Decoded: All MAC lipstick finishes and textures

MAC lipsticks are all about color and texture. While most people probably pick lipstick shades because they find a color suitable, most MAC lipstick lovers find themselves selecting MAC lipsticks according to their formula and finish along with color. I, personally, have formula preferences. The finish, texture, lasting power and colour opacity of MAC lipsticks can vary quite considerably between different formulas.

Here is a complete guide to understand and choose MAC lipstick texture and finishes. Enjoy!


True to the claim the MAC Matte lipsticks are matte, completely opaque with mind-blowing high pigmentation, lasting power and coverage. The only con is that they are drying, both whilst on the lips and afterwards. So, if you are a matte lover, you need to strike up a friendship with a good lip balm. Alot of the matte shades are varying shades of red also (Russian Red, Ruby Woo).

Staying power: These last about 4-5 hours on most. These tend to fade out rather than disappear in patches off the lips.

Few of the most popular of this line:  Chili, Dangerous, Runway Hit, Steady Going, Matte Royal, Instigator, Antique Velvet and Stone, Studded Kiss, Persistence, Whirl, Naturally Transformed, Men Love Mystery, D for Danger and Pink Pigeon


Retro Matte 

Very similar to the matte formula, but the formula is more matte and more drying on the lips. You have to tug on your lips a bit to apply these, but the pigmentation and the finish are OMG, gorgeous! You definitely need to exfoliate and moisturize your lip to saturation to ensure perfect application and stay. Some find this range as one of the trickiest to work with.

Staying power: These last more than 4-5 hours.

Few of the most popular of this line:  Ruby Woo, Relentlessly Red, Flat Out Fabulous, All Fired Up.


Amplified/Amplified Crème

The Amplified line comprises of mostly bright, popping colours, as suggested by the name and some of the colours are particularly vivid (say, Impassioned).

These have the pigmentation is rich like a matte lipstick and dry to a semi- matte finish, and give full color on their first swipe. They are quite creamy and hydrating. They do not parch your lips like some other MAC lipsticks, like Retro Mattes do.

Staying power: Lasts about 3 to 4 hours (depending on skin condition, application technique, meals etc) before you need to reapply.

For Amplified cream, because of the glossiness, the wear-time might not be long, with a tendency to feathering or bleeding over the lip line. I suggest using a good lip liner with these.

Few of the most popular of this line: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Vegas Volt, Brick-O-La And Dubonnet, Chatterbox, Show Orchid, Morange, Craving, Fast Play



Good colour payoff with medium to high frosted shimmer-to-shine finish. These can appear metallic/shimmery/iridescent on the lips. Some of these are a bit drying. The pigmentation can be quite hit or miss. The finish varies from some very frosty to just shimmery sheen.

Few of the most popular of this line: Angel, Coconutty, Delish, Eden Rocks, Bronze Shimmer, Frenzy, Jist



These lipsticks are super soft and creamy and have a finish on the lips which is somewhat like a creamy gloss. These are not as pigmented as the Amplified or Matte ones but still fairly full-coverage. The Cremesheen formula comes in many neutral shades and that’s probably a reason of this being one of MAC’s most popular lipstick finishes. These are definitely amongst the most comfortable lipsticks to wear because they feel quite moisturizing for the lips.

Staying power: I also find that they only last about two hours before they need to be touched up.

Few of the most popular of this line: Shy Girl, Crème d’ Nude, Crème Cup, and Lickable


Cremesheen Pearl

As the name suggests, these lipsticks’ formula and finish is the same as the Creamsheen, but with a bit of frostiness throughout. They feel very similar to the regular Cremesheens, but are a little less pigmented and creamy.

Few of the most popular of this line: Coral Bliss and Pink Pearl Pop


The Satin finishes are quite matte like the Matte formula, but with a bit of added sheen and a little less drying on the lips.  They give a pretty opaque coverage. These, kind of, have a matte finish with a slight hint of shine/shimmer- but only very slightly. Do make sure that the lips are well moisturized because these can be a little unforgiving for the drier lips. They are creamier than the Matte line but not as creamy as Cremesheen range.

Staying power: They wear for about 5 hours

Few of the most popular of this line: Rebel, MAC Red, Myth, and Snob



These are not very pigmented, and probably the most sheer of all MAC lipsticks. It provides the most natural finish, while looking glossy. They give a finish like a lip gloss than a lipstick, in my opinion.

Staying power: They are also not that long lasting- I would get about two hours maximum wear out of this.

Few of the most popular of this line: Hue and Pervette



This formula gives sheer coverage, with a sheen. The finish is very similar to the Glaze line, but with a bit more coverage and buildable color coverage. They are glossy, so they are not the most long-wearing. They are very comfortable to wear on the lips.

Staying power: Because of the creaminess, you can get about 1-2 hours of wear.

Few of the most popular of this line: Plink, Syrup, Hug Me, Jubilee, and Patisserie.


Beyond standard finishes, there are,

Pro Longwear Lipcreme: The finish is uniquely intermediate between matte and glossy. MAC claims the staying power of the lipstick to be around 12 hours. I find that it lasts an impressive 8 hours with minimal fading and no trace of feathering. In spite of being long-wearing, they are not very drying.


Sheen Supreme: They have the color pay-off of a lipstick, but are very glossy like a lipstick. They wear about a good 3 hours. The lighter shades will wear for less. Some complain that the lighter colors tend to settle into lines on the lips. They are very comfortable to wear as they are moisturizing. Despite being glossy, they are not sticky on the lips.


Mineralize Rich: This formula really is fantastic. This line boasts a formula comprised of 77 different minerals. It is a very rich and creamy lipstick formula, even creamier than the Cremesheen formula. The color glides on opaquely, but still gives a nice sheen. They are extremely comfortable to wear and last for about 3 hours.


Mattene: These lipsticks are creamy to apply and comfortable to wear. They give completely opaque coverage. They last for an impressive 4 hours before they even begin to fade. Mattene lipsticks are not a permanent product for MAC (big sigh!), but are released with limited edition collections from time to time.


Dazzle: This contains micro-glitter to the maximum effect. For an analogy, think Dazzleglass but in lipstick form! The formula isn’t gritty, but there is a noticeable texture of glitter. They are very glittery, shimmering, and dazzling. The effect may be too much for some to wear alone.  Though MAC claims this to be long-lasting the glitter stays on for longer but the base color fades.


Lip Treatment: Not really a lip colour though. This is Colour-free, texture-free. This care product provides natural healthy-looking lips.

What is/are your favorite finish/es? Don’t forget to share.

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