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Of all the makeup products out there, lipstick certainly holds the title as one of the most if not the most popular products worn daily. With so many finishes, colors, textures, and formulas to choose from, lipstick is an incredibly diverse product that can suit even the pickiest of makeup wearers.
Byrdie Tested & Approved
Matte lipstick trends have grown increasingly popular since the 90s (a trend we are glad stuck around for this long) yet which matte lipstick formulas hold up to the test of being long-lasting and comfortable to wear? If you’ve ever experimented with matte lipstick formulas, you might have found that they felt dry or caused your lips to chap, yet there are so many amazing matte lipstick formulas out there that deliver everything from top-notch color to smooth, hydrated looking lips.
Ahead, our team at Byrdie tested several different matte lipstick formulas at our Manhattan testing lab and found quite a few winners.
Best Overall: MAC Matte Lipstick
Doesn’t bleed or feather
Great color payoff
Feels comfortable on the lips
Tiny bit of transfer
Who else recommends it? The Strategist also picked MAC Matte Lipstick.
What do buyers say? 1,500+ Ulta reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
This is a traditional bullet lipstick that applies smoothly and dries matte. The formula is creamy enough to apply with ease, and if you’re looking for a true matte finish, this is the lipstick to wear. When it comes to application technique you can apply this lipstick straight from the tube or use a lip brush. Across the board, we gave this a five-star rating for comfort, pigment, and wearability. The formula is buildable and has a great color payoff, along with being long-lasting, and comes in right under $20 with a price of $19. There’s a myriad of shades to choose from so you won’t need to worry about finding a suitable color for you.
Shade Range: 30 | Type: Cream | Size: 0.1 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
“This has been one of my go-to everyday lipsticks for years. It's comfortable, stays in place, and I like the more natural color that gives enough pigmentation for my lips to be seen. It's very easy to take off—you just need a clean napkin.” —Alice Sungurov, Product Tester
Best Budget: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream
Extremely comfortable matte formula
This affordable, budget-friendly liquid lipstick gives unreal results for the price. With 30 shades to choose from, several different color offerings cover both natural and bold hues. Equipped with a doe-foot applicator, the application is easy, smooth, and feels very creamy going on the lips. With beautiful pigments, easy application, a nourishing feel, and an affordable price tag, it’s no surprise this particular lipstick is considered a cult favorite amongst professional makeup artists and received a rave review from our experts.
Shade Range: 30 | Type: Liquid | Size: 0.27 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Long Lasting: BLK/OPL Liquid Matte Lipstick
Only need 1 coat for full impact
Stays in place all day
Color is shown on tube
Lips are slightly stained after removal
A high-impact liquid lipstick that comes in a total of 10 shade offerings, you can apply one application of BLK/OPL liquid matte lipstick without the worry of it transferring, due to its incredible staying power. Formulated with advanced polymers and vitamins C and E, the formula applies easily and stays put while keeping lips smooth. Both pigment and wearability were rated at 5 stars, you can also see the color in the tube for ease when trying to pick out the shade that's best for you. Best practices for application are to follow the edge of the lip line with lipstick and then fill in the center, and if you need a more precise shape you can clean up and fill out edges more with a lip liner.
Shade Range: 10 | Type: Liquid | Size: 0.21 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
“This is a true long-lasting lipstick—be prepared for your lips to be a little stained after removal.” —Alice Sungurov, Product Tester
Best Sheer: Glossier Generation G
Feels like a nourishing chapstick formula
Easy to apply
Reapplication is 100% necessary
This lipstick is intended to be matte yet wears more like a tinted chapstick than a full-coverage matte lipstick. The goal was to create a lipstick that has that “just blotted” look without having to blot lips after application. A unique feature of this formula is the lipstick adapts to your natural lip color, so each shade looks a little different on everyone. The formula is also buildable which allows you to have a barely-there finish or something more colorful if that’s what you’re after.
Some unique ingredient callouts are Wax Matrix which combines sunflower and synthetic beeswax which helps give the cushion feeling along with keeping the lipstick itself from breaking, Blue Agave which helps to bind water to the lips, and Safflower Oil which helps to prevent moisture loss in the lips. The highest rating for Glossier Sheer Matte Lipstick is the pigment, and testers did acknowledge how nourishing this formula felt along with being very easy to apply.
Shade Range: 6 | Type: X | Size: 0.1 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
“This is a basic sheer, tinted chapstick like product that aligns with Glossier's brand of enhancing beauty and what you are already working with.” —Latifah Miles, Product Tester
Best with Lip Care: IT Cosmetics Pillow Lips Matte Lipstick
Feels comfortable and moisturizing upon application
Lips look fuller after application
Very pigmented color
Tends to smudge and feather
Not completely matte in finish
This traditional bullet lipstick is available in 14 shades and is infused with collagen to give lips a plumping effect after application, along with high-impact pigment in just one swipe. It feels very moisturizing upon application and lips are noticeably plumper after. Infused with hyaluronic filling spheres, this formula also helps in minimizing the look of fine lines around the mouth and lip area. Pillow Lips come in both matte and cream formulas and you can apply the lipstick right from the tube due to the bullet being designed to hug the curves of your lips and help shape them all at once.
Shade Range: 16 | Type: Cream-based | Size: 0.13 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
- “Loved how moisturizing and creamy this lipstick was! My lips felt hydrated throughout the day.” —Rachel Lee, Product Tester
Best Splurge: Gucci Rouge à Lèvres Mat Matte Lipstick
The matte formula feels conditioning
One coat is enough color
Has a nice weighted applicator
Transfers and needs to be re-applied
With 32 gorgeous shade offerings, this matte lipstick delivers high-impact color along with a nice weighted applicator that presses into the lips with just enough pressure to give a bold finish. Application is quite easy, you can apply right from the tube by using the sharp edge of the bullet and shape with a lip pencil or brush if you want. Each lipstick contains formula-dense pigments for great color payoff and you can also wear the lipstick on cheeks and eyes if you’re looking to create a more monochromatic makeup look, or want to save time by using just one product.
Shade Range: 31 | Type: Cream-based | Size: 0.12 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
“The Gucci matte lipstick was surprisingly creamy and felt really nice going on.” —Latifah Miles, Product Tester
Best For Everyday: Mented Cosmetics Semi Matte Lipstick
Feels like a nourishing chapstick
Has very little pigment for a matte formula
Traditional bullet, the lipstick feels more like a chapstick than a matte lipstick, there is minimal transfer and the formula is more of a sheer matte than one that’s very pigmented, and a nice daily option to wear. With only 9 shade offerings, each color leans more on the natural to neutral scale, there aren’t any bold colors. If you’re looking for the right “nude” lip color, definitely give this product a try. If you need help finding the right nude color for you, there is a 60-second quiz you can take on the website that gives you shade recommendations based on your skin tone.
Shade Range: 9 | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
“This is definitely not the option for a full face beat but it is a nice everyday option that you can slap on without looking in the mirror.” —Latifah Miles, Product Tester
Best Pigment: Patrick Ta Matte Suede Lipstick
Easy, smooth application
Helps to blur for a fuller looking pout
Prone to smudging and feathering
Settles in fine lines
This lipstick comes in 5 shade offerings in a traditional bullet format and is paraben-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and free of sulfates. With a long-lasting extended wear formula, the colors are bold upon application and give full coverage. Formulated with optical diffusers, this lipstick gives a blurred-like finish to lips without feeling overly dry. Patrick Ta believes you don’t need a lot of products every day to create beautiful makeup looks, just the essentials, and that shows in the shade selections and formula of the matte suede lipsticks.
Shade Range: 5 | Size: 0.14 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
“This formula would be great for a night out or a dinner party where you don't want to worry about your lipstick sliding around. Just be aware that it's not as moisturizing as other formulas and it might linger on your lips—even after thoroughly washing your face.” —Katherine Louie, Senior Commerce Editor
Coming in with the highest rating of 4.9/5 stars, MAC Matte Lipstick delivered exceptional results from long-lasting color to comfortable wearability without any kind of feathering, or lips feeling dry. The second highest-rated lipstick was IT Cosmetics Pillow Lips Matte Lipstick with 4.8/5 stars, winning best in lip care along with great color payoff and a noticeable difference in the fullness of lips right after the initial application.
Other Options We Tested
Maybelline Color Sensational The Mattes Lipstick
With more of a glossy finish instead of being matte, this pigmented lipstick ended up having lots of transfer and didn’t wear well throughout the day. The waxy texture feels on the heavier side and you can feel the weight of the lipstick on your lips.
Wet n Wild Catsuit Matte Lipstick
This lipstick goes on as a liquid and dries down quickly and easily. The finish is an extreme matte which can tend to look flat and doesn’t transfer or smudge. The formula felt tight and stiff and felt trying. Since the color is so bold we recommend using a makeup remover to get everything off.
What To Look For in a Matte Lipstick
If a matte finish is what you’re after, it’s important to make sure you’re getting that versus something that is semi-matte or even has a little gloss to it. If you can, test swatches of the lipstick on the back of your hand to see which ones are truly matte before purchasing, or read reviews online of the specific lipstick to see what other consumers have to say.
Is the matte lipstick comfortable to wear throughout the day and night? Does it feel heavy on the lips or do you forget it’s there? This is another scenario where it would be good to read previous reviews of other consumers to see how the lipstick feels. Since matte lipstick can tend to feel dry, it’s important to make sure you choose a formula that has hydrating properties.
Does the lipstick formula feather? Does it flake? Does it cause your lips to chap? All important questions to ask and take note of when looking for a matte lipstick.
What’s the best way to pick out a good matte lipstick?
“I look for a flexible, forgiving formula because nothing is worse than my lipstick crumbling and cracking throughout the day or when I smile," Sewell says. "It's also important to me to have a super-blendable formula because I often blot on just a touch of liquid lipstick, and I always ombre my lip color."
Should you prep with anything before applying matte lipstick?
If lipstick tends to feather or chap your lips, there are a few things you can do before applying matte lipstick to ensure it’s a smooth process. First, exfoliate your lips with a lip scrub to get any dead skin off that might be hanging around. Second, you can use a lip primer before applying the lipstick to keep it on and fresh all day and night.
How should you apply matte lipstick?
Matte lipstick can be applied in a few different ways depending on the formula you’re working with. If you’re using a traditional bullet lipstick you can apply it straight from the tube, the same with a jumbo matte lipstick crayon. Since I am a pro makeup artist when I need to apply liquid matte lipsticks on models at work for a photoshoot, I will put some on a palette and then use a lip brush to blend and apply the lipstick to ensure it’s seamless, and you can also trace your lip line with a pencil if you need some extra guided help for application and shape.
How do you keep lipstick matte all day?
Even if you choose a matte product, you can end up with unwanted shine-through if you don't follow a few simple steps: Exfoliate your lips first, use a lip balm (and be sure to give it time to sink into your skin), and then apply a primer before your matte lipstick. Finish up with a dusting of translucent powder.
How should you remove matte lipstick?
Matte lipsticks can tend to be bolder in color and have more staying power than your traditional cream and sheer formulas. If you don’t want any excess color on the lips, I would suggest removing these with a makeup remover or micellar water type product to make sure everything gets off.
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Did you notice the Byrdie Verified seal of approval at the top of this story? This seal means that our team has researched and tested every product on this list using a unique methodology that’s designed to focus on what our readers really want to know—and to deliver insights that you can’t find anywhere else. Occasionally, beauty brands and PR agencies will send us samples for coverage consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are fully our own. If you visit links within our content, we may receive commissions from your purchases, but we never receive any compensation or consideration for the content of our recommendations. In short, the Byrdie Verified seal stands for product recommendations you can trust.
Why Trust Byrdie
Ashley Rebecca is a professional makeup artist living and working in New York City and specializes in makeup for celebrity, editorial, lifestyle, and commercial advertising work. She is represented by Laird & Good Company, and a monthly contributor to Byrdie.
The Best Mask-Proof Lipsticks, According to Experts. The Strategist. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-mask-proof-lipsticks.html