MAC Lipstick Finishes: A Quick And Dirty Guide

And by "dirty" I mean that I put them all over my face.
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Christina
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And by "dirty" I mean that I put them all over my face.

I have always loved lipstick. I remember testing out my mom’s various shades of pink as a child and feeling so grown up. 

When I was a bit older, lip gloss was more du jour, so I slathered that on like the best of ‘em. My return to lipsticks began when I bought my first-ever MAC lipstick. The colour! The texture! The consistency! 

It smelled less like traditional lipstick and more like a vanilla hug, and for that I was glad. I have a very sensitive sense of smell, and I can’t stand lipsticks that seem to smell like granny lair. I also have always appreciated the tastelessness of MAC’s lipsticks, because I tend to eat a lot of it during the course of the day.

So, thanks to MAC, I’m a lipstick girl now. The brand makes some of my favourite lipsticks, and I am forever buying new ones--or getting free ones with their Back to MAC program, hollaaaa!

Over the years, I have learned that there are about a million different types of MAC lipsticks--OK, only, like, seven--and I’m here to break it all down for you. 

My precioussssssss

My precioussssssss...

The MAC lipstick counter can be a little overwhelming if you don’t speak MAC. But here are the seven most popular finishes that make up their standard lipsticks--the ones in the black tampon-looking tube. 

Amplified

Lipstick with the amplified finish are highly pigmented and long-wearing but, unlike the matte lipsticks, they are smooth and don’t dry your lips out.

Cremesheen

The cremesheen lipsticks are extremely creamy and glossy. They aren’t as pigmented as the other lipsticks, but are by no means sheer. Because of the creaminess, they are quite hydrating, but not that long-wearing.

Frost

This lipstick offers medium wearing time, medium coverage and medium gloss. What makes them stand out is that they are all shimmery and, like the name suggests, they provide a frost-like finish.

Glaze

The glaze lipsticks are the most sheer of all the lipsticks. These are subtle and easy to use, because of the lack of opacity and the glossy finish. My go-to everyday color, Hue, has a glaze finish. It’s an amazing pinkish-nude colour that goes with every. single. look.

Lustre

This finish is basically exactly the same as the glaze finish, although I find that the lustre lipsticks come in much more colours and are ever-so-slightly more opaque.

Matte

The matte finish, while one of the trickiest to work with, definitely delivers the best colour payoff and is the most long-wearing of all the different finishes. The downside, however, is that it will show off every dry crease in your lips so, unless your lips are in smokin’ hot condition, stay far away. These lipsticks also tend to be really drying and take forever to get off. My first-ever MAC lipstick, Viva Glam I, was a matte finish lipstick. I wore it to my matric dance (what most of you probably call a “prom”), and it’s basically the only part of my ensemble that I still like.

Satin

The satin lipsticks are my personal favourite. They are long-wearing and offer high opacity without being as drying as their matte counterpart. I have never met a satin lipstick I didn’t like. It’s as though the matte finish was introduced to some conditioner and they made sweet love. Some of the best and most exciting colours come in the satin finish.

Left side, top to bottom: Morange (amplified finish), Speak Louder (cremesheen finish), CB 96 (frost finish), Hot Tahiti (glaze finish); Right side, top to bottom: Lady Bug (lustre finish), Ruby Woo (matte finish), MAC Red (satin finish)

Left side, top to bottom: Morange (amplified finish), Speak Louder (cremesheen finish), CB 96 (frost finish), Hot Tahiti (glaze finish); Right side, top to bottom: Lady Bug (lustre finish), Ruby Woo (matte finish), MAC Red (satin finish)

What's your favorite MAC color/finish? What's the first one you ever owned?

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