The 8 Matte Lipsticks That Are In Heavy Rotation For Me This Fall

From Revlon to Chanel, and everything in-between.
Publish date:
December 2, 2013
nars, chanel, lipsticks, mac, Armani, Revlon, Bite Beauty, matte, Ilia, bite, illamasqua

It’s officially fall, and that usually means I bag my dewy products, opting for a more satin or matte finish.

I have always loved a matte lipstick. Glossy can be sexy, of course, but the stickiness, bleeding, fading and messiness has always been a deterrent for me. Glossy, pigmented lipstick during the day? Hell no. I would be consumed by worry that it was escaping my lips' borders or stuck to my teeth. I have a need for lip adornment to be clean, concise and easy.

Obviously, there are downsides to matte lipsticks as well; and if you don’t hydrate before application, don’t even THINK about blaming the lipstick. That’s you, girl.

Mattes can make your lips start to feel parched, so you have to stay on top of that, but it is so worth it. I feel like matte makes your lips look fuller, and the texture sort of mimics your natural lips, so it feels more absorbed, and less fixed on top.

Here are my main squeezes I’m crushing on right now.

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet (I own in La Sompteuse)

Chanel’s take on matte is decidedly modern, coining it "luminous matte." What the f&%$ does that even mean, you're probably asking. It means the formula is matte, but it involves a hearty dose of moistness.

My favorite way to wear this dense, luxurious formula is as a stain. If I swipe across my bottom and top lip, focusing on the middle, it’s all ready for me to take my finger and blend it around to even out. It’s gorgeous in full pigment as well, and still feels soft and silky.

Eating in this will leave you disappointed, as does not withstand the fork and knife dance. That being said, all you need is a little touch up, right? On the flip side, the formula lends itself beautifully to dab on cheeks and eyelids, so feel free to pat it all over your mug.

Illamasqua Color-Intense Lipstick (I own in Sonnett, Fable and Flare)

This mother is dry as a bone, in a tremendous way, and you can’t beat the color selection, ranging from bright orange, to a perfect nude, iridescent violet, black, and everywhere in between.

This heavily pigmented lipstick, I find, is better warmed up a little between thumb and ring finger and then pressed into lips; that way, the creamy heated consistency will blend and soak in better than straight out of the tube.

The key to this formula: BE MOISTURIZED OR PERISH. A glob of Homeoplasmine 10 or so minutes before applying lipstick should do the trick, and make sure there are no slight (or severe) dry skin flakes coming off, as this super-matte will magnify them.

Ilia Lipstick (I own Wild Child)

When I put this lipstick on for the first time, there was genuinely that "holy crap" moment. I knew I would be changed. I heard "Dream Weaver" and thoughts of Wayne and Cassandra came rushing in.

The color and texture are everything I have been looking for in a lipstick for dumb long. Ilia describes it as a "semi matte," so if you are going for matte as a chalkboard, this is not your jam. If you want a pigment-rich, easily buildable, 85% organic lipstick that feels like a BALM, then you, my friend, have come to the right place.

One swipe lends a wash of color, and by adding two more, an opaque look.

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm (I own Striking Spectaculaire)

This is another newly notable that I stumbled upon at Rite Aid. The feeling of this, like Ilia’s, is the bomb (balm). It just feels like your trusty Chapstick, and has that peppermint tingle I jones for, making gum obsolete.

Its thick, crayon-ish bod is perfect for easy application, no liner needed. The first swipe might be a hint splotchy, but one more coat on top with solve that conundrum.

Georgio Armani Lip Maestro (I own in Artdeco and Tibetan Orange)

This lip stain is pretty revolutionary. When I think of stains I usually get flashes of liquidly formulas that you apply and immediately need to rub in or it will stain the part of your skin it’s been sitting on. This lip stain, though, is thick and luxurious, with a velvety, lipstick-like finish.

The only "stain" aspect that it possesses, is when it fades (and it takes a while to), it leaves behind a lovely, lighter stain, that you can touch up with lip balm on top if the spirit moves you.

My favorite way to apply this is with my fingers, but this time, unlike Illamasqua, there’s no need to warm--it’s a liquid already! By using my fingers to press the pigment onto my lips, it gives a really pleasing soft-focus look which I think is really current, and easy to touch up, as opposed to making that sharp outer line with lip liner, but either way works.

MAC Retro Matte Lipstick (I own Sin, Ruby Woo, and Riri Woo):

MAC lipsticks are classic. Reasonably priced, and there’s a shade for everyone. I am forever a fan of Mac products.

The Retro Matte texture applies to the back of my hand like a dream, but I found it pretty drying (and flaking into a less than desirable crust upon multiple reapplications). I would apply one or two layers straight from the tube, after lip liner. WRONG!

Makeup artist Lisa Eldridge stresses the need to apply with a lip brush to get the product deep in the crevasses, instead of sitting on top. She also (and this literally changed my life) says to apply lip liner last after filling in the middle, so you can visualize the shape more precisely instead of drawing some wonky line around where you think the edges of your lips are. GENIUS!

Bite Cashmere Lip Cream (I own in Bordeaux)

I have a feeling this cream-to-powder liquid lipstick is going to be a staple of my fall/winter look. It goes on creamy, and dries to the perfect matte.

Bite’s small batch process lends itself to a ”cream-to-powder delivery system [which] is achieved with an advanced formulation of butters, waxes, and oils that all have different melting and absorption rates”. Scientific!

It contains four times the average level of pigments which means it comes off as bold with a capital B. Plus, Bordeaux is the most delicious of burgundies for the perfect fall hue.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (I own Mysterious Red, Red Square, Cruella, and Paimpol)

This luxe crayon is ridiculously easy to apply, no liner needed. Ever. It’s super-matte, pigment-rich, and boasts some amazing colors (and many different red incarnations, yay!).

This was my first matte lipstick, and is one (or many) of the colors forever in my makeup rotation. It goes on smooth, and STAYS on (even through eating). Saying I love it wouldn’t even do it justice.

What are your favorite matte formulas?