Next to foundation, lipstick has the most variety of any makeup product we use today. But beyond choosing the correct color, finding the right finish is just as important. A lipstick’s finish will ultimately determine its texture, staying power, pigmentation and overall appearance — the most popular being matte, creme, satin and gloss. When in doubt, a good place to start is by knowing the shape and condition of your lips, as well as what your desired end result will be. Are you hoping to add volume? Do you want to go bold? We’re breaking down everything you need to know.
The most sought after finish in recent years has been matte, which by definition refers to a color, paint or surface that is without flat and without shine. Matte lipsticks can give your lips a velvety-looking texture, which helps colors appear richer and more vibrant. They’re also the longest lasting because they’re virtually fade and smudge proof. That means fewer touch-ups throughout the day.
The major difference between glosses and all other finishes is that they’re meant to give off shine, not color. A true gloss is usually softer in shade and more transparent, designed to accentuate the natural shape and texture of your lips. Sometimes a gloss can even add volume by giving the illusion that your lips are plumper and fuller than normal.
A creme finish falls somewhere in between a matte and a gloss by putting emphasis on the color and not on the texture. It’s neither sticky nor flat, it goes on smooth and it’s hydrating to the lips themselves. Typically you won’t see any sort of shimmer or glitter but they are highly-pigmented for maximum payoff.
To put it simply, satin is the lovechild of a creme and a matte finish. It has shiny properties similar to a gloss which makes imperfections less noticeable, but bright colors are still able to pop. A nude satin lipstick on the other hand is basically just an upgraded version of your own lip color, making it ideal for someone who is looking for convenience and low maintenance.