Rich, pigmented formula
Impressive staying power
Eligible for MAC recycling program
May transfer when drinking or eating
MAC Satin Lipstick Cream
We put MAC's Satin Lipstick in shade Mocha to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
Who didn't wear a brown lipstick in the '90s? I can vividly recall it girls like Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Lopez wearing a chocolate lip paired with butterfly clips and pencil-thin eyebrows. Those iconic chocolate lips usually boasted an ultra-matte finish and were always accompanied by a sharp lip liner (sometimes in a slightly darker shade).
All trends are cyclical and eventually come back with minor tweaks to pair with the times, and brown lipstick is no exception. This time around, it has a more lived-in look—it's not matte, and it features a peachy undertone to brighten any complexion. Here, I take the '90s trend for a spin, courtesy of arguably the most iconic product of the time: MAC's Satin Lipstick in a modern brown shade, called Mocha.
BEST FOR: Long-lasting, pigmented looks that work from day to night.
Shade Range: 23
ABOUT THE BRAND: Founded in Canada in 1984, the professional-loved brand is known for their extensive range of performance products and countless collaborations with A-listers from Brooke Shields to Rihanna, and fashion houses, like Proenza Schouler.
About My Skin: Olive undertones
I have a medium skin tone with olive undertones. While I pretty much fall smack dab in the middle of the skin spectrum, it can be difficult for me to find lipstick shades that work. Anything too peachy can wash me out, and anything too cool-toned can ready ashy against my skin. I also have a naturally pigmented lip, so anything too sheer doesn't pack enough of a punch for me. To work for me, lipstick has to have enough built-in pigment to neutralize my lips while packing on the color.
The Shade: A universal fit
Brown is a color that can be found in so many undertones and variations, but it's a hue that complements most skin tones. Shades with red and yellow undertones have a way of warming up your complexion. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from colors that have too much gray in them, as they can look dated and dull your natural skin tone.
MAC's Satin Lipstick in Mocha is surprisingly not as brown in tone as you might expect. While the name suggests it's rich medium-brown hue reminiscent of your morning coffee, it's actually more of a peachy caramel shade. The good news is it's sure to complement most (if not all) skin tones.
The Results: Perfect nude in a single swipe
There's a reason MAC's Satin Lipstick remains a makeup bag staple after all these years. You know how some bullets look stunning when you remove the cap but look completely different when you apply them? MAC's lipsticks don't do that. A single swipe gives you the pigment you crave (and enough to hide my natural lip color) and always looks exactly as it does in the tube. Plus, it also gives your pout a bit of a stain, so you're not obligated to reapply it every hour on the hour. I always forget to do mirror checks, so I love finding a lipstick that wears evenly and doesn't require a ton of maintenance.
The creamy formula won't dry out your lips as the day goes on, and it glides on without skipping or dragging. While most like to apply it directly to their lips with the tip of the bullet (I do this sometimes, too), I prefer to pat it on with my finger for a wash of color and a feathered edge. MAC's Satin Lipstick is one of my favorites to apply via the latter technique because it's packed with so much pigment. Anything too sheer doesn't give me that lived-in look I love.
The Value: Worth the $19
Considering MAC is a professional brand, it lives on the higher end of the price scale. The Satin Lipstick will run you $19 a pop, but because of the quality, pigment, and staying power, you can expect it to live in your makeup bag for a while. And when you do finally run out, we suggest you hold on to those empties. MAC stores and counters abide by their recycling program, which trades six empty containers for a completely free lipstick, lipgloss, or eye shadow of your choosing, up to $17. If you can't make it to a store, you can also mail your empties—just print out a form at the company's online tool.
Similar Products: You have options
It Cosmetics Pillow Lips Satin Lipstick: Shade Color Vision within the It Cosmetics Pillow Lips family is a brown, peachy nude that's very comparable to MAC's Mocha in both shade and feel. At $24, it's a few bucks more than the MAC option, but you get more luxurious packaging.
e.l.f. Srsly Satin Lipstick: At $3, the e.l.f. Srsly Satin Lipstick is a solid drugstore dupe for MAC's Satin Lipstick. Shade Nectar is the most comparable shade to Mocha in this more limited shade range (10 shades total).
There's just no going wrong when you add a MAC product to your collection, and the brand's Mocha Satin Lipstick is a good starting point when navigating their broad range of products. The '90s revival peachy brown hue is only rivaled by the creamy, non-drying lasting power of the formula. If you ask me, $20 is a small but mighty investment, considering how long a single bullet will last you, and even after you've finished your favorite lip color, you can trade in the packaging for a brand new tube.
- Product Name Satin Lipstick Cream
- Product Brand MAC
- Price $19
- Shade Mocha
- Finish Creamy