What’s the measure of a good makeup product? Pigmentation? Longevity? Packaging? That’s sort of like judging a pair of shoes based on how high the heel is or how square the toe is—valid, but it undercuts you, the wearer, in every respect. What about comfort? It’d be nice if makeup could look as good as it felt, like when designers slip a hidden elastic waistband in their trousers or when orthotic clogs cycle back into style. Comfort is the unsung hero of makeup and I plan on singing it until the cows come home—starting with lipstick.
Matte: Ohii Lip Smudge
Comfort level: A hoodie that is also a dress
Color range: Five shades, including neutrals, red-adjacent hues, and one festive pink
Mattes are notorious for having a very uncomfortable wearing experience. And why wouldn’t they? Most of them use kaolin—the same stuff in clay masks—which turns your mouth into Popeye’s biscuits. Not Lip Smudge. It actually blurs lip lines while retaining a true powdery finish. Liquid lipsticks, circa 2015, dragged matte formulas through the trenches. It seemed like every company was releasing one, and each formula was crisiper than the next. I consider Ohii’s to be a redemption story.
Satin: YSL Tatouage Couture Liquid Matte Stain
Comfort level: Tagless (and wireless) undergarments
Color range: 22 shades, including corals, reds, purples, mauves and some MLBB shades
Speaking of liquid lipsticks: YSL made one that is just north of genius. It truly, truly feels like nothing on your mouth. It never quite dries down, so I wouldn’t expect the same transfer-proof Teflon I alluded to above, but in exchange, you get a product that feels like eye cream and a true satin finish. It also wears off mercifully, so there’s not the horrifying ring of pigment surrounding otherwise naked-as-sin lips during your 2PM. touch-up.
Glossy: 3CE Glow Jam
Comfort level: Taking down a ponytail at the end of the day
Color range: 10 shades, including several muted pinks, one berry, and one brown
Sometimes, when a formula is too emollient, it can feel like you piled on a ton of Chapstick or snarfed down some oily noodles. Glow Jam is somehow glossy without being slippery while still gripping, so you don’t feel like it’s migrating about as creamier formulas can. Often, glossy lips mean Sliding Doors-level goop (read: two Goops), sticking to itself, doing that thing from The Matrix to your mouth. Glow Jam is more like Brad Pitt after 1997 (read: no Goop).
Photos via ITG.