I’m usually a liquid lipstick wearer, because I don’t have the patience and attention to detail necessary to eat more carefully, regularly check for smudging or transfer, and reapply when needed, all of which creamy bullet lipsticks require of their wearers. However, one of the many joys (deep sarcasm) the pandemic has bestowed upon me personally is that after 14 months of wearing FFP2 grade masks for 8 hours a day 5 days a week at work, my usually oily-combo skin is now dry and flaky in certain areas, and my lips, which typically only require lip balm overnight, now freak. the. fuck. out. when I wear long-lasting lipsticks. If I wear my Holy Grail lip product, the Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink liquid lipsticks for, say, a Saturday blog shoot for a few hours, my lips will now feel incredibly dry and perhaps chapped for several days afterwards, necessitating endless lip balm applications until they recover.
Since my skin is now high maintenance, I haven’t been thrilled by the notion of my lips becoming so too, and as such I’ve been eagerly awaiting the UK launch of Maybelline’s Ultimatte Color Sensational Slim lipsticks in the hopes they would give me the matte finish I crave in a lightweight but hydrating formula that my lips would be less mad about. Do they? Let’s take a look.
According to Maybelline, these Ultimatte lipsticks are ‘formulated with texture blurring gels for a smooth matte finish.’ A new Neo Neutrals shade range has recently launched in the US, but here in the UK we’ve only just got the release of (most of) the original shade range that the US got last spring. The original 10 colours were More Buff, More Taupe, More Truffle, More Blush, More Magenta, More Rust, More Mauve, More Scarlet, More Ruby, and More Berry. So far, I haven’t spotted Berry, Truffle or Magenta anywhere, so I suspect this is one of those occasions where the US gets a few more shades than we do here in the UK.
I ordered 4 shades utilising different offers available online from Boots and Superdrug as neither site had all colours available when they launched a couple weeks back. Now, both have all 7 shades that appear to be available, but below I’ll be showing you the 4 I picked up; More Buff, More Rust, More Scarlet and More Ruby.
Packaging: A slim bullet lipstick, the packaging has a matte finish with an ombre effect of black at the base fading out into the opaque colour of the lipstick shade. ‘Ultimatte’ is printed in silver capitals on the lid on one side, with Maybelline’s logo on the other also in silver. It’s a light plastic tube, which will slip easily into your bag or dress’s pocket. I think it looks a lot chicer than Maybelline’s Matte Ink lipsticks with their white plastic lids. The lipstick itself is slim and has a flat top, which I find much easier to apply than the traditional shape of bullet lipsticks.
Texture: A lightweight but highly pigmented matte formula, it applies with excellent opacity in a single swipe and sits comfortably. On the lips it feels light and soft, not as creamy as a standard cream or satin lipstick, but not as dry as a matte bullet lipstick, and lighter than both types. During wear I forgot about it to the extent that I would forget about a heavy lip balm–sort of aware it’s there, but not consciously focusing on it because it’s comfortable.
Wear: This isn’t a long-lasting formula, nor does it promise to be one, so it will transfer. As such, it did need reapplying after I ate, but from merely drinking by straw over the course of a couple hours it wasn’t too noticeable on my lips that I was losing product to the straw, even though the straw made it obvious that I was. The lipstick reapplies smoothly with no piling or rubbery feeling, so in reality topping up a few times throughout the day isn’t an issue if you’re already used to not wearing transfer-proof lipsticks. Below I’ve put a collage of how the lipstick looked after each thing I ate, without reapplying in between.
Please note that I have a sinus issue that means I have to blow my nose throughout the day, so some of the wear to the outline of the upper lip is a result of being accidentally touched by tissues and therefore isn’t a perfect reflection of how the lipstick would wear in that area for a person who doesn’t have to blow their nose regularly. The lipstick didn’t feather and wear away on my lower outer lip line, because it wasn’t being knocked or pressed against, so that’s a truer example of how it would wear for the average person around the lip line.
Applied at 9am, this is how the lipstick looked after each item I ate as detailed below, without reapplying at all:
1 – After drinking a small iced coffee by straw
2 – After eating a pack of crisps (bag of potato chips, for all you Americans reading)
3 – After eating a salad and onion rings, with a soda drunk through a straw
4 – After reapplying the lipstick for the first time following the salad
Unlike liquid lipsticks, because this formula is creamy I could rub my lips together after taking photos 1 and 2 and the product would redistribute slightly so that the centre no longer looked as worn away. Plus, I deliberately parted my lips so you could see exactly what product was lost, but holding my lips as they naturally sit closed it wasn’t obvious at all that the lipstick had worn away from the drinking and snacking. I deliberately chose some creamy and greasy items to eat to test this lipstick’s limits, and I ate as I normally would without being careful of the lipstick, so I think it’s pretty understandable it wore away so much during the full meal considering this lipstick doesn’t come with any long-lasting promises. It reapplied perfectly after the lunch photo was taken.
699 More Buff
More Buff is a pale brown pink. The arm swatches above show the best out-of-the-tube representation of the shade as it is, but on me you can see it reads very pale and totally washes me out. More Blush would probably be a better shade for me as it’s more pink, but I ordered More Buff because it was the only remaining shade available at the time and was free in the deal I was ordering from, so it was worth it to swatch for you. It’s a good nude shade for many skin tones but would probably benefit from a warmer/darker lipliner smudged around the outer lips for most skin tones.
299 More Scarlet
A true classic red, it isn’t as blue-toned as More Ruby. Similar in red tones to the Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink in ‘Dancer.’
899 More Rust
A warm muted terracotta, this is probably my favourite shade among the shades I picked up because I love an autumn vibes lipstick. A great option for when you don’t want to go for a full red.
199 More Ruby
A rich blue-toned ruby red, it’s cooler and darker than More Scarlet.
Maybelline Comparisons: The Maybelline Super Stay Matte Inks are a thicker, tackier liquid lipstick formula, which last exceptionally well (up to 16 hrs) but do feel heavier on the lips, and can leave lips feeling dry after removing from a long day of wear. They require an oil or dual formula makeup remover to take them off, and also don’t have a completely matte finish, despite their name. The Matte Ink Crayons more lightweight and comfortable than the liquid lipsticks are, but the staying power is halved as a result. They might need reapplying during a full day’s wear, particularly after eating, but they can be removed with standard makeup removers. The Maybelline Super Stay 24hr lipsticks are a thin lightweight liquid lip formula that come with a balm topper that can be applied after the colour formula has dried down, providing a hydrated feeling throughout the day. The balm does create a semi-glossy finish, so they’re not matte, but they won’t budge or smudge and do last relatively well through eating and drinking. They can flake off slightly through consumption, but reapplication is easy enough. In comparison to these 3, the Ultimattes offer the light feel and comfort most like the 24hr lipsticks, and are lighter than the Crayons, but they don’t have the staying power of either of them, instead offering a more subtle-feel creaminess. They do last better than a bog standard bullet lipstick, but if longevity and transfer-proof wear is your top priority, as it typically is for me, these will probably disappoint you. If comfort is your main concern, these are a great option.
Overall rating: I really like these, I’d say they’re a 5/5 for what they are and what they offer, which is a lightweight matte formulation with good pigmentation. In pre-Covid times these wouldn’t have offered much use to me personally, as most of my social life revolved around eating a meal with friends or family, and ending up with lipstick smudged on my chin or teeth made bullet lipsticks a no-go for my vanity and patience. However, since my social life is still largely non-existent due to Covid precautions, and is usually masked or digital when there is the odd plan, wearing more hydrating lipsticks is definitely a more comfortable and sensible option to help keep my lips happy. For as long as I’m wearing a mask daily at work, I think I’ll be opting for these lipsticks for blog shoots and social occasions to avoid the dry lips rebound effect that liquid lipsticks are currently giving me. I do miss the 100% pigmentation punch that the Matte Ink liquid lips give, compared to that softer 90% look all other lipsticks offer, but that slight trade off is worth it for happier lips. I’d happily buy more colours and hope the missing 3 do come to the UK at some point because More Magenta is calling to me.
All in all, if you like bullet lipsticks and matte formulas, I’d recommend these.