Mattes for Non-Millennials
In the 1990s, I loved a matte lip. For day, it was brown, like Rachel wore on Friends; for night, it was red-brick a la Gwen Stefani. And MAC lipsticks were the ultimate, with their rich, opaque, uber-flat finish and vanilla scent. But when grunge and MTV’s TRL went away, so did matte lipcolor. For about ten years. Then, a few daring brands began to dabble in mattes again, and as an editor, I championed the comeback. Then I swiped one on. Things were good (and nostalgic) for five minutes. Then it was hell.
Turns out 40-year-old lips don’t handle a matte finish like they did at 27. The formula felt like shrink wrap: tight, suffocating and dry. And the color started to peel off within twenty minutes. My considerably dryer skin, coupled with an age-related, decreased tolerance for discomfort, put me off mattes. . .until recently.
A few weeks ago, I was interviewing Jane Park, founder of Julep, for an upcoming What Works (you will love learning more about her—look for that post next week), and she mentioned her 90s obsession with MAC mattes too. As a middle schooler, she even used to take the train to the original MAC kiosk outside a subway station in Toronto. “I was fascinated. They had this simple black aesthetic and the most amazing colors and formulas. The matte lipcolors were my favorite,” she recalled.
However, Jane, unlike me (and probably most of you) owns a beauty company and could do something about the dearth of wearable, comfortable matte for non-millennials. In fact, to make sure the matte formula she created for Julep was truly the best of all worlds (matte and moist, if that was even possible), she made the creation a collective effort, involving more than 80,000 Julep users in the process, asking them to weigh in on the feel of the formula, the shade range, even the applicator.
The result: Julep It’s Whipped Matte Lip Mousse is a marvel. On, it looks like my MAC from 1998. But it feels like regular lipcolor. It is also super long-lasting, like most mattes, even staying (mostly) put through my morning latte and avocado toast. Jane’s favorite colors are Ooh La La, a pinky taupe, and Smooch, a classic red that’s very Gwen S. to me. I like Say Hello, a brownish-pink (very 90s), and Bisou, a mauvey shade that mimics what childrens’ lips look like naturally. This summer, I may get daring and give Beso a try too; it’s a deep coral.
If you try It's Whipped, let me know what you think. I'd also love to know what other former trends you wish some beauty brand would bring back. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tell us all in the Comments section, below.