You twist up the lipstick bullet, ooh and ahh at the pretty color, swatch it, and surprise—it’s matte! Your obsession with the newfound lip color instantly increases fourfold. At least that’s how the new lipstick scenario usually goes down at Byrdie HQ. (To say we love matte lipstick would be the understatement of the year.) However, there is a less joyful part of that scenario that occurs later—sometimes much later, sometimes shortly after the love-at-first-sight moment we just described—namely dryness. When the dryness kicks in, the color settles into lip lines, the flakiness starts, and the love affair ends. No matte lip color—no matter how pigmented or long-lasting—is worth peeling lips. Every so often, you find a diamond in the rough—a matte lipstick that surprises you and doesn’t wreak havoc on your lips.
Scroll through to see the non-drying matte lipsticks we swear by!
The Pick: Make Matte Lipstick ($25) in Fire
The Praise: "I actually typically avoid lipstick because most formulas are simultaneously drying and messy—I'm not down to reapply and do a mirror check every time I take a sip of water, you know? That being said, this Make tube is one of the few that I swear by because it stays put and feels so velvety and hydrating. I'm also obsessed with this punchy tangerine color. It faded a little bit through lunch, but never smeared—and I kind of love the peachy tone it left behind." — Victoria Hoff, associate editor
The Pick: Jouer Long-Wear Lip Crème Liquid Lipstick ($18) in Cerise
The Praise: "If you're looking for a good, non-drying matte lipstick that delivers a soft, velvety finish, you're going to want to add this one to your cart immediately. It not only glides onto your lips smoothly, but also it stays smooth for hours and hours (no cracked, flaky lips to see here). In fact, it's so non-drying that I forget I even have it on until someone compliments me on my lip color!" — Olivia Collins, social media editor
The Pick: Too Faced Melted Chocolate ($21) in Chocolate Milkshake
The Praise: "Too Faced's Melted Liquid Lip Colors come in a massive selection of shades and finishes. Their Chocolate line is my fave—it offers creamy mattes in various brown shades, and I find myself reaching for this warm nude often. (I think mostly because it smells like straight-up chocolate frosting.) The product packs a ton of pigment and feels velvety smooth on the lips. Over the course of five to six hours, the color does fade a bit, particularly at the inner part of the lips, where you start to get that dreaded line if you don't reapply. But it never feels dehydrating or uncomfortable." — Amanda Montell, associate features editor
The Pick: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick ($32) in Love Liberty
The Praise: "This is my Holy Grail matte lipstick for many reasons, not least of which is the fact it is completely non-drying. The texture of the lipstick is unbelievable—it goes on silky-smooth and feels light as a feather. It doesn't leave your lips feeling like they're slicked over with a layer of Wite-Out, and barely budges through coffee, lunch, or drinks. I have almost every shade, but Love Liberty is one of my favorites—it's the perfect berry mauve that's super flattering on all skin tones and works for day (with a bare face and groomed brows) or night (paired with a smoky eye). I'm not surprised that the lipstick barely budged during this experiment—the proof is in the photos! It might not be the most matte lipstick in the world—the finish definitely has a faint sheen—but it's matte enough for me. Plus, I'd choose lightly hydrated over super matte any day." — Faith Xue, editorial director
The Pick: Tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint ($20) in Frenemy
The Praise: "I LOVE the way this lip color looks and the name Frenemy makes me laugh (very Regina George). My lips feel like they're falling off when I wear it, BUT when I look in the mirror they're in incredible shape. I'm convinced that matte lipstick feeling is all psychological—okay, mostly psychological. However, I wouldn't recommend this color if you're heading out to dinner or drinks because it smudges very easily." — Aimee Jefferson, associate social media editor
Have you tried any of our picks? Share your favorite non-drying lipsticks below!