Retro Matte Lipstick

0.10 fl. oz. for $ 17.00
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Brand Overview

M.A.C. Cosmetics is a makeup brand that's known for a variety of "hero" products, but it first came to prominence because of its lipsticks—especially its matte shades (does anyone remember Madonna's affection for the shade, Russian Red in the early 1990s?). Retro Matte Lipstick goes back to M.A.C.'s roots, but because of a lackluster formula and wear, only earns an average rating on Beautypedia.

Retro Matte Lipstick comes in the standard black bullet-style tube of other M.A.C. lipsticks, and, like other M.A.C. lipsticks, has the brand's trademark vanilla scent. It's mild enough that it fades away quickly, but it's something to consider if you prefer your lip products unscented. We should note though that the scent comes from vanillin, which is not a skin irritant.

The formula of the lipstick itself is smooth, though there is some tugging when you first apply it. This becomes less of an issue as you layer it, with it going on more smoothly after the initial coat. You do get strong color in just one coat, and the finish is truly matte as advertised without a hint of sheen or shimmer. In fact, it's so classically matte that it's a bit drying; if your lips are on the drier side you will definitely need to apply a lip balm underneath! Like most of M.A.C.'s lipstick offerings, there is a good variety of shades offered, from sophisticated neutrals to bold reds.

The problem with this lipstick is in how it wears. Retro Matte Lipstick begins to ball up and flake on lips after a couple of hours of wear, and when it fades it does so unevenly, with small chunks of lipstick coming off.

Bottom line: While M.A.C. Retro Matte lipstick has some good qualities (its true matte finish and color quality), the way it wears and fades means it only earns an average rating. For more impressive matte lipstick options (including others from M.A.C. Cosmetics), see our list of Best Lipsticks.

  • Strong color application in one coat.
  • Truly matte finish as advertised.
  • Good variety of shades offered.
  • Lipstick tugs a bit on initial application.
  • Formula balls up on lips after a couple of hours.
  • Lipstick fades unevenly.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

For those who prefer timeless glamour rather than all-out flash, the sophisticated allure of matte reigns supreme. Now, MAC expands its offering of this classic suede-like finish with 12 new shades of Matte and Retro Matte Lipstick. These lipsticks promise a pop of colour that will linger on your lips with impressive staying power.

Dimethicone, Isoeicosane, Kaolin, Ceresin, Parrafin, Isononyl Isononanoate, Microcrystalline Wax, Silica, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Copernica Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Vanillin, Tocopherol, Glyceryl Linoleate, PVP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Methicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.

M.A.C. Cosmetics At-A-Glance

What more can one say for this long-standing makeup line whose products have spoken eloquently for themselves for years? In many ways, M.A.C. Cosmetics is a pivotal line not only for makeup artists but also for any in-the-know cosmetics consumer. Although M.A.C. has several singularly outstanding products, they generally excel by virtue of the range of choices offered. The color selection for everything from lipsticks to foundations is exceptional. Most of the makeup brushes are beautiful, full, and soft, as well as properly sized to fit the contours of the face and eyes.

When it comes to skincare you may be tempted to dismiss the small assortment M.A.C. offers and skip right to their makeup with its well-earned positive reputation. But doing so would mean missing a handful of beautifully formulated products that are worth trying. By no means is M.A.C.'s skin-care line one-stop shopping (at least not if you have blemishes, skin discolorations, or require more than a couple options per category), but you'll find more than just the color products impressive here, and the prices aren't unreasonable either!

M.A.C.'s salespeople are often trained makeup artists, too. This is especially true in the freestanding M.A.C. boutiques, where the staff tends to be true makeup artists.

Note: M.A.C. sets itself apart from other beauty brands by staying ahead of the curve by launching a seemingly-constant rotation of impressive limited edition products, usually with fashion-forward themes. Though it's impossible to review every limited edition product, many of M.A.C.'s are as impressive as those in their permanent collection.

Strengths: Some impressive moisturizers; praiseworthy foundations in a mostly gorgeous range of shades; good concealers; several great powder-based products including blush, bronzer, and eyeshadow in various finishes; dizzying array of lipstick shades in mostly sumptuous formulas; several very good mascaras (regular and waterproof); top-notch makeup brushes; many of the Prep + Prime products work as claimed.

Weaknesses:A few products with high levels of potential skin irritants.

For more information about M.A.C. Cosmetics call (800) 588-0070 or visit www.maccosmetics.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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