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Mecca Franchise Logo The Mecca Guide

Find your perfect lip finish

January 1 | 4 minute read

Lip Finishes Guide Hero 16x9

Words by Arabella Roden

Originally published on | August 2

Sheer, matte, satin, cream – what does it all mean? It’s simple: the finish of a lip product describes the texture, pigmentation, longevity and feel. Ready to find your perfect lip match?

A sheer wash of colour

Feather-light and super natural, the sheer lip finish provides a subtle wash of colour to create the coveted your-lips-but-better effect. Often combined with nourishing, hydrating ingredients for a balm-like texture, they’re ideal for those with dry lips. Plus, the colour won’t noticeably feather or bleed – though you may need to reapply it throughout the day. For an express day look, swipe or blot MECCA MAX Pout Pop Sheer Lipstick across your lips. Searching for something even more low-key? Try Lanolips’ Tinted Balm SPF30.

A stay-all-day matte

Not for the faint-hearted, matte is the queen bee of the lip playground. While mattes provide the most robust colour pay-off – and have the greatest staying power, meaning no reapplication necessary – of all lip finishes, they also have the lowest moisture content, meaning they can emphasise dryness, lines, or patchiness. For this reason, it’s important to properly prep (exfoliate, prime and line) before you swipe on your favourite matte lip product, such the appropriately named Matte Revolution from Charlotte Tilbury or Kylie Beauty’s iconic Matte Liquid Lipstick.

A classic creamy texture

With maximum moisturisation, bold colour that rivals mattes and a silky-smooth and soft texture, cream finish lip products are a staple of makeup bags everywhere. Some of our top picks? A classic red lip courtesy of Too Faced’s Lady Bold Lipstick in ‘Lady Bold 01’, and Laura Mercier’s Rouge Essentiel Silky Crème Lipstick in ‘Rouge Profond’ (’90s vibes, anyone?). Remember – while the hydrating properties provide that signature glide-on comfort, they can also cause bleeding and feathering, which makes lip liner a cream finish lipstick’s best friend.

A satin for everything in between

An all-rounder lip finish, satin finishes check every box: intense colour, lasting wear, sheen and hydration. Taking its name from the smooth, slippery fabric, the texture of satin lip products is soft and comfortable (and they won’t drag or skip as you apply). With the comfort of a cream, the pigmentation of a matte and a touch of shimmer, satins are perhaps the most reached-for lip products for all occasions. Some of MECCA’s most-loved? Byredo Lipstick and M.A.C Cosmetics Satin Lipstick.

A velvet lip-stain

A versatile lip finish that sits somewhere between matte and satin, velvet lip products – think Westman Atelier Lip Suede in ‘Les Rouges’ and NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in ‘Red Square’ – combine punchy pigmentation with a supremely comfortable texture (despite looking almost fuzzy in the pan or bullet, like velvet fabric). Also known as suede, the velvet lip finish doesn’t have the same drying effect or finish as a matte, nor is it as glossy or creamy as a satin; instead, it imparts a buildable stain on the lips that won’t bleed, and plays nice when layered with other lip products.

A glossy, high shine

There’s nothing quite like glossy, high-shine lips. Super slick and packed with a fine shimmer, this scene-stealing finish is sensual, dramatic and a favourite for ‘editorial’ beauty looks (think ’80s-inspired vinyl lips). Ultra-hydrating, high-shine products also make your lips look plumper. From nude glosses (a MECCA favourite: Kosas’ Wet Lip Plumping Treatment Gloss in ‘Unzipped’) to liquid lipsticks (such as By Terry’s Lip-Expert Shine Liquid Lipstick in ‘4 Hot Bare’), high-shine products have more pigment than sheer ones and amp up the reflective factor to the max.

Related topics and brand tags

MakeupLipsLip glossLip liner

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