Staff picks: Our favorite lipstick finishes


My first introduction to lipstick was a revelation. I was six when a tube of creamy pink lipstick was swiped on my lids, cheeks, and lips. I found the versatility intriguing but it was very uncomfortable, to say the least, as it was so sticky that I was convinced I wouldn’t like putting it on when I grew up. I was never more wrong.

From satin to creamy, sheer to stain, and glossy to matte, the geniuses behind lipstick wizardry have seemingly concocted a perfect lipstick finish to suit each person’s liking and lifestyle. Read on to find out the PV team’s faves finishes and which lipsticks we usually reach for.

Liz: I'm all for good old satin finishes - I adore the slight shine that makes lips more full and interesting. But as it is the year of matte lipstick, I am also loving the full coverage and zero shine look! I can't stand the dryness though so when I got to formulate my own matte lipstick line, I made sure the texture was creamy and non-drying. It's not a full-on Kylie liquid lipstick matte, but it's a creamy matte that's comfortable and much less fussy.

Den: I don't like having to tote around a separate lip balm so I usually go for moisturizing formulas that have a satin to demi-matte finish. Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm (in Tease) and Burt's Bees Lipstick (in Russet River) are my current go-tos. I love that they give much-needed hydration to my lips, plus the eye-catching shades make me look made up even if I just have sunscreen on!

Kim: I don't really have a favorite lipstick finish. My choice of formula depends on the rest of my makeup look. I like using tints for simple makeup days and creamy but matte lipsticks when I have more than two shades of eye makeup on.

Marielle: I usually go for satin or glossy lipstick finishes. Comfort is a huge factor as I hate the feeling of dry, cracking lips that some matte lipsticks are known for. I don't mind having to reapply often as long as I'm getting a good level of hydration out of a lippie. One of my faves is the Revlon Lip Butters that I have four or five colors of. I don't really have a lipstick I use most. Whatever's in my makeup bag at the moment is what I reach for by default.

Angela: I like all finishes. I love using matte because it's usually transfer-proof but I also love using gloss because it gives me a posh-girl vibe. Creamy formulas do not dry out my lips, so I like them too. My current favorite is the suede formula of Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede in Finale. It's smooth at first but it dries to a matte finish without being too thick. It's not too drying if I apply lip balm beforehand and the color stays on the whole day. It's my perfect red lipstick for everyday! I also love the new Project Vanity lippies because they are demi-matte, very pigmented, and super moisturizing - definitely what my lips need.

Katsy: My favorite lipstick finish changes all the time, depending on my mood and the weather. Right now I'm loving sheer and moisturizing lipsticks. This one is Dare to Bare from By Terry, which has hyaluronic acid that supposedly gives the lips a plumping and moisturizing effect.

Gett: I'm a matte girl through and through. I like how most of them are pigmented in one swipe, and I like the somewhat flat finish they give so that it's all about the color. While they do take a bit of effort to apply, I find that it's worth it since they usually have good lasting power. My most used lipstick, however, does not have a matte finish: MAC Rebel. It's a versatile berry color that I can sheer out or pile on, depending on my mood.

Marianne: I like a matte or demi-matte finish best because it's long-wearing, and I personally don't mind the drying quality since I always put a bit of balm on my lips before applying any product on them. My current faves are the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, but I also really love Colourpop's Lippie Stix in Brink because it's the perfect rosy brown for everyday use even if I don't really bother putting any other makeup on.

Claire: I love them all: matte, satin, gloss, metallic and everything in between! The one I (ab)use the most is Sleek MakeUp's Matte Me in Birthday Suit. I mean, look at that serious dent—it's only been with me for over a month and I'm already 1/4 through with it. It makes me look instantly polished, and it's transfer-proof so I don't worry about leaving kiss marks on my husband and kids. And best of all, it works with all looks—even an almost bare face!

Charlie: I’ve always been drawn to matte lippies because they stay on the longest on my lips and they’re not too distracting (especially when wearing an MLBB shade) because they’re not glossy or super shiny. I also find most matte formulations low maintenance in terms of reapplication. My current favorite matte lippie are the Colourpop Lippie Stix in Lumiere. It’s pigmented and not so drying on the lip. It’s just my luck that they’re now easier to get a hold of so I can get more colors!

Do you have a favorite lipstick finish? What type of formula do you usually go for?