Beauty Throwdown: Which bullet matte lipstick is the best?

If there’s one makeup product I’m guilty of hoarding, it would be lipsticks. From all the different kinds to shades beyond the basic five, I can’t seem to stop collecting and trying out the latest! Today’s focus is the reliable bullet matte lipstick. If you’re looking for the long-wearing, super pigmented kind, look no further than the matte ones. We’ve previously featured seven to try under P500 as well as the PV staff favorites. This next batch we’re trying out will hopefully show us just how far the supposedly drying matte lipsticks have come. Let's go!


The Classic: MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Kinda Sexy (P1,050 at MAC counters)

When I was ready to graduate from drugstore lipsticks, one of the first higher-end brands that I started collecting was MAC. The shades and finish selection are simply amazing, and it felt like a rite of passage to finally get one.

The shade I have here is Kinda Sexy, a peachy type of nude that blends into my lips as the day goes by. The trademark vanilla scent is pleasant though the formula goes on the lips with a bit of drag. It doesn’t feel as drying as expected of a matte but do note that this is the MAC Matte. I’ve been told that the Retro Mattes are far drier than the regular ones. Pigment is A+ and staying power is decent at around 3-4 hours depending on what I’m eating.


The Trendsetter: Colourpop Lippie Stix Matte X in Cami (~P450 from online sellers)

Colourpop’s Matte X line is a true flat matte that is quite comfortable to wear. The shade I have is Cami, which goes on a mauve-y pink but deepens in color once it has oxidized. Surprisingly it doesn’t dry out my lips and applies on smoothly. The pigmentation is superb, and this is one of the longer lasting lipsticks I’ve tried. I find that I like this formula a lot, especially considering the affordable the price, though they are not immediately available locally. You can get them from the Colourpop website (fill up your cart enough to avail of free shipping!) or from online sellers.

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The Groundbreaking Collab: Project Vanity x These Lips Don't Lie Matte Lip Crayon in Love at First Swipe (P399 at SM Beauty)

When Project Vanity first announced the “These Lips Don’t Lie” collab with Pink Sugar, I immediately went to the store to get Love at First Swipe. It’s a peachy brown shade that I double purpose as an emergency contour stick! I have to confess though: I’m not a huge fan of pencil-type lipsticks because I find that the caps usually come off in my bag. This one is no exception, so you must be careful in making sure the lipstick is tightly-capped.

Other than that issue, this is a comfortable lipstick with a bit of a sheen to it. It is not a true matte, which I like because it means that there’s a slight moisturizing effect to it. The pigmentation is solid and lasts quite a while, around 3-4 hours. And in defense of pencil types, this type is easier to apply as I can line my lips neatly before filling them in.


The Newcomer: Vice Cosmetics Good Vibes Matte Lipstick in Kavogue (P195 from

Vice Cosmetics Good Vibes Matte Lipstick is one of this year’s best launches. I’m quite a fan of the formula except for two things which I tend to overlook. One, the slightly plasticky smell compared to other lipsticks; and two, while it is adequately pigmented, I find that I have to swipe a few more times to get an even coverage.

In terms of finish, this also has a slight sheen, which probably adds to the comfort level when wearing it. And these lipsticks are easy to wear. The price is also pretty attractive as well as the staying power of around 3-5 hours. It only faded around the middle part because I’ve been sipping on hot chocolate and drenching chicken with extra gravy.

The Luxe Starter: Estee Lauder Pure Color Love Lipstick in Burning Love (P1,275 at Estee Lauder)

Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Love is the entry-level lipstick of Estee Lauder. I’m a huge fan of the Pure Color Envy Mattes so I was pretty thrilled when they launched this slightly more affordable line. And I’m still thrilled to this day as this lasts quite a long while, up to six hours with a bit of fading around the edges if I didn’t use any straws when drinking! It has that yummy Estee Lauder smell, though I have to note that this one drags the most upon application. But once it’s on, it’s on, and you’ll most probably be happy that you took the time to apply it.

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The Posh Local: Happy Skin Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Matte Lippie in Hot Stuff (P649 at Happy Skin)

Happy Skin is one of my favorite local brands as they have pretty reliable products across the board, the Moisturizing Matte Lippies included. Hot Stuff is one of their first matte lipstick releases and it’s a deep wine red shade that looks really, really good on! This is highly pigmented and goes on smoothly without drag. It also lives up to its name as it does feel moisturizing on even though it’s a matte. It does fade around the middle area from eating but most lipsticks do anyway.

 From left: MAC Kinda Sexy, Colourpop Cami, Project Vanity x These Lips Don’t Lie Love at First Swipe, Vice Kavogue, Estee Lauder Burning Love, Happy Skin Hot Stuff

From left: MAC Kinda Sexy, Colourpop Cami, Project Vanity x These Lips Don’t Lie Love at First Swipe, Vice Kavogue, Estee Lauder Burning Love, Happy Skin Hot Stuff

Overall, these lipsticks have elevated the matte finish game. I do have dry lips and prepping them with lip balm prior to application is a must but these lipsticks do not aggravate the condition. Pigmentation is excellent across the six tested here, and longevity is always decent. Save for some minor personal concerns and preference with form, smell, and price, each of these lipsticks has performed quite well! 

If you’re on a budget and want something easily accessible, you can’t go wrong with Vice Cosmetics or the Project Vanity x Pink Sugar collaboration. But if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and are willing to wait, Colourpop’s Matte X line may be your fit. Go for Happy Skin’s Shut Up and Kiss Me if you’re looking to advocate for the tried and trusted local brand. For the more luxurious lipstick feel in packaging and price, MAC’s always a classic and Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Love is an exciting entry point to the more expensive ones.

Which of these matte lipsticks will be on your holiday wishlist?