A Guide to MAC Lipsticks: How to Choose A MAC Lipstick!

For many of us, shopping at MAC can be extremely intimidating, given the expansive layout of the various products, tools, and promotional material for special edition collections. In particular, if you are unfamiliar with the brand, successfully making an informed purchase at MAC can prove to be quite the challenge. 

After answering numerous questions from friends and family members on this topic, I have decided to share my acquired insight on MAC lipsticks to all of you interested beauties. 

Price: As of 2015, the worldwide standard price of MAC lipsticks within the permanent line is 16USD. The price will therefore vary within countries when foreign currency conversation rates and international shipping and taxes are included.  Lipsticks contained in limited edition collections are usually priced upwards of 17.50USD.

Colour Range: MAC lipsticks range from a spectrum of colors, including nudes, corals, pinks, reds and berries. The color selection that they offer is virtually limitless, as each shade has a distinctive undertone (warm, cool or neutral), making MAC lipsticks a favorite amongst makeup artists. What is unique however, is that each lipstick comes in varying formulas which distinguishes the characteristic of the lipstick and influences its finish, texture, application and how well it wears on the lips.

Finishes: In total MAC creates lipsticks in thirteen (yes, thirteen!) different finishes. In it’s permanent line, these include ten (10) selections which ranges from a finish of Retro Matte to Glaze. Retro Matte is the most pigmented but least comfortable to wear as it has a tendency to be dying on the lips. In contrast, the Glaze finish is exceptionally hydrating but least pigmented in terms of its color pay off and longevity. As such, as you move along the spectrum of finishes, there is a trade-off between pigmentation and hydration. 

Retro Matte:

MAC's Retro Matte lipsticks give the most opaque coverage but least hydration amongst all other finishes. The pigmentation is exceedingly high in this formula, making it the most long wearing. As a result of its lack of hydration, it proves to be a bit difficult to apply and may drag against the lips, resulting in a blotchy application.  The Retro Matte lipsticks were inspired by cult favorite Ruby Woo (a favorite of Rihanna), and includes popular shades such as RiRi Woo (LE), Ruby Woo and Dangerous.

  •  Intense pigmentation
  • Long wear
  • Drying formula
  • Difficult to apply
 Retro Matte: RiRi Woo

Retro Matte: RiRi Woo

Matte:

The Matte finishes that MAC creates are just a tad more hydrating than the Retro Mattes. These lipsticks wear for around 6-8 hours depending on the activities in which the wearer engages, making them highly comparable to the Retro Matte finishes in terms of longevity. These possess no shimmer, giving a completely flat finish with intense colour payoff. Best selling Matte shades include Please Me and Lady Danger

  • Intense pigmentation
  • Long wear
  • Drying formula
  • Difficult to apply
  Matte, From Left: Ablaze (LE), Velvet Teddy, Viva Glam i,  All Fired Up, Please Me

Matte, From Left: Ablaze (LE), Velvet Teddy, Viva Glam i, All Fired Up, Please Me

Satin:

Satin finishes offer a high concentration of colour but with a slightly moisturizing texture. The colour payoff is still opaque with a hint of sheen but no shimmer. The application is therefore easier than the previously mentioned finishes with more comfortable wear. In my experience, these last from 4-6 hours, depending on weather conditions and activities. Myth, Rebel and MAC Red are all popular shades in this category.

  • High pigmentation
  • Long –moderate wear
  • Comfortable formula
  • Easy to apply
  Satin, From Left Top: Via Glam Nicki, Sushi Kiss, Mocha, Twig  Satin, From Left Bottom, Rebel, Private Party, Captive

Satin, From Left Top: Via Glam Nicki, Sushi Kiss, Mocha, Twig
Satin, From Left Bottom, Rebel, Private Party, Captive

Amplified:

Mac's Amplified finishes are just what the name describes- Amplified! These offer intense pigmentation similar to Matte finishes, but without the drying effect. The formula is slightly creamier than Satin finishes, which gives these lipsticks a slight sheen. The Amplified finishes can wear for as long as four (4) hours. Popular shades in the Amplified finish are Show Orchid and Full Fuchsia.   

  • Bold pigmentation
  • Moderate wear
  • Comfortable formula
  • Easy to apply
  • Best accompanied with lip liner
     

Amplified Crème:

Like the Amplified finish, Amplified Crème finishes offer a high amount of pigmentation and decent level of hydration. the main difference between the two in my experimentation is that the Amplified Cremes are designed with a creamier texture.  Because of the creamy texture and intensity of colour, in my experience, I have found that after several hours of wear these finishes tend to feather.  To prevent this, I almost always accompany these finishes with a good quality lip liner before application. This formula provides a decent colour payoff with moderate longevity and a slightly glossy finish. Popular shades include Girl About Town and Vegas Volt (personal faves of mine!).

  • Bold pigmentation
  • Moderate lasting power
  • Slightly creamy formula
  • Easy to apply
  • Best accompanied with lip liner.
  Amplified Creme, From Left:   Vegas Volt, Girl About Town, Chatterbox

Amplified Creme, From Left: Vegas Volt, Girl About Town, Chatterbox

Cremesheen:

Creemesheen finishes are said to be the most popular finish that the brand offers. These lipsticks are formulated with an intensely creamy texture that is highly moisturizing on the lips, with a decent level of pigmentation. The colour intensity of these lipsticks is still high, although not as full-coverage as the aforementioned. The creamy texture results in a soft shine with a slightly glossy finish. These tend to wear for a moderate time frame, and as such may need to be reapplied frequently. Some popluar shades in this finish include Creme Cup, Ravishing, Speak Louder and Lickable.

  • Good pigmentation
  • Creamy formula
  • Comfortable wear
  • Easy to apply
  • Glossy finish
  • Short-Moderate lasting power
  Cremesheen: Fanfare

Cremesheen: Fanfare

Since my love of lipsticks is limited to shades with intense colour payoff and little to no shine, my experience with the subsequent formulas is very limited. I have however swatched and played around with shades in each category, and have done my fair share of research to give what I hope will be a well-rounded review.

Lustre:

Lustre finishes offer limited pigmentation with a creamy texture, and as such, they do not wear very long on the lips. These lipsticks are sheer and have a glossy finish. In terms of colour pay off, it does offer more pigmentation than Glaze and Frost finishes. Popular shades in the Lustre finish include, Flamingo, Plumful and Pastisserie.  

  • Sheer pigmentation
  • Creamy formula
  • Comfortable wear
  • Easy to apply
  • Glossy finish
  • Short lasting power
  Luster: Flamingo

Luster: Flamingo

Frost

Frost formulas are highly comparable to Lustre finishes, however these offer added shimmer, giving them a “Frosty” finish. Like Lustre formulas, Frost finishes have a creamy consistency with decent pigmentation, although slightly lower than what the Lustre formulas provide. The most popular lipstick in the Frost category is the infamous Angel lipstick that was the old favourite of Kim Kardashian. 

  • Sheer pigmentation
  • Creamy formula
  • Comfortable wear
  • Easy to apply
  • Shimmer finish
  • Short lasting power

Glaze:

Finally, the Glaze formulas are the least pigmented but most moisturizing of all MAC lipsticks. These offer a subtle hint of colour with a highly glossy finish. These lipsticks are therefore ideal for those who adore lip gloss, as it offers the pigmentation of a lipstick with the finish of a gloss. Some shades include Hue and Pervette.

  • Sheer pigmentation
  • Creamy formula
  • Comfortable wear
  • Easy to apply
  • Glossy finish
  • Short lasting power

My apologies for the long post, but I wanted to make this guide as comprehensive as I possibly could. Hopefully this info can assist you in having more fun and less panic at your next trip to MAC. Have fun beauties, and keep on shinning! 

-xoxo
SKINI TRINI