MAC The Matte Lip Collection: Many of These Lipsticks Are Stars, But They Don’t Shine Like Them

Published in: Collections, Lips, MAC Makeup

mac the matte lip collection

Ten-hut! 14 of 22 lipsticks in the upcoming MAC The Matte Lip collection ($16 each, coming to the MAC website starting May 28, and to MAC stores and counters June 11)

Many of the matte lipsticks in the new MAC The Matte Lip collection are new, but daaaaaang! — some of the shades sure do look like they jumped out of my hot tub time machine circa 1994.

Like dark brown Antique Velvet? I’m pretty sure I wore something just like it…to every Friday night house party I ever went to.


And just in case you’re wondering…yes, I was that person at the party who was standing uncomfortably in the corner and nursing the same bottle of Zima the entire evening. #datingmyself

All of the $16 lipsticks in the new 22-piece MAC The Matte Lip collection are matte (obvs), with about half of them having MAC’s Matte finish, and the other half their Retro Matte finish, but they aren’t all new. A handful of them are currently available in the permanent line and are being re-promoted here with the launch (like Ruby Woo, All Fired Up, Flat Out Fabulous, Velvet Teddy, Kinda Sexy, Please Me, Heroine and Pink Pigeon).

But most of the 22 shades are new, which is very exciting! Also, technically, this isn’t a MAC collection in the traditional limited edition sense, as all of the colors are either in the permanent line now, or being added to it.

You may still see some familiar names among the batch of new colors as well, though, like Whirl and Stone. Both are currently in MAC’s Lip Pencil line, so if you’re a fan of either one, voila! Now there are matching matte lipstick shades.


The MAC Mattes vs. the Retro Mattes

Both of the matte finishes represented in the collection are flat, meaning that they shine very little, or not at all, on the lips, but the finishes aren’t the same. The Retro Mattes are more intensely matte than their regular Matte counterparts — extremely flat — and they’re almost like wearing a matte lip pencil.

I think the Retro Mattes also feels drier and thinner than the regular Mattes do, which feel a little “wet” and dense/thick to me.

Oh! — and when I wear the Retro Mattes, I feel like my vertical lip lines are front and center, more so than when I wear the regular Mattes.

As for the colors themselves, what if you refuse to embrace your inner ’90s brown lipstick-loving babe? Does that mean you absolutely won’t like this collection?

No, not necessarily… You don’t have to look like you lived and loved in the era that gave birth to floral spaghetti-strap dresses and baby tees to find something to like in MAC The Matte Lip. ๐Ÿ™‚ In addition to the old-school shades, the release also includes some very fashion-forward colors, like deep royal blue Matte Royal, as well as some sweet pinks like Please Me, and several bold, brash brights like purple Heroine and bluish red Ruby Woo.

Here are pics and swatches of 14 of the 22 shades…

mac the matte lip collection

Babe, I’m matte about you!

mac the matte lip collection

From the left: Dangerous, Runway Hit, Steady Going, Matte Royal, Instigator, Antique Velvet and Stone

mac the matte lip collection

Studded Kiss, Persistence, Whirl, Naturally Transformed, Men Love Mystery, D for Danger and Pink Pigeon

It’s all about dat prep life

Yeah…both of these matte finishes can be a little challenging to wear because they like to draw attention to every little flake, crack, vertical lip line and imperfection.

At least that’s the case for me and my textured (code word for “flaky”) lips, so I think it definitely helps to lay the groundwork the night before by exfoliating, and then loading up on lip balm before bed.

Then, first thing in the morning after you wash your face, slather even more lip balm on your lips…and drink 10 gallons of water.

OK, maybe not 10 gallons. ๐Ÿ™‚ That would be too much.

But do drink some extra water. I know it sounds crazy, but I swear that it helps cut down on the flakes.

When I do both of these things either regularly or at least the night before, these mattes are easier to pull off, and my lips look and feel smoother.

Drink plenty of water, go overboard with balm, and when you wear these mattes, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous lips and a killer wear time, because since these aren’t as creamy as other finishes, they last. Seriously, I can eat meals — MEALS, plural — with these mattes on my lips, and they will not budge. I’m talking six or seven hours, easily.

mac the matte lip collection

MAC The Matte Lip swatches from the left: Dangerous, Runway Hit, Steady Going, Matte Royal, Instigator, Antique Velvet and Stone

mac the matte lip collection

MAC The Matte Lip swatches from the left: Studded Kiss, Persistence, Whirl, Naturally Transformed, Men Love Mystery, D for Danger and Pink Pigeon

I’d say go for one of the regular Mattes if you want something more comfortable and easier to wear.

Look for these on the MAC website starting May 28, and at MAC stores and counters June 11.

(The) MAC The Matte Lip collection includes…

  • Lipstick in Ruby Woo — a vivid blueish red with a Retro Matte finish
  • All Fired Up — a bright fuchsia with a Retro Matte finish
  • Flat Out Fabulous — a bright plum with a Retro Matte finish
  • Dangerous — an orangey red with a Retro Matte finish
  • Runway Hit — a light nude with a Retro Matte finish
  • Steady Going — a light pink with a Retro Matte finish
  • Matte Royal — a deep blue with a Matte finish
  • Instigator — a deep blackened plum with a Matte finish
  • Antique Velvet — an intense brown with a Matte finish
  • Stone — a muted grayish taupe-brown with a Matte finish
  • Studded Kiss — a dark oxblood red with a Matte finish
  • Persistence — a peachy cinnamon with a Matte finish
  • Velvet Teddy — a deep beige with a Matte finish
  • Whirl — a dirty rose with a Matte finish
  • Naturally Transformed — a muted golden beige with a Matte finish
  • Kinda Sexy — a neutral pinkish rose with a Matte finish
  • Please Me — a muted rosy pink with a Matte finish
  • Tropic Tonic — a full power coral with a Matte finish
  • Heroine — a bright purple with a Matte finish
  • Men Love Mystery — a lavender violet with a Matte finish
  • D for Danger — a brick red with a Matte finish
  • Pink Pigeon — a bright clean pink with a Matte finish

Hey, shorty, it’s yo’ birthday!

Via Byrdie Girl Custom Cakes

Obviously, this is my dream birthday cake. Via Byrdie Girl Custom Cakes

My birthday is right around the corner now (June 9), and I’m still feeling kind of funny about it…

Not funny “ha-ha” but, well…more like “funny because I’m not sure what to make of it.” I have mixed feelings.

I mean, I’m happy to be making it to 40 at all, because some people don’t, and part of me wants to do it up! — but then another part of me just wants to crawl under the covers and hide. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m sure the day will come and go, and everything will be fine, but I feel like there’s a lot of weight attached to 40.


Hmm… I’m probably overthinking it.

Yeah, probably.

Anyway! When’s your birthday? Any other Geminis out there?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 48 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. breyerchic04 says:

    Whirl looks like a great choice, and I need to see how much Men Love Mystery compares to Up the Amp, but I’m probably sold!

  2. Rebecca says:

    I like this collection – I feel like it’s a bit of a nod to the colourful MAC brand that drew me in to MAC back in the day. Of course these days I’m 20 years older and slightly more inclined to wear neutrals and a red lip!
    Rebecca recently posted … So, the Ironbornโ€ฆ where are they again?

  3. Icequeen81 says:

    Studded Kiss and D for Danger

  4. Laarni says:

    ohmygulayyyy! this collection excites me!

  5. Elena says:

    I love the look of Stone and Antique Velvet. I haven’t bought anything from MAC in awhile… Sometimes they have so many launches it is a little overwhelming!

  6. Charisma says:

    I want to try Men Love Mystery. I love matte lipsticks. My birthday is also June 9!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Divya says:

    I’d love to see what whirl is like in person! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Divya recently posted … Things Iโ€™ll Never Be Without

  8. Julia Alkaseltzer says:

    It’s good to know that these can last through meals. I always giggle at myself whenever I check up on lipstick after a meal, and I swear food can be the most natural lipstick remover.

    My birthday is in December, but I turn 30 next year and that age has weight on it too, doesn’t it? Maybe I’ll party it up in Vegas or something ๐Ÿ˜€ An trip to the Caribbean as a sort of island getaway would be pretty grand too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. @PinkLacedPoppy says:

    I am a Gemini as well! June 5th! Hubby is too and his mom is same day as yours hahah. We are a Gemini studded family affair here

  10. Lily says:

    Wow! All those color are gorgeous! Are lip swatches coming soon:)
    Lily recently posted … Lifestyle ~ African American Ethnic Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery) Day 17 – Day 20

  11. Tulipthecat says:

    I want men love mystery and whirl. My aunt likes dark red so I might get her d for danger

  12. May says:

    I am a Gemini too!! Last week of May. My mum, cousin, granny, grandma, aunt, and future sis-in-law are also gemini. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Hugs from the Great Up North!

  13. Meredith says:

    Gemini here too. June 19th. Turning 35 this year. Kinda have mixed feelings about that too.

  14. Charisma says:

    Hey Karen,

    Advance happy 40th. You don’t look like your age though. Blame it on the Filipino genes! My list (subject to change since I love mattes and retromattes): Stone, Persistence, Tropic Tonic, Men love mystery and Whirl of course (love the liner version).
    Charisma recently posted … Guerlain Meteorites Rainbow Pearls Illuminating Powder Reviews, Photos w/ Swatches

  15. Pavithra says:

    Whirl looks like something I’d love to be able to pull off, but will end up being too light for me. D For Danger though ..

    Karen, I hope you plan on celebrating, taking a vacation or doing whatever makes you most happy on your birthday! On my birthday this year, I asked my husband to get me the spiciest Indian food he could find from the South Bay. I have such happy memories of that day now :).
    Pavithra recently posted … Balmy, Pigmented goodness โ€“ MACโ€™s Huggable Lip Colors

  16. tirurit says:

    I am so excited about this collection! Not only are there some very interesting and even unusual shades in it, but they are permanent. That means that all those containers I have been saving for an eventual b2m will finally make their final trip to the store.
    tirurit recently posted … Dipping my toes into La Roche Posay: an acid and a serum

  17. Rhia says:

    I don’t plan on purchasing anything from this collection, but glad to see they finally put out a lipstick version of Whirl. It’s one of my favorite lip liners.

  18. You made a typo, Karen. You wrote 40. Surely that should be 25.


    I wonder how Whirl would look on me!
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | e.l.f. Pressed Mineral Blush in Cabo Cabana

  19. Jax says:

    Panic Ye not about 40
    1) You really don’t look your age, I’d kill to have you skin!
    2) It’s a silly milestone anyway
    3) You appear to have loads of things in your life to be proud of, that you couldn’t have achieved as a younger person.

    Embrace it, 40 is the new 30 ๐Ÿ˜€

  20. Agata says:

    Some of these shades look really nice! I don’t think I have any Mac matte lipsticks! Of course, I am drawn to Pink Pigeon (although it might be a little too crazy). I also kind of like Men Love Mystery but I am pretty sure it wouldn’t look good on me!

    I think you shouldn’t worry too much about turning 40. 40 is just a number, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of anything! And you’re still a young, strong, beautiful woman!
    Agata recently posted … Inspired By- Dior Tie Dye Summer Collection Makeup Look

  21. Kim says:

    Oh, hey! Happy *almost* birthday. I actually thought that was your cake before reading the caption – that thing is awesome! Ah, 40, schmorty – you look fantabulous. 40 is like the new 20… 9…. ish. HAHA! Seriously, though. 40 is great – you still look amazing, you’re still vibrant and active and energetic and you have all that life experience. Keep rocking it, my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, and you should definitely be rocking that Matte Royal because I’d love to see how it actually looks on someone. My Dad and a good friend of mine are both Gemenis (May b’days) but I’m a Pisces/Aries cusp, with a bit more Aries personality, I think.

  22. Beti says:

    I can’t wait for this collection! I love my lipsticks and I love them matte ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m eyeing Whirl, Stone and Men Love Mystery but I’m sure I’ll end up with more shades :))
    Beti recently posted … Tom Ford 2015 Soleil Collection

  23. Lauren says:

    ZIMA!!!! OH MY GAWWWD! I’m dying laughing! You just brought me back to my youth with that one!!

    I never wear matte lip colors, but I must have whirl and men love mystery!

    40…celebrate the fact that you look like you’re 20, and have an amazingly youthful, fun, beautiful personality!!

  24. Kwmechelle says:

    I finally bought Ruby Woo a month or 2 ago & took it for a spin a couple days last week. I totally thought my lips would hate it because they’re super dry but proper exfoliation & balm is the trick. And I actually love it & got compliments on it. Now that I think about it, I got that lippie as a B2M because I figured if I didn’t like it, at least it was free :). Also, I’m really digging Matte Royal since it’s kinda close to Gunner, which I missed out on & can’t find at my local CCO. Excited to play with it when this line gets released. Oh, I’m a Capricorn, Dec 23rd, almost Christmas baby ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Dolon says:

    Namaste fellow Gemini. Mine is on June 6th ๐Ÿ˜€ And I’m crushing on Whirl and Instigator!

  26. Lulle says:

    D for Danger looks so beautiful, I really want it. It’s good that it’s permanent because I don’t really enjoy getting up before dawn to catch LE products!
    Stone also looks kind of cool, I think I’ll try it in a store when I have a chance.
    Lulle recently posted … Rimmel London Scandaleyes: the Mascara by Kate Moss

  27. I am Aquarius, but I know the weight attached to turning 40.
    Have you watched “When Harry met Sally”? There is one scene where she is crying because her ex is getting married and having a baby, and she just bursts out: “And there it is, waiting for me in a dark corner, and it is going to get me!” I am not sure if she is talking about the 30 or the 40 there, but as that was in the 80ies and 40 is the new 30 and all that jazz…
    I feel you.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … If it hurts, it works – Sunday Riley Good Genes

  28. Kalli says:

    Another Gemini in the house! Mine’s on the 19th and I’ll be turning 31. I have a couple of girlfriends and all our birthdays fall within about 10 days of each other (13th, 19th and 22nd, although we were born in different years), so I think we’re going to plan something together.

    As for the lipsticks, I already own Heroine, Ruby Woo and something very similar to Flat Out Fabulous, but Men Love Mystery looks gorg and Whirl & Stone look really interesting!
    Kalli recently posted … MAC Candy Yum Yum for All Your Neon Pink Dreams

  29. Nicole says:

    Happy early birthday bae! 40 may seem like a hard retro matte pill to swallow, but the best part of turning 40 is not looking it, and you don’t!

  30. gabis says:

    Not really feeling these new colors. Still I’m happy enough with the fact that they are making successful shades/finishes into the permanent line ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Lisa says:

    Woot! Woot! Fellow Gemini here on May 25th!! I’ll be 39!

  32. Zovesta says:

    Dangerous and Antique Velvet stole my heart. <3 But not my wallet yet.

    40 honestly isn't very old… you're still a young thang. =P Go crazy, it's almost your birthday!

  33. Astrid says:

    Hi Karen
    I’m a Gemini as well!!! Mineโ€™s on the same day, june 9th and Iโ€™ll be turning 30!!!!!!!!
    I’m super excited and I do not look as gorgeous as you!!! enjoy it!!! Anyway i’m looking whirl and stone, that grayish lipstick look interesting. I’ll love to see the lip swatch.
    Advance happy 40th!!!

  34. Krista says:

    Gemini here also!!! My birthday is actually May 22..tomorrow!!! Happy early birthday to you!!
    Krista recently posted … Current Favorites + Mini Reviews & Swatches–May 2015

  35. Donna says:

    I love the Browns, whirl, stone, and the blue! Although mattes are beginning to not look so good on me, I will still buy a few. I’m so glad that they’re perm, tho.
    As for 40, for the most part it was a good age for me. The only bad thing that I remember was my metabolism seemed to screech to a halt. I went up 2 pant sizes in 1 year and could never lose it. Nothing else changed in my looks, though. That happened at 50, so enjoy the next 10 years! Be good to your body, though, don’t sit at the computer for too long! I had back problems in my early 40’s, probably from sitting at a computer all day. Do whatever you want/feel like for your bday, enjoying it is all that counts. Remember to kiss Tabs.

  36. Chantelle says:

    Happy Birthday in advance! Im a Gemini (yay) and my birthday is this week. May 28th. Im pretty excited especially for all the lovely gifts ๐Ÿ˜›
    I cant wait for the lippies to hit the stores cause that Instigator looks like it has my name on it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  37. Happy Birthday! I am so excited for Stone! MAC Lipsticks tend to be a bit drying on me, but I will probably purchase this one anyway because I love the color so much. Great Swatches:)

  38. Rebecca says:

    I think MAC might have hit the nail on the head with this one. I haven’t bought anything from them in awhile except lipsticks. Looks like there is something for everyone. Whirl is going to sell out fast.

  39. Nikia says:

    I love a Matte lip!! I decided to get the Man Love Mystery Lipstick, I wanted some of the nudes, but wasn’t sure on my skin tone. I would have to see some other swatches on the lips as well.

    Great Post!

  40. Elle says:

    lol!! Zima..

  41. Majick says:

    I’m really loving some of these colors and will probably have to indulge at some point. I’m just glad they aren’t LE.

    40? I got my naval pierced for my 40th. I think it was the best birthday of my life. I finally felt like I could play with the “big” girls; and, I can now use my favorite line from Mame when someone askes my age, “…somewhere between forty and death.” LMAO

    You’re just a tyke in my eyes, try 55 and not feel a CRUNCH! GAH! lol

  42. I 100% agree with you that Matte Lipsticks are here to stay. The key is to find the right shade that works for you as well as the occasion. Matte lipsticks can be drying so you are 100% on point with the tip to condition before hand. There was a time you could not pay me to wear a mattelipstick. I LOVE them especially because of the no transfer and long wear, perfect for speaking engagements! Great post!
    Tamira Hamilton recently posted … How to Flawlessly Apply Motives Foundation

  43. Rachel says:

    I really wish my lips did better with mattes. I use the Fresh scrub and lots of balm and still have cracking and peeling galore. Still gonna buy some, though…
    Rachel recently posted … Makeup of the Dayย 

  44. Dalia says:

    Love your posts i’m NC42 too and you helped me a lot ,, i hope if you do a lip swatch for those mac lipsticks especially whirl

  45. These are gorgeous! I LOVE matte lipsticks, even if I do have to lather my lips up with lip balm beforehand. Definitely need to try Dangerous and Runway Hit <3 <3 Great post.
    We've done a MAC lipstick collection post on our blog too, please check it out if you get the chance xoxo

  46. Sam says:

    I find the Retro Mattes to be so drying as well and I have very dry lips in the first instance. Although funnily enough my two favourite MAC lipsticks are actually Ruby Woo and Flat Out Fabulpus so that doesn’t help matters! If you’re ever looking for a brown-ish red from the Satin collection then Twig is a must.

    I think Kylie Jenner has a lot to answer for with the 90s matte trend. I’ve recently done a blog post on trying to achieve this look with cheaper alternatives.

    Love your posts!

  47. Sania says:

    Hi,I bought a Mac lipstick recently and the ‘M.A.C’ lettering in black inside wore off,actually it kinda peeled off.Just wanted to ask is this common with Mac’s lipsticks?

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