Product Reviews, MAC Makeup – MAC Mattene Lipsticks

Published in: MAC Makeup, Product Reviews


“What goes around
Comes around
Comes around
Comes all the way back around.”

–Justin Timberlake


Ain’t that the truth, JT. With all of the gloss, glitter and sparkle of the last few years, the 90s mattes seem like a distant, far away planet.

I’ve been test-driving the Mac Mattenes for the past few days and I’ve been flooded by so many memories MAKEUP TRICKS OF YE OLDEN DAYS. Remember patting loose powder on top of your lipstick to get it as dry-looking as possible? Or lining your lips with black eye liner before you topped them with your darkest, deepest red? Or exfoliating your lips with your toothbrush at least once a week because they’d end up getting so dry after all of your vigorous attempts at mattification?

While I was initially skeptical of the return of the matte, I ended up being pleasantly surprised. I guess if Marky Mark can morph from an underwear model with busy, pants-dropping schedule to an Academy Award Nominee, the matte lipsticks can evolve as well.

Product: MAC Mattene Lipsticks
Use: As a time machine to take you back to the 90s/or as a matte lipstick
Price: $14.50
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B+/A-

What I liked about it
MAC’s Mattenes, which will be released on October 4th, are the kinder, gentler version of your 90s matte lipstick. The lippies come in a skinny, matte-textured, black tube, which I love because they fit easily into a jeans pocket.
Mattenes are as long-wear lipsticks, with a formula designed to not dry out your lips. The texture is silkier and less chalky, and when applied the product is feathery-soft and not thick.
I was immediately drawn to the neutral colors, like Flattering (beige pink), Café Matte (rich caramel) and Composure (neutral bronze plum). However, after living with these colors and wearing them about town for the past few days, I’ve discovered that the real stand-outs in the collection are the brights, especially my favorite color, Rougette.
Rougette is a wine berry color that sophisticated yet fun color that’s user-friendly and great for day and evening wear. I would feel equally comfortable in this color in a business suit or a black tank top and jeans. I applied the color using a lip brush while looking into a small, mirrored compact, and when I finally stepped into the full-length mirror the color took my breath away. If you are thinking about purchasing any of these lipsticks then take a serious look at Rougette! It is simply beautiful.

What I didn’t like about it
Despite the claims that the lipstick doesn’t dry your lips out, I did experience some dryness, especially with the color Flattering. I will have to prime my lips with something moisturizing in the future, like Prep + Prime lip.
In terms of color, I would pass up Flattering and Night Violet. Flattering was my initial favorite of the bunch but unfortunately the color just didn’t work for me. It made my lips look gray and corpse-like and by the end of the day my lips were feelin’ the peelin’.


Night Violet was also another color that I wasn’t impressed with because of execution difficulty and color. I found it difficult to get the color on evenly – it took about three layers to get it right. Plus, wearing it made me feel like a vampire. (It took a lot of self-restraint to avoid drawing fangs on the picture below.)

The final word
There’s been a lot of hype about these lipsticks, and I think that it’s been fairly justified. Mattenes are definitely a step up from the old school 90s mattes and worth a try if you weren’t around the trend the first time around. Of the neutrals, don’t miss Composure or Café Matte. Of the brights, definitely get your hands on Rougette. And if you’re a red lip girl, Classic Dame is a good one to add to your collection.

I’m off to the Pro Store today with my girl, blogger Christine from Temptalia. On my list? Paint pots, a few crèmestick liners and a jar of Invisible Set Powder. Woo hoo! I’ll bring your MAC-loving heart with me in spirit. Have a great Saturday!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 34 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Miss Jeffrey says:

    Would have been great to see fangs on the lips with Rougette! You’ve inspired me a bit for Halloween!

  2. Karen says:

    oh, Miss Jeffrey, I’ll have to do that just for fun! OR maybe I’ll get some fangs from the Halloween store and start taking pictures with them oh, HA HA HA!

  3. Christine says:

    All right, Night Violet is a bit overly vampy. Now I know it isn’t for me! Time to add some Reflects glitter to it…

  4. Karen says:

    OH! Can’t wait to see the pictures! Have you busted into your stash yet?

  5. etirv says:

    I think I’d like to try Composure! Thanks for another clear, detailed review!

  6. Karen says:

    You’re welcome Etirv! Composure if my favorite out of the neutrals… it looks extra pretty when applied with a lipbrush.

    I *just* got a few neutral Cremestick liners today and can’t wait to try it with either Beurre or Honey B. 😉

  7. beautopia says:

    Great review!! I’ve been so looking forward to these! The look so smooth and light. I definitely need Rougette and Night Violet now.

  8. amybecca says:

    Your review comes the closest to tempting me into these Mattenes, but anytime I try a matte lipstick I was always just end up topping it with gloss (yeah, that sort of defeats the purpose). Maybe matte and I are not meant to be.

  9. Casie says:

    I like Composure and Flattering the best…by the way you have lovely lips.

  10. Hessah says:

    Damn.. Composure looks hot!!

  11. Lorin says:

    Excellent and very complete review. I love seeing all of the pictures… really gives me a sense of what I’m getting. These look great because they are matte, but don’t appear dry. Nice!

  12. rosarita says:

    Your photos are sooo helpful. Cafe Matte may be just what I’m looking for. I’m always sceptical about long wearing lipsticks but that neutral color looks perfect.

  13. peggy says:

    Wow! You have lovely lips =) I like Cafe Matte but maybe that’s cuz I’m so shy to try out bolder shades.

  14. Sheena says:

    Wow, I really like the Rougette and Night Violet…thanks for all the pics and the detailed review!

  15. Melissa says:

    thanks so much for the review! MAC is quite popular on the beauty blogs lately. Well, I’d definitely like to give this a try, maybe a red one to wear with black liquid eyeliner and fingerwaved hair…

  16. nilla cookie says:

    Thanks so much for the review! I’ve heard a bit about these new Mattene lipsticks, but none of what I’ve read really got me curious like your post did. I think I’ll definitely go for Rougette – bold colors are so fun for the fall!

  17. Karen says:

    Hi Beautopia! Thanks for stopping by!

    You will LOVE LOVE LOVE Rougette. I didn’t expect to be so moved by it but seriously, it’s gorgeous.

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Amybecca,

    I know what you mean. When I wore “Flattering” out a few days ago I ended up putting on a layer of Clear Lipglass because it just looked so flat/dry/different to me.

    Matte lips are something I think one either loves or hates. The good thing with the Mattenes, though, is that they aren’t entirely flat and powdery looking. There is a touch of shine to them.

    I too, was very resistant at the thought of matte lipstick…but you might want to give it a try, just to see!

  19. Karen says:

    Awww, thanks, Casie!

    Let me know if you end up lovin’ on the Flattering. I’ve heard that many people are jonsing for the color and I am curious to know if it’s going to live up to its hype!

  20. Karen says:

    Hi Hessah!

    RIGHT?!?! I was really surprised by how much I ended up liking Composure. It’s going to be in my daily rotation for a while, I think! You better get it 😉

  21. Karen says:

    Hi Lorin 🙂

    Thank you so much for the complements. I’m glad the review helped ya out.

    And yes, the lipsticks aren’t thick or powdery or dry at all. If you like the matte look you’ll love these.

    I just bought a tube of Prep+Prime lip and can’t wait to try the Mattenes with it!

  22. Karen says:

    Hi Rosarita!

    I’m glad the pics help! I’m a visual learner so I always like somethin’ somethin’ to look at before I make any sort of makeup decision (let’s face it…MAC ain’t cheap!)

    The search for a great neutral seems to be a never ending one for many women, so let me know if Cafe Matte works out for you. I hope it does!

  23. Karen says:

    Hey Peggy,

    Aww, thanks for the complement. And I know how you feel about brights! I’m *very* shy when it comes to bold colors in general, but I’m slowly working my way into life beyond neutrals.

    Even though you are shy about bold tones you might want to give Rougette a try, just for fun!

  24. Karen says:

    You are very welcome Sheena! I’m glad to have helped!:)

  25. Karen says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Cute! Sounds very 40s, classic, and very Dita von Teese! I love it.

    of course, you know you’ll have to rock some cute round toe hight heels, right? gotta have those with any 40s look 😉

  26. Karen says:

    Yay, Nilla Cookie! You won’t regret the Rougette. Seriously! You’ll get so much use out of it and can use it for so many looks.

  27. kia says:

    rougette looks great on you!

    how cute is marky mark in that throw back ad… aww delicious!

  28. Karen says:

    thanks miss kia!

    i want you to get rougette…i think you’d totally rock it.

    and why doesn’t marky mark take off his clothes anymore, dammit! the people have a right to see hotness!

  29. Hi Karen,

    I am a make-up artist in So. Cal. and I wanted to let you know how much I love your blog. In fact, I have come to rely on it before I make my trips to the MAC Pro Store! Love the entry on the new matte products and was pleasantly surprised at how much I am interested in purchasing the matte lip colors for my kit or the next time I am filming I will request them thanks to your review. And I love that you post the colors on actual “lips” — this really helps determine the color.

    Again, thanks for all your hard work — even though it is make-up and it is a lot of fun — it is still “work” when you are testing a new product!

    From one Mac Lover to another,

    Have a great day!


  30. Karen says:

    Hi Melissa!

    Yay, thanks for stopping by and for the lovely complements. You will *love* those MAC Mattenes!

    I’m currently test-driving a few things I picked up at the Pro Store – the Invisible Set Powder and some Cremestick liners. Yummy!

    Take care and come back soon 🙂

  31. Madeleine says:

    Karen 🙂

    Like rest of the ladies I love your blog (and Christine’s too ) 🙂
    however I really would like you to do something,please.Meaning if you could do a tut on lips.Just look at the pictures you have posted regarding Mattene lipsticks .Everytime it’s perfect.Can you,please 🙂

  32. Shockingpink says:

    I love matte lips:)

  33. ziggy_medusa says:

    Gosh rougette is too die for! Will definitely be checking that one out.

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