I've accumulated quite a few of them over the years and wanted to share my collection as well as a guide to the nine different lipstick finishes that MAC offers:
Rich in pigment, long-wearing. No shine, shimmer or sparkle, just pure color with a velvety finish. The downside to mattes is that they don't offer any moisture, they can drag and tug during application and they can cling to dry patches on your lips. It's important to exfoliate and apply a lip balm before reaching for a Matte shade.
Colors: Charmed I'm Sure (Marilyn Monroe), Good Kisser (A Novel Romance), Strange Journey (Rocky Horror)
Ultra-matte finish, pigment rich, no shine. If you want an even matter finish, enter Retro Matte. I've only tried one Retro Matte and it wasn't my favorite. This is a high-maintenance lipstick that can be very drying and uncomfortable. But, if you are up for the challenge, it can be beautiful when applied correctly.
Color: Relentlessly Red
Very pigmented with a more comfortable, soft finish. If you are looking for a matte look but don't want the sometimes uncomfortable matte finish, then satin is for you. They still pack a color and long-wear punch, but are much more wearable for everyday.
Colors: Daddy's Little Girl (Archie's Girls), MAC Red, Rebel (Heirloom Mix), Faux, Kelly Yum Yum (Osbournes), Pink Nouveau
Medium to high pigmentation with a glossy finish. These two are so similar I grouped them together. Amplified packs a color punch while Amplified Creme is still high in pigmentation but has a more creamy finish.
Colors: Impassioned, Oblivion (Rocky Horror), Chatterbox
Glossy finish with a wet-look, medium opacity. I find that the color payoff in these is more sheer and they are not very moisturizing, but they aren't drying either. They also contain a decent amount of shimmer. Sometimes the color will wear down and you are left with just sparkles on your lips.
Colors: Spice it up!, Sweetie, Woodrose (Proenza Schouler), Lovelorn, Viva Glam V, Syrup
Cremesheen - Creamy finish with a slight shine, medium opacity. They provide a luminous sheen to the lips and are so creamy and comfortable on the lips. My favorite shade right now is Mystical from the Alluring Aquatics collection. It's a great Rose color that is appropriate year-round.
Colors: Mystical (Alluring Aquatics), Japanese Maple
Frosted, shimmery finish, medium to sheer opacity. The only frost I own is Angel. This shade has a cult following. It contains micro-shimmer that shows up ever so slightly when applied. Its a great neutral medium to light pink.
Sheer opacity, low color impact, glossy finish. These are similar to the balm or butter lipsticks that you see a lot of on the market today. They are quick to apply, comfortable to wear and very low maintenance. These are nice for daytime but be ready to reapply often as they don't wear for long.
Lipsticks are one of those makeup items that I just love to collect. MAC, especially the limited edition items, are almost considered collectors items in the world of makeup. Their limited edition items are often hyped up and then extremely hard to come by when released (well played MAC!) It's become almost like a sport to get your hands them. This can be frustrating at times so I try not get too consumed by this and just curb my limited edition quests to the collections that most interest me.
I hope this post was helpful in breaking down the different lipstick finishes that MAC offers. It can sometimes be intimidating to go to counter and be greeted with endless shades and lipstick finishes to choose from. Knowing a bit more of what MAC has to offer can help you make the right choice.
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MAC Lipstick (Nordstrom)
MAC Lipstick (MAC Store)