I'm Losing Interest in My Go-To Matte Lip Colors and I Don't Know Who I Am Anymore

Sometimes it feels like you’re searching for your own face in your drawer of beauty products.
Publish date:
May 25, 2016
mac, nars, maybelline, lip colors, colour pop, liquid lipstick

Two things:

Lately, I’ve been interested in not only what people are wearing, but why people are wearing them. That includes you guys, of course. New products are great and trends are fun to fuck around with, but everyone has their standby products that they’re going to be using no matter what's trending at the time, and using them in their own certain way.

Don’t get me wrong — the personal aspect plays into everything I do when I cover beauty. I mean, Jesus, look at the way I write. BUT I guess I just find real people’s beauty routines more fascinating than, I don’t know, the Kardashians'.

That, and for the past month or two, I’ve been moving away from my usual game when it comes to lip colors, and it's sort of freaking me out. I always reach for liquid mattes when I want to pop on a lip because of the precision, the pigmentation, and the staying power, etc. But every time I’ve slapped one on lately, it hasn’t been right. I love to tell myself that I'm fearless and can pull off anything, until I realize that there is an end to my comfort zone, and then I don't know quite what to do.

Beauty can change how we feel as quickly and as drastically as it can change how we look, you know?

I was getting ready to go out with all my guys last weekend, and I went to throw on a lip before I ran out the door. I grabbed a blackened red liquid and carefully applied until it was perfect.

Except it wasn’t right. I don’t wear reds. What was I thinking?

Then I grabbed for a darker nude — it was either something by MAC or Dolce K, I can’t remember. That wasn’t right either, and it wasn’t helped by the fact that I couldn’t really see the actual color thanks to my horrible bathroom lighting (I much prefer to do my makeup in natural light, but the sun had already set).

I think I settled on Catnip, one of the new Anastasia liquids. The berry-nude was exactly what I was looking for: kind of pink, kind of warm, kind of nude. It's a color as indecisive as I am.

Truth be told, the finish still wasn’t exactly right, but I went with it because I knew I’d be drinking that night and I didn’t want to worry about it transferring and having to reapply it, and if I ended up drinking too much, I wanted to know my lip would still look flawless even if I was a stumbling mess (which I was not, thank you very much).

I’m sure this is all riveting information for you, my lovely reader, but it was one of those reminders that putting on makeup is always so much more than just putting on makeup. And I’m not trying to say picking a lip color is picking who I want to be, or that ~lipstick is my armor~ or all that other shit. But sometimes it feels like you’re searching for your own face in your drawers of beauty products.

I’ve had this face for 28 years. I know what products work with my lifestyle, what colors look best. Maybe not even what colors “look best” on me, but what colors I like the best. That’s what’s important; I know what makes me feel good.

But that doesn’t look right anymore — right now, at least. You know what I mean? As much of a pain as it is when your old standbys aren't doing it for you anymore, it can be just as exciting because it's easier to step outside your comfort zone when you're not even sure what your comfort zone is anymore.

I know everyone will tell you to lighten things up in the spring and summer months. Go more pastel, sheer out your makeup, lighten your foundation, but I am the last person on earth that would ever opt to soften my look in any way. Even if I wanted to, the nails and the hair are a standard, so I tend to stand out a little even when I'm completely barefaced.

But back to my lip crisis.

I’ve never seen the point in “sheer” anything. If you’re gonna wear something, then wear it — that’s how I’ve always felt, at least. Until now, where I’m moving away from dark purples, grayed-out lavenders, and blackened reds, and opting for sheered-out berries or juicy pinks.

Below is a little more what I'm feeling lately. It's MAC's Patent Polish Pencil in Fearless tapped into my lips.

Not only am I sick of my old tricks in terms of color, but finish, too. I love a matte lip — how light reflects off your skin but comes full stop when it comes to your lips — but maybe that’s not for me at the moment.

It’s not that I want to be more subtle or have the lip color be less noticeable. It’s just that, with a big bold matte lip, it’s definitely a look. This can work in your benefit when you’re hungover or on no sleep. Paint on a crisp, chiseled lip, and bam, people think you spent hours doing your makeup when you really just pulled yourself out of a venti black coffee. Been there.

On the other hand, a lip that isn’t the focal point of your face can make everything a little more cohesive. Most of the time, I want my makeup to let the world know that I’m out for blood, but maybe not always.

So how am I getting around this? Hell if I know. I’ve always hated on sheer lipsticks so I only own two (and I use them for blush, at that), but — I’ve been taking matte lipsticks and just haphazardly tapping them on until I get a flush of color.

Below, I tapped a thin layer Maybelline's Lust For Blush Vivid Matte into my lips and rubbed it, forsaking even coverage.

Not having to get a perfectly outlined ~pout~ feels pretty freeing. Since you know it’s not going to be perfect, you can just do whatever the hell you want. I’ll usually reach for a MAC matte and then just go wild, or a dab a bit of a NARS Audacious on top of a balm, like I did below.

Those aren't matte, but they’re hydrating enough to wear beautifully no matter how you layer them. Oh, and the NARS Matte Lip Pencils are basically made for this weird color crisis I’m having.

Also, have you guys tried the new ColourPop MatteX lipsticks? Because those motherfuckers are the truth. I'm wearing Cami below.

I love ColourPop, you know this, blah blah blah, but I would venture to say that they’re one of the smoothest and most comfortable matte lipsticks that I’ve ever used. They don’t feel like a typical matte lipstick; they’re insanely creamy and give you full coverage with no drag whatsoever, and the slanted bullet is shaped so that, if you play your cards right, you don’t have to line it to get a perfectly traced lip.

ColourPop is great, but I tried these and was like “Oh. Oh.” And that’s my review. If you even remotely like matte lips, you’d be stupid not to cop at least one of these. THEY’RE FIVE DOLLARS.

So it looks like it's gonna be a sheer summer for me. What about you? What types of finishes do you prefer, what happens when you don't anymore? Walk me through it below.

Tynan is spiraling on Twitter @TynanBuck.