately, indicated every lip line that you have. The NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream is just the opposite: It is a non-drying, non-sticky formula that provides creamy color and sets to a beautiful matte finish. The brand claims that the formula is “light on the lips and heavy on the pigmentation,” and this absolutely holds true. With just a few swipes of my favorite shade, Stockholm, I have beautiful color payoff, accompanied by a plush matte look. After I grabbed a shade of this creamy formula, I had to try more. I didn’t have time to swing by the drugstore, so I went to NYX Cosmetics’ website and used their virtual “Try Me On” camera! Next thing I knew, I was trying on all 36 soft liquid lip shades . . . with my iPhone®. Can you say, “selfie-ready?”
Who: Sophie Wirt, Beauty Editor
What: Charlotte Tilbury® Hollywood Lips® in Too Bad I’m BadTM; ($34)
Why: I didn’t know a matte lipstick could actually be comfortable until I tried this moussey formula. While many liquid lipsticks seem to suck the moisture from my mouth, this one leaves my lips feeling softer. Presumably, this is thanks to the beeswax and hyaluronic acid (HA) spheres, which smooth and moisturize. Another benefit of HA: it subtly plumps up dryness-induced lip cracks, so regardless of how hydrated I actually am, I can trust this lippie to pull through.
Who: Cat Matta, Copy Editor & Fact-Checker
Why: Imagine drawing on a bold lip liner, then forgetting to put on lipstick — that’s how I usually looked anytime I wore a long-wear lipstick and dared to eat anything oily or greasy. After years of rushing to slap on Chapstick® or any other petroleum-based product and viciously scrub until I regained even coloring, I nearly gave up on the dream of a one-and-done application. But, I mean it when I say I finally found a product that delivers on the tall promise of endurance.
Proof positive that you can’t judge all makeup by its price tag, L’Oréal Rouge Signature® Lasting Matte Lipstick keeps its word and goes the distance. It’s light as water when applied, dries quickly, and is so super comfy, it’s easy to forget you even have it on. Each hue is inspired by the Parisian sunset and named to empower (I’m a fan of “I’m Worth It”). When it does begin to wear off, it somehow fades evenly, so I never look like I leapt from my house in the middle of dressing up my pout.
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