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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

MAC Lipstick Textures and Finishes - Explained.

If you have ever been to a MAC store or counter you have no doubt seen the array of lipsticks in every wearable shade you can imagine.
While trying to pick out just one is a task in itself, it is made even more difficult because of the different groups they are sorted into.

If you have ever wondered exactly what 'Lustre' or 'Cremesheen' actually mean you can wonder no further.

MAC has 10 different finishes in their permanent collection. Occasionally they will create a new limited edition finish. Some are easy to figure out, others are just random MAC words that need explaining.


A matte finish is one with no gloss or shine, it's a very flat shade.
Common characteristics of matte lipsticks are that they are very long wearing, this is because they are dry and are less likely to rub off. They are usually also heavily pigmented which can stain your lips. Coming with that though is their tendency to be quite drying after a few hours wear. Applying a lip balm before application can help but it will alter the true matte look into something with a bit more gloss.
Removing the lipstick, applying lip balm, letting the lip balm sink in and then reapplying the lipstick is a common way of keeping lips hydrated through the day. Matte lipsticks will show off every imperfection your have on your lips, just as they will from any other brand. You will see lines, you will see if your lips are dry. It's best to prep your lips with a lip scrub before applying (or just run your tooth brush over your lips a few times while brushing).


A Satin finish is semi-matte. It isn't completely flat but it doesn't have a whole lot of shine to it either. It is a good alternative to to a matte lipstick if your lips are dryer or have more lines than others. Satin lipsticks have a good wear to them, they will generally last a while on the lips and won't be too drying. You can easily apply a lip balm over a Satin lipstick without altering the finish of it.


These are similar to a Satin finish with a little bit of a Cremesheen to them also. They're long wearing, have great colour pay off and aren't too drying for a matte lipstick. The formula is a little thicker than a Satin finish, which is why they aren't as drying. They do tend to settle into lines throughout the day.


Lustre just happens to be my favourite MAC lipstick finish. They are very lightweight and are very easy to wear. They feel like a lip balm rather than a lipstick. They keep lips hydrated and smooth. They have a nice gloss and shine. The downfall with this is that the more gloss in the lipstick, the faster it will wear off. I can get a couple of hours wear if it's not interrupted by eating. Lustre's aren't incredibly pigmented but they're not sheer either. They work very well on dry lips and always look great.


Cremesheens are the most popular MAC lipstick finish. They're glossy, opaque and long wearing. The colour pay off is always really strong and they wear for a really good amount of time. They are quite a thick lipstick so you can easily apply too much and have the constant feeling like you need to wipe your mouth. They're incredibly creamy and flattering. The colour selection of Cremesheens is really good.

Amplified Creme

I cannot see a big difference between Amplified Creme and Cremesheen.
Amplified Creme might have a little bit more shine but it is still the same thick, opaque formula of a Cremesheen.


Glaze lipsticks are mostly quite sheer but are incredibly flattering on. They don't settle into lines and they colour your lips while still looking fresh and natural. If you prefer lipgloss over lipstick you will probably love the Glaze finish (and the Lustre finish). It's not sticky and it really hydrating to the lips.


Now I have to be honest, I only own 3-4 Frost lipsticks. Not because I don't like the formula but because the shade range isn't really there for this finish. From the shades that I own, I don't really see 'Frost' as being a correct word to describe these. They're more of a Satin finish than anything else. Not a lot of sheen but not at all drying or dull. They're a bold colour with good pay-off but I wouldn't describe them as being a 'Frost'. I like them, they last a long time when on the lips and don't come off too glossy or over-powering.

Sheen Supreme

These lipsticks are as glossy as lipsticks can get. They're my favourite alternative to a lipgloss when I don't want to have to deal with gloss that day (for example: wind + long hair = I hate lipgloss). They actually have a great colour pay off for something that describes itself as 'Sheen'. They don't wear for a great amount of time but they're easy to apply without a mirror throughout the day. They're really smooth wearing and hydrating, great for dry lips.

Pro Longwear Lip Creme

These are MAC's answer to a long wearing lipstick and I have to say, they got it pretty spot on. I swatched
These lipsticks are obviously very long wearing, they're a little drying but you're safe to put a lip balm over the top throughout the day without harming the colour. They have a great shade range and are definitely worth the purchase if you don't like reapplying your lipstick through the day.

Disclaimer: I have worked with MAC on a professional level for many years and received a lot of my professional training from MAC. However I have never been employed by MAC and this product was paid for with my own money. I am not being paid for this review, all opinions are my own. 

Animal Testing: MAC has always maintained cruelty-free production of products and is against animal testing. There has been some controversy over the past few months but MAC is still maintaining that they do not test on animals. 
Some MAC brushes do contain animal hair. MAC maintains that the hair is is farmed ethically and cruelty-free. 


kat said...

Thanks for this. I always choose a color before a finish, but lately the texture of my lips has changed and I need to pay more attention. The explanation combined with first-hand experience makes a difference.

Althea said...

informative post

Simone said...

Was Googling for info on MAC and this post came up, it's really informative and helpful thank you!