This time last year, we couldn’t have predicted that face masks would become such a staple in our daily wardrobes. (I’m talking about face coverings rather than skincare, naturally.) However, despite the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, it’s safe to assume that they’re going to be sticking around for a while longer, which is why it’s no surprise that long-lasting lipsticks are big news right now. After all, covering up shouldn’t mean forgoing the joys of makeup. As well as championing the return of colour to our makeup bags, experts are pretty much unanimous about matte lips being one of the major beauty trends for 2021.
“Due to masks being worn pretty much on a constant, matte lipsticks have made their comeback,” confirms Rebecca Moore, Nars senior makeup artist. “The only battle with this is finding the balance of long-wearing lipstick without drying the lip out.”
The solution? A whole wave of innovative new formulations that offer up that trending shine-free look and long-lasting finish without compromising on colour. Trust me. Matte lipsticks are back—but not as you used to know them.
Leading the charge when it comes to this new approach to long-wear lipsticks is Nars with its Air Matte Lip Colours. “It’s a completely different texture from anything we’ve done before,” explains Moore. “The soft and airy feel helps for comfortable wear, whilst the application process is super creamy, gliding onto the lip for a lightweight and hydrated touch.” However, if a full-on lip look really isn’t your bag—especially after many of us ditched makeup altogether over the last few months—then Moore suggests layering a gloss or balm over your matte lip for a more pared-back finish. “This is great to get more hydration to your lips but without the worry of the transfer when wearing masks,” Moore explains. Keep scrolling for the five long-lasting lipsticks that I’ve been wearing on rotation along with a shopping list of my other favourite formulations. There are so many I love right now.
This is, undoubtedly, one of the best matte lipsticks that I’ve ever tried. The texture is so velvety and lightweight. Once you’ve applied it, you won’t even remember that you’re wearing anything—there’s none of the dryness that can come with more traditional matte lipsticks. Even better, once it’s on, it genuinely sticks around all day. You can drink, eat, kiss (if they’re in your social bubble, of course), and this stuff isn’t going anywhere. Moore tells me that the shade I’m wearing here, Shag, “is going to be one of the best-selling shades, as it’s a beautiful pinky nude that will suit everyone.” I wholeheartedly agree.
Traditionally, I like my matte lipsticks to be one thing and one thing only: red. So I was genuinely surprised at how much I liked this ’90s-style neutral from Instagram-favourite makeup brand Morphe. Colour aside, though (this lipstick formula comes in 20 shades spanning the colour spectrum), this is a brilliant long-wearing lipstick at an affordable price point. It’s full coverage and lasts for hours without any touch-ups required. Also, despite the Mega Matte name, I actually found this to have a pleasantly creamy finish, which gives it widespread appeal.
This is definitely going to be my summer lipstick of choice—a fiery orange-red that makes me feel instantly cheery. One of the things I like most about this L’Oréal number is the slanted, crayon-style applicator tip that allows you to easily trace the edge of your lips for a precise line before scribbling in the rest with colour. It contains jojoba oil and vitamin E to keep your lips feeling supple and conditioned throughout the day without compromising on that classic matte finish.
When I spoke to Dominic Skinner, global senior artist at MAC, for the spring beauty trends report this year, he couldn’t stop raving about these new liquid lipsticks from MAC. I have to say, the hype was well and truly justified. I was a little nervous that something with “powder” in the name would instantly suck all of the moisture from my lips, but the mousse-like texture is actually incredibly moisturising. This would probably be my pick for anyone feeling a little nervous about embracing matte lipsticks because the hourglass-shaped applicator makes it easy to apply and almost diffuses the colour out at the edges of your lips for a more laid-back finish.
It comes as no surprise that the master of classic red lipsticks has managed to move with the times when it comes to new-generation long-wear lipsticks. Described by the brand as a “second skin,” the Rouge Allure Ink Fusion lipsticks are ultra-fine in texture, meshing with your lips for a natural finish that lasts all day. I can apply this before work and barely give it a second thought until it comes to removing it at night, and I’m definitely in love with this classic shade of pillar-box red. Bravo, Chanel.
A creamy matte lipstick that stays in place while locking in moisture so that your lips never feel dry.
If you don’t want to spend tons on a long-lasting lipstick, then I can’t recommend this one from Maybelline enough. The colour is just as vibrant at the start of the day as it is at the end. Seriously, there is no fade.
A liquid lipstick with a moisturising formula that can be layered up, depending on how intense you want the pigment.
Not only does this lipstick look incredibly chic, but it also provides long-wearing colour that truly doesn’t smudge or feather—exactly what you want from a classic red. Even better, this new formulation is made with an animal-friendly carmine replacement that Hourglass calls Red 0, so it’s vegan, too.
Containing vitamin E and avocado oil, this liquid lipstick manages to be both deeply hydrating and totally budge-proof. I have multiple shades in my collection that I always come back to.
Sustainable lipstick brand Highr offers up vegan, cruelty-free lipsticks that promise six hours of wear. I’d argue that they stick around even longer, though, leaving behind a pretty stain effect, even after all those nourishing plant oils have worn off.
This skinny lipstick makes application effortless. The colour is intense and long-lasting, yet it is lightweight on the lips and feels so conditioning.
A modern approach to matte lips, this Plush Paint can be applied on lips, cheeks and eyelids for velvety colour wherever you want it. Non-drying and soft in texture, it’s a fun yet low-maintenance addition to your makeup bag.
Proving that you don’t have to spend enormous amounts to find a matte lipstick that actually lasts, this affordable option from Lottie London glides on and stays put. Simple.
When I first tried these gel-like lipsticks from BareMinerals, I was dubious that they would live up to the eight-hour-wear claim because they are so lightweight and creamy. However, they absolutely deliver, drying down to a long-lasting matte finish that keeps lips hydrated. Up next, 15 Affordable Beauty Products That Are Just as Good as These Expensive Ones