As you've probably heard, Make Up For Ever has reformulated, repackaged, and reintroduced its line of Artist Rouge Lipsticks ($22 each) this summer—and this month, the new-and-improved line of the brand's pigment-packed lip colors hits Sephora stores. With 45 shades in cream and matte finishes, it's likely you'll want to visit your local store to get up close and personal with the wide range. But before you go on your lipstick shopping spree, we've got some helpful pointers to help you narrow down which colors to add to your makeup stash.
First things first: Yes, there are 45 lipsticks, and they're split into 31 cream finishes and 14 mattes. The collection also has an Icona Pop collab within it. The two musicians each chose a color to represent them—a bright red matte and a bold midnight-blue in a cream finish—and are distinguished by their unique lids. Speaking of packaging, it's quite a departure from the previous Artist Rouge Intense collection. The sleek pointed lipstick bullets, which boast an elongated teardrop shape and a sharp point made to resemble a lip brush, are encased in a matte tube with a silver ring around the base.
When it comes to color selection, you won't be disappointed. This line features a huge selection of wearable classics like reds, pinks, and nudes, but it also has a curated lineup of bold artistic colors as well. We've come to expect only the best of the best regarding formulation from Make Up For Ever, and you can bet these lipsticks meet our standards. The new formula has 25% more pigment than the previous line's formula and is completely opaque with as little as one swipe. The wear is incredibly long-lasting, as in 10 hours long for creams and eight for the mattes. The two textures are equally hydrating, made with soothing macadamia oils and sunflower seed waxes for comfortable wear. Matte lipsticks get a bad rap for flaking and dryness, but this formula is a standout, with zero flaking or feathering.
Now that you've had a taste of what to expect, we've broken down all the shades and finishes into categories and listed suggestions for every skin tone based on each color family, from nude to bold. Keep scrolling to read all about the incredible shade selection in the new Artist Rouge Lipstick collection, straight from our Q&A with Lijha Stewart, Make Up For Ever's director of education and artistry.
BYRDIE: Why Did Make Up For Ever decide to give the lipstick line a makeover?
LIJHA STEWART: Lipstick has always been a core part of the brand since the beginning. The reason for overhauling the line is that there is such great technology in lip color overall with pigments and comfort. So we really wanted to create shades that were targeted to all skin tones with the perfect pink, nude, reds, corals, and even artistic colors for everyone.
Fair Skin Tones: C103, C104
Medium Skin Tones: C104, C105
Tan Skin Tones: C107
Deep Skin Tones: C108
BYRDIE: How did the brand decide which colors would be in the cream category?
LS: Within the cream category, it was about focusing on the perfect shade for each person. From neutral pink to warm brown-berry shades, there's something there for everyone. There are also more artistic shades because the formula provides a more smooth, less patchy effect when they wear, since they have more emollients.
Fair Skin Tones: C205, C209
Medium Skin Tones: C210
Tan Skin Tones: C205, C206
Deep Skin Tones: C207, C208
BYRDIE: The lipsticks have been available online at Sephora.com for a few weeks now; is there a fan favorite?
LS: Our top shade so far is definitely C211, which is a perfect pink-beige shade. We actually had our entire team try it and share pictures, and it looks beautiful on all skin tones, from the fairest of fair to the deepest of skin, and all ethnicities. It looks slightly different on everyone—on fair skin, it was like a pink-brown, and on deep skin, it's a pretty neutral pink. It looks incredible, and we've seen a lot of love for that shade.
Fair Skin Tones: C211, C302, C305
Medium Skin Tones: C210, C211, C303
Tan Skin Tones: C211, C304
Deep Skin Tones: C211, C306
BYRDIE: Tell us about the Icona Pop collaboration.
LS: The Icona Pop girls and their makeup artist, Colby Smith, came up with two colors that represented their style. For the launch of Artist Rouge, there is a limited-edition packaging, so their signature Icona Pop is on the cap. The two colors they chose are total opposites. The red is classic, not too blue or too orange, and navy blue might sound polarizing, but it makes everyone's teeth look really white, and it's not as intense or dark as black, so it is easier to wear on all skin tones.
Fair Skin Tones: C404, C502
Medium Skin Tones: C403, C405
Tan Skin Tones: C405, C406
Deep Skin Tones: C405, C407
BYRDIE: How can someone who has never worn bolder shades experiment with these?
LS: They work really well as color adjusters. You can add white to any lipstick to make it a pastel-like shade and create more of a bright undertone too. Adding black can brown it down or mute the tone. There's a customization factor here. If you take C602 and a bright orange you'll get an awesome taupe-y color that looks like a Kylie Jenner lip! You can apply color theory and use complimentary colors on the wheel to see how different bold tones can work together and create a neutral.
Fair Skin Tones: C503, C601
Medium Skin Tones: C602, C603
Tan Skin Tones: C503, C600
Deep Skin Tones: C603, C604
BYRDIE: How did the brand decide which colors would be matte?
LS: With the matte shades, it was more about what shades would look best [as mattes]. Any color that has too much white pigment in it makes it hard to formulate a matte lipstick because it can look very cakey and heavy on the lips. So we chose to pick shades in the matte collection where the pigments would make the lip color look its very best. So within the matte categories, there are nudes, plums, and reds because those are the shades that look the best in that finish.
Fair Skin Tones: M100, M102
Medium Skin Tones: M100, M102, M200, M201
Tan Skin Tones: M101, M202
Deep Skin Tones: M102
BYRDIE: Which matte shade is the most popular right now?
LS: Our star red is M402; people are obsessed with that red. It's a brown burgundy, which used to be seen as more of a fall/winter color, but now it's a year-round shade.
Fair Skin Tones: M204, M300
Medium Skin Tones: M203, M401
Tan Skin Tones: M301, M401, M402, M500, M501
Deep Skin Tones: M403
Have you tried the Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge lipsticks yet? Which color do you love most? Tell us in the comments!