Melani Wilson

Best Matte Lipstick – Buyer’s Guide

best matte lipstickThe world of makeup is fierce and rife with competition. Since every person has a slightly different skin type, color, and receptivity, there really is no brand or type of makeup that will be best for everyone. Still, when looking for the best matte lipstick, there are a few qualities to keep an eye on.

Obviously, everyone would prefer that their matte lipstick lasts as long as they decide before taking it off, but that may require certain ingredients which do not work with every type of person. On top of that, the longest lasting matte lipsticks usually have other qualities that might not be so desirable, like transferability.

Best Matte Lipstick 2018

Figuring out which matte lipstick is the best matte lipstick for you can be confusing. That is why we have put together a list of the 8 best matte lipsticks, highlighting what each one does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the right matte lipstick for your needs.

Product
LookColorsLongevityMoisturizing 
Lime Crime
(Editor’s Choice)
Matte Stain27HighNo
Sheer Semi-Matte18Mid-High
Yes
Maybelline
(People’s Choice)
Sheen64MidYes
Semi-Matte36HighYes
Matte4MidYes
Matte12LowYes
Sheen12LowNo
Milani
(Best Price)
Matte30LowYes

1. Lime Crime – Best Matte Lipstick Brands (Editor’s Choice)

Lime CrimeLime Crime is an incredibly polarizing brand due in a large part because they have been caught or suspected of plenty of fishy business practices. That said, it is also known as one of the better-performing lipstick on the market across a wide enough range of finishes and textures that many buyers will simply ignore their ethical faux pas in favor of a quality product.

Long Lasting

That is the case for our list as well, as the Lime Crime Velvetine matte lipstick lineup is the best performing matte lipstick we found and earned the editor’s choice on our list.Easily the biggest reason that we rated this matte lipstick so high is due to the fact that it is one of the longest lasting matte lipsticks that we reviewed.

In fact, it is likely the second longest lasting–and that is only because it actually stains your lips. While that may not necessarily be your desired result, it does allow the exceptionally bold color saturation to maintain throughout the day.

Eco-Conscious

Another reason we rated the Lime Crime Valentine so high is due to the fact that not only because it managed to produce a matte lipstick that is incredibly long lasting, but it managed to do so without the use of certain ingredients or by testing their products on animals. This lipstick is certified to be both cruelty-free and to use a vegan formula making it incredibly eco-friendly.

Pros:
  • Has 27 different colors
  • Provides true lip stain
  • Is a cruelty-free matte lipstick
  • Uses a vegan formula
  • Has excellent color saturation
  • Is long lasting
Cons:
  • Is a more expensive matte lipstick
  • Can dry out lips
  • Contains Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Numerous fakes sold

2. NARS – Best Matte Lipstick for Dark Skin

NARSThe NARS brand is the product of famous fashion photographer Francois Nars. As a fashion photographer, he knows what it takes for a lipstick to provide the most complementary effect for the wearer.

That said, this matte lipstick is definitely one of the first departures that our list takes from the standard, traditional matte finish and begins to incorporate other finishing elements to create a matte lipstick that truly stands out from the rest.

Look

One of the most important things to remember about the NARS matte lipstick is that it is not actually a matte lipstick at all. In fact, the brand itself advertises this as a semi-matte lipstick. This is because the NARS lipstick manages to keep a strong color saturation, but it generally does not try to do so with the same boldness as many other matte lipsticks available.

Moreover, this lipstick also provides a bit of a sheen finish so that your lips pop a bit more rather than relying on a flat, bold color saturation to do all the heavy lifting.

Lip Comfort

Likely drawing from his fashion photography background, the sheen finish is not the only quality about the NARS lipstick that makes it stand out. From a wearer’s perspective, this is also one of the lightest weight feeling matte lipsticks that we saw.

In a market where thick and heavy are the norm, this provides a nice alternative to those who do not want to feel like their lips have been painted over. On top of that, this lipstick is also infused with vitamin E to help nourish the skin.

Pros:
  • Infused with Vitamin E
  • Provides a sheer finish
  • Is a semi-matte lipstick
  • A solid nude color lineup
  • Has a lightweight feel
  • Is fairly long lasting
Cons:
  • Has only has 18 different colors
  • A more expensive matte lipstick
  • Color not as saturated
  • Requires more layers per use

3. Maybelline – Best Matte Lipstick Maybelline (People’s Choice)

MaybellineMaybelline is one of the most well-known and fairly well-respected brands of makeup in the world. In fact, it is the best-selling makeup brand in America and owes that accolade in a large part due to the company’s storied history, which stretches back over a century.

In that time, Maybelline has been able to refine and innovate their makeup lines, which have led to them producing consistently high-quality products. As such, it should come as little surprise that this is the most popular matte lipstick on our list.

Feel

As a brand that is focused a bit more on mass appeal as opposed to providing a specific product for a more niche market, Maybelline makes it a point that their lipsticks you will feel good when putting it on and throughout the usage.

That is why Maybelline has ensured that their matte lipstick will go on smooth without needing to put too many layers on at one time. On top of that, the lipstick itself feels fairly lightweight and will not block or limit your lip’s breathability.

Concerns

One of the potential issues with larger conglomerate companies is that they are far too invested in their formulas–even when newer information might suggest that a change is in order.

This is the case with Maybelline, which includes Tocopheryl Acetate as one of their ingredients. It is important to note that the tocopheryl is actually just vitamin E. However, when you combine with an acid, as in the “acetate,” that vitamin takes on a photo carcinogenic quality and the acid can irritate some people’s skin.

Pros:
  • Has 64 different colors
  • Enriched with honey nectar
  • Does not require lip prepping
  • Has a lightweight feel
  • Has a smooth application
  • Does not flake off
Cons:
  • Contains Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Has a shiny look
  • Many are expired
  • May irritate sensitive skin

4. MAC – Best Matte Lipstick Mac

MACMAC may not be the oldest company on our list, but they are almost universally known for producing some of the best makeup products regardless the lineup.

Whether lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation, and more, MAC only makes solid products with many of them leading the pack in terms of quality. In fact, MAC comes in a close second to our editor’s choice and may actually be better for some people’s preferences.

Long Lasting

Like our editor’s choice matte lipstick, the MAC is an amazingly long-lasting matte lipstick. In fact, in terms of pure coverage, the MAC is actually the longest lasting lipstick we reviewed.

That said, the MAC matte lipstick does not stain your lips-though many people may prefer this to the alternative. Still, when you combine that fact with the fact that this is one of the more transferable matte lipstick we reviewed, its results can be mixed.

Application

Still, another reason that the MAC matte lipstick almost made our editor’s choice spot is because it provides one of the best and truest matte looks around.

If you are looking for a lipstick that will provide deep, rich color saturation without any of the fuss or glam associated with hybrid finishes, this is arguably your best bet. On top of that, the formula itself is so thick that it only needs a single coat and the application is smooth as butter.

Pros:
  • Has 36 different colors
  • Is long lasting
  • Does not flake off
  • Has excellent color saturation
  • Only requires a single coat
  • Has a smooth application
Cons:
  • Is a more expensive matte lipstick
  • Is somewhat drying
  • Not scented or flavored
  • Is fairly transferable

5. L’Oreal – Best Matte Lipstick Loreal

L’OrealL’Oreal Paris is another brand that is exceptionally well-known and has earned an impressive reputation. It is also one of the oldest companies on our list with a storied history that stretches back over a century.

However, L’Oreal Paris also falls into the same trap that many of the biggest makeup conglomerates do: they have to produce products that appeal to the largest demographic. As such, their matte lipstick, while still a solid quality, is by no means the “best.”

Lip Care

One of the better qualities about the L’Oreal Paris matte lipstick is the attention to detail that L’Oreal Paris pays to your lips. By this, we are not referring to the actual look of the lipstick but to the effect that wearing this lipstick has on your lips.

This is by far the most enriched and infused lipstick on our list. For nourishment, L’Oreal Paris infuses their matte lipstick with omega-3 acids and vitamin E. In order to ensure that your lips stay moisturized, they enrich the formula with argan oil, which is well-known for its moisturizing properties.

Finish

Another solid quality about the L’Oreal Paris matte lipstick is that it provides great color saturation. While it may not be on the level of the best matte lipsticks out there, it is still exceptionally good in this arena.

On top of the quality color saturation, this is also another lipstick on our list that features a “true” matte finish without any embellishments like a sheen or other finish hybridizing the look.

Pros:
  • Is a true matte lipstick
  • Goes on exceptionally soft
  • Infused with Omega-3 and Vitamin E
  • Enriched with Argan Oil
  • Color is extremely saturated
  • A less expensive matte lipstick
Cons:
  • Has only 4 different colors
  • May irritate sensitive skin
  • Colors are not true
  • More transferable than most

6. NYX – Best Matte Lipstick Nyx

NYXNYX is actually the first brand on our list that is not actually its own company. Instead, the NYX lineup brand is a subsidiary of the L’Oreal Group, which is most well-known for their L’Oreal Paris brand.

Still, being a subsidiary means that NYX is able to appeal to a more niche market and uses this to focus on appealing to those consumers who are not comfortable spending $15 to $20 on a single tube of lipstick–no matter the quality.

Pleasant

Instead of trying to compete with brands that cost 5 times as much and focus on producing the longest lasting formula available, NYX instead aims at providing a product, which is just generally pleasant to use.

For example, NYX is widely known for ensuring that their matte lipstick has a pleasant smell instead of a chemically or chalky smell that other high-end lipsticks might. On top of that, this matte lipstick will not stain your lips despite the fact that it is actually a wet lipstick.

Secondary

Though it is not the longest lasting, the NYX matte lipstick is not the shortest lasting either. That said, many of its better qualities are the way in which it holds while worn.

For instance, this matte lipstick has a fairly long drying time to reach the full matte finish, but once it does, you do not have to worry about this lipstick transferring to cups, food, or other lips. On top of that, this matte lipstick is not known for drying out your lips.

 

Pros:
  • One of the less expensive matte lipsticks
  • Has a nice smell
  • Applies creamy, dries matte
  • Does not stain
  • Does not dry out lips
  • Does not transfer
Cons:
  • Has only 12 different colors
  • Not that long lasting
  • Has a tendency to bleed
  • Feels heavy on lips

7. The Balm – Best Matte Lipstick that Stays on All Day

The BalmThe Balm is arguably the most “indie” makeup brand on our list. Started in 2004 by Marissa Shipman who simply read about mixing makeup and then put those practices to work, this brand focuses heavily on providing the consumer a solid product that can leave them guilt-free. On top of that, it is intended to be easy to use without too terribly much prep time.

Eco-Conscious

Though it is not the only matte lipstick on our list to advertise being eco-friendly, the Balm is likely one of the more reliable in this regard–especially since one of the other brands is noted for dubious claims, which can neither be verified or denied.

Still, this matte lipstick makes it a point to be cruelty-free–which is fairly easy since the founder tested all of her early products on herself. Moreover, this is a matte lipstick that does not use paraben or talc or any of their derivative ingredients.

Convenience

Another great quality about The Balm matte lipstick is that it was designed to be easy to use. It features a doe-foot applicator which is noted for actually being larger than many of the applicators of its competitors.

This matte lipstick also features extracts from natural plant sources to give it a vanilla mint flavor. Finally, though it is wet to dry application, this matte lipstick is still able to provide solid color saturation.

 

Pros:
  • Does not use paraben
  • Is a cruelty-free product
  • Has a vanilla mint flavor
  • Has doe-foot applicator
  • Has solid color saturation
  • Wet to dry application
Cons:
  • Has only 12 different colors
  • Not the longest lasting
  • Somewhat dehydrating effect
  • A somewhat expensive matte lipstick

8. Milani – Best Matte Lipstick Cheap (Best Price)

MilaniNot every brand can target the high-end customer looking for a matte lipstick that is an all-day product. To fill in the gaps, the Milani brand makes it a point to provide makeup that is significantly less expensive than their competitors while still providing a respectable level of quality. Of course, as a budget-friendly brand, you should temper your expectations accordingly.

Lip Care

While many brands on our list have made it a point to infuse and enrich their formula with various ingredients–especially vitamin E–the Milani matte lipstick is the only product on our list to infuse their formula with vitamins A and C.

While this nourishes the lips, it also provides additional benefits that the vitamins naturally give. That said, this matte lipstick is also noted for the inclusion of retinyl palmitate, which has a photo carcinogenic quality.

Finish and Feel

That said, so long as you do not spend a great deal of time in the sun while wearing this lipstick, that should not present a problem. If you do choose to wear this lipstick at night, you will be pleasantly surprised.

First, this matte lipstick comes with a candied melon aroma as opposed to a chemical or chalky smell. Second, it feels extremely lightweight, but it is able to still provide a true matte finish without any hybridization.

Pros:
  • Has 30 different colors
  • Infused with vitamins A and C
  • Least expensive matte lipstick reviewed
  • Is a true matte finish
  • Has a candied aroma
  • Has lightweight feel
Cons:
  • Colors are darker than expected
  • Contains Retinyl Palmitate
  • Not the longest lasting
  • Not that water-resistant

Best Matte Lipstick Review – Buyer’s Guide

LongevityLongevity

When it comes to lipstick, this is the most important quality that you look for. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the most difficult to pin down due to the fact that manufacturers are covetous of their formulas.

While you may be able to get a rough idea of the formula based on the list of ingredients, the ratio of those ingredients is generally tightly held trade secrets. As such, it can be fairly difficult to know ahead of time what kind of lasting power a given lipstick provides.

Generally, the best way to gauge this quality is to simply look at the reviews from other customers. Because people have different methods of putting on lipstick and because the manufacturers all have different procedures for putting on their lipstick, in particular, even this can be a bit difficult to collate. Still, without being able to try it on in person, there are few other measures for being able to judge how long-lasting a lipstick will actually be in real life.look

Look

Technically, this refers to the “finish,” which our list has focused on the matte finish. Still, plenty of brands that either advertise a matte finish or slightly alter the finish itself will ultimately provide a product that actually has a finish other than matte.

Depending on what you are looking for, this may be acceptable. For example, matte is an incredibly deep but dull finish. The only kind of “pop” that it will inherently provide is through contrast.Of the other finishes, one of the more popular seems to be semi-matte. This is where the matte finish is softened a bit with a slightly creamier texture.

This still provides a very rich color saturation but has a tendency to be smoother in the application as well as provide a significantly smoother finished look on the lips. That said, semi-matte is rarely quite as bold in color saturation as a true matte finish.

Another fairly popular adjustment to the matte finish is giving the end-product a bit of a sheen. On the surface, this may seem a bit counterintuitive since matte finishes are generally used to provide a flattering look with striking colors, but many people prefer the color saturation of a matte finish without that dulled look.Provide a touch of sheen to the look can be just the thing to make it pop a little bit while still maintaining the slightly dull look of a traditional matte lipstick finish.

Moisturizing

The potentially worst qualities of matte lipsticks are that if they are not enriched or otherwise infused with some type of skin nourishing or moisturizing agent, then they have a tendency to dry out your lips. This trend even holds true among the high-end matte lipstick manufacturers that otherwise provide a stellar product with incredibly long lasting coverage. In this regard, there may actually be a couple ways to alleviate this issue.

The first, and most obvious, is to simply purchase a matte lipstick that provides some type of lip nourishing or moisturizing agent as part of the formula. There is no clear winner in this category, though vitamin E is an exceedingly popular front-runner and has proven, clinical results when it comes to nourishing the skin-though it’s moisturizing properties are a bit less clear.

Outside of vitamins and other ingredients, which nourish the skin, a number of other ingredients can be added explicitly for the purposes of providing moisture while the lipstick is worn– though it may or may not actually moisturize your lips.

One of the potential problems with this approach is that it can leave the lipstick a bit looser when it dries which can either lead to it transferring more easily or potentially caking and flaking.Ingredients

Ingredients

While this consideration might immediately make you think in terms of quality, it is actually better approached from the opposite end of the spectrum. Specifically, most of the brands have the quality ingredients they use specifically because they desire that type of result. Its are the ingredients, which can present problems that you really need to look out for.

Some of the more notable ingredients are those with links to photo carcinogenesis. Basically, this means that ingredients which are affected by that process are more likely to induce cancerous growths when exposed to a fair amount of sunlight.

Keep in mind, this does not mean that those ingredients cause cancer nor will they immediately increase your risks, but over an extended period of time they may raise your risk for developing tumors in or around your lips that you would do best simply to avoid them–at least during the daytime.

Other ingredients that are best to avoid include any heavy metal like lead, iron, titanium, and others. The primary issue with this is that most of the brands of lipstick out there-even those that advertise a vegan and cruelty-free formula-also provide a warning that their lipstick may contain trace amounts of various heavy metals.

While any contamination of these substances is bad, they likely to fall within FDA guidelines. However, if a heavy metal ingredient is included in the primary list outright, you should avoid that lipstick altogether.

Eco-Conscious

More and more consumers are actively making it a point to choose brands and companies, which make eco-friendly choices in the production of their products rather than wait for a regulating agency or larger conglomerate to do so out of the goodness of its heart. This has led to brands both big and small to capitalize on this market and provide a variety of eco-friendly measures to ease a troubled conscience.

One of the easier measures a company can take that is eco-friendly is ensuring that their lipsticks are “cruelty-free.” In real terms, this means that the company does not test their products on animals before testing them on people. While this means that the testing procedures themselves are more expensive, it also justifies a higher price tag to eco-conscious consumers. That said, unless the brand is attempting to focus on a niche market or already has plenty of testing for their various formulas already conducted, this is not necessarily likely.

The other form of eco-conscious manufacturing that goes into lipstick these days is carefully controlled ingredients. On its surface, this seems like it would actually be the more popular of the two eco-conscious methods considering there are generally enough potential ingredients that are similar enough in application that a company could simply switch one out for another. However, due to the economies of scale and buying in bulk, a brand is more likely to use a non-vegan product for all of their lipsticks simply because it keeps production costs lower.

Conclusion

conclusionIn the end, the best matte lipstick will often come down to what whether you are willing to put up with some negative qualities to get the longest lasting results. Keep in mind, this often means that you will either need to accept some less than desirable ingredients or other features of the lipstick that you may otherwise dislike.

If pure overall quality is what you are looking for, then you would be hard-pressed to find a better matte lipstick than the Lime Crime Valentine’s collection. This matte lipstick provides some of the best-staying power with a lip staining quality that ensures even if the lipstick fades a bit, it will not do so egregiously or unevenly.

Of course, many people appreciate the rich color saturation of matte lipsticks but do not want to go as bold as most lineups present. To fill this more modest niche, the NARS matte lipstick provides a semi-matte finish that is intended to be used as a nude lipstick as well. On top of that, the color saturation is great for a nude while the sheen finish makes your lips pop a little more than normal.

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