Whenever I see a new liquid lipstick that claims to be transfer-proof I immediately get excited. Sleek is a smaller UK brand that I don’t think I’ve bought from in probably 8-10 years–in fact, I’m pretty sure the last thing I tried from them at that time was a liquid matte lipstick that disappointed me, so I haven’t thought of them since. I got served an ad on social media recently, however, for Sleek’s new Matte Me XXL liquid lipstick, and since the ad specifically stated that it’s a budge-proof formula I decided to give it a try.
I ordered 4 shades from Boots online where they have them reduced to £4.99 (from £6.49) and on buy one get one half price, then waited for them to arrive with both excitement but also a slight expectation of disappointment. The verdict? I do love them…some of them, that is. There’s a discrepancy of performance between shades that begs some attention, so let’s get into this!
The basic run-down on this product is that it’s a vegan, lightweight matte formula liquid lipstick. The applicator is a firm, short-haired doe foot wand. The formula dries down fully in less than a minute, to a light comfortable matte feel which is much lighter than my favourite liquid lip, Maybelline’s Superstay Matte Ink. The formula is pigmented enough for one one-swipe coverage, but because it’s a thinner formula the opacity isn’t as intense as the Matte Inks. Like all liquid lipsticks, it will soften and break down when eating and drinking, especially for oily or creamy foods, but it will last through drinking thin liquids, like water or tea, without a drastic amount of breakdown.
Now, I did find the two red shades applied differently than the two pinks, so let’s look at the swatches and get into that issue.
A rosy medium pink.
A blue-toned rich raspberry bright pink.
Left on Red
A subdued deep red.
A dark wine with purple undertones.
So here’s the problem. Left on Red and Vino Tinto applied patchily for me using the doe’s foot wand, with some areas looking much darker than others. Trying to even out the application with the wand just resulted in areas where the product kept building up, no matter how hard I tried to smooth it out, and it was very noticeable. On a different day, shown below, I used a lip brush to apply a thin layer of Left on Red and it applied much more smoothly. I was happy with this and felt it fixed the problem, but after having a snack and a drink for a wear test I reapplied using a brush still to the areas that had worn away and found that the patchiness returned. This didn’t happen at all with Birthday Suit or STFU when I reapplied after eating, so it seems to be an issue with the darker shades (wear test shown below.)
Moving forward, I’ll only be using Left on Red and Vino Tinto for times when I don’t expect to be eating or drinking so I can avoid reapplication, like blog photoshoots or short social occasions. The other shades perform through eating and drinking in exactly the same way as every other liquid lipstick I wear, so they don’t get marked down by me for that. It’s also worth bearing in mind that I don’t adapt how I eat or drink at all when wearing lipstick, with no delicate peeling back of the lips to avoid cutlery or any similar behaviours, so I’m sure careful and lipstick-conscious eaters will find these perform better than my wear tests suggest.
So, do I recommend these lipsticks?
– You’re interested in the lighter shades
– You’re on a budget, as they’re less than £5 each
– You love a truly matte finish but want a lightweight formula
– You want a transfer-proof formula
– You’re most interested in the darker colours
– You want long-lasting lipstick that doesn’t need reapplying at all throughout the day (though TBF, I haven’t ever found a lipstick that can last 100% through food and a full day’s wear flawlessly. I don’t think that magic exists.)
Overall I really loved the lighter shades and will get a lot of use out of them, especially on occasions where I don’t want to feel the thickness that Maybelline’s Matte Inks have on the lip. Left on Red and Vino Tinto will have really limited use for me, which is a shame because I liked the actual colours, if only they wore and reapplied like the other shades did.
Sleek Matte Me XXL Available in 8 shades for £6.49 but are on offer at Boots.com for £4.99 each, plus 20% off with code ‘TAKE20’ AND are buy 1 get 2nd half price.