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Nothing completes a holiday look like a satisfying swipe of the perfect lipstick. I love lipstick in pretty much any shade and finish, but for the holidays, my go-to is a classic matte red. My favorite, Mac Matte Lipstick, combines vibrant pigmentation and long-lasting, non-drying coverage at a surprisingly reasonable price.

Picking the perfect shade and formula for your lips can be intimidating given the number of options on the market, but with more than 30 flattering shades to choose from, Mac Matte Lipstick can be a great addition to your makeup bag. Here’s everything you need to know about this bestselling lipstick formula.

What is Mac Matte Lipstick? 

The matte formula of this Mac lipstick delivers bold color payoff comfortably thanks to hydrating ingredients like castor seed oil. Colors like the perfectly balanced red Ruby Woo, deep beige Velvet Teddy and bright orchid Heroine are beauty-industry standbys, and the brand offers more than 150 lipstick shades in total. 

Mac Matte Lipstick stands apart from other matte lipsticks by keeping lips comfy and resisting flaking and feathering for up to 10 hours. It’s also formulated without potentially irritating ingredients like phthalates, parabens and mineral oil.

How Mac Matte Lipstick works

Mac Matte Lipstick is extremely pigmented and long-lasting — in fact, you may need makeup remover to erase all traces of color at the end of the day. The lipstick can be applied directly to lips with the bullet’s precision tip, or with a lip brush for greater control. Usually, one or two coats is all it takes to get full and even coverage, and I find it easy to touch up during the day since the formula doesn’t crack or flake.

What you need to know before purchasing Mac Matte Lipstick

Mac Matte Lipstick’s pigmentation is no joke: some shades may stain lips for several hours after application. This can be a good thing if you’re worried about your lipstick transferring or requiring touch-ups, but it may also mean you’ll need to put in a little extra effort to remove your makeup at the end of the day. 

Picking the right Mac Matte Lipstick from their range of more than two dozen shades can be a challenge, especially since the real-life colors of Mac lipsticks don’t always match up to their online photos. However, the formula comes in a variety of reds, berries and nudes that flatter a wide range of complexions. If you’re not sure about the formula or a particular color, Mac also makes some of its best-selling shades available as more affordable minis, so you can purchase a smaller lipstick for a lower price before buying the full-sized version.

How to wear Mac Matte Lipstick

Whenever I wear matte lipstick, I prep my lips by exfoliating them with a gentle lip scrub. I then apply a layer of lip balm or lip primer to help ensure my lips won’t feel dried out after a few hours. Finally, I apply a layer of lipstick and blot it before applying a second layer for rich and even coverage. I find this helps my lipstick stay put and look freshly applied for longer.

Where to buy Mac Matte Lipstick?

Mac Matte Lipstick

This creamy lipstick delivers medium to full coverage and leaves a matte finish without drying lips out. It comes in more than 30 colors. It’s available at Macy’s and Ulta.

Other products worth considering

Mac Prep + Prime Lip Primer

Mac Prep + Prime Lip Primer

Using this lip primer before applying MAC lipstick contributes moisture and helps your lipstick last longer and feel more comfortable on your lips. Sold by Macy’s and Ulta.

Mac Lip Pencil

Mac Lip Pencil

This creamy pencil applies smoothly to define or fill in lips. The long-lasting color can be worn alone or to add dimension to a lipstick. It’s available in more than 15 shades. Sold by Macy’s and Ulta.

Mac Frost Lipstick

Mac Frost Lipstick

If you want more sparkle in your holiday look, this pearlescent formula delivers. It’s available in 14 shimmery hues ranging from baby pink to duochrome muted red with blue-green-shift shimmer. Sold by Macy’s and Ulta.


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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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