Nouveau Riche: The Newer, Richer Matte Lip

June 24, 2016 2:25 am by Gabriella Galvez

Our friends in the animal kingdom have it easy – none of them need makeup. Most of them have eye-catching scales, pelts, feathers, and a gamut of other integuments that serve a variety of purposes for anyone who makes them a prey. Protection from the harsh elements, dehydration, or abrupt temperature change is a functional purpose of the skin. Some animals have the curious ability to change skin color or grow colorful plumes, usually in order to protect themselves from predators or to help them attract the opposite sex. One only needs to access a portion of naturalist David Attenborough’s filmography to see the advantage some animals have over humans.

What does any of this have to do with makeup, or lipstick? Plenty, I say. At birth, humans have very little going for them in the skin/hair tone department. Some of us are even born hairless! Thankfully, the human race has had makeup, and hair dye to come to the rescue for non-committal appearance changes. You can’t really alter the genetics you were granted at conception (we’re coming pretty close these days though), but makeup allows you to work with the cards you’re dealt.

Given ample knowledge of the color wheel and makeup application techniques, we can change our hair, eye, lip, and cheek color with a few swipes and flicks of a brush – enough to put a chameleon to shame. The most creative among us resort to painting faces as makeup artists; live skin is the canvas that holds and preserves their art. This year, an old trend returns with a vengeance, the matte lip.

Drawing from the 1923 ‘swivel stick’ patent

Lipstick has been around for centuries, surely not in the tubes that we see nowadays but I can stake a guess that it’s been around since women have had to do more than household chores. Stains, crèmes, balms, glosses, lacquer – our lips have craved and enjoyed these textures from the moment we’ve seen someone wear them. Personally, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with matte lipstick: I’d get drawn to highly-pigmented matte formulas that contain little to no oil (and a larger percentage of wax) at the makeup counter, yet they’d be so drying when I finally put them on. However, the finished product is always worth the exfoliation and the application of moisturizing balm, and never tedious to do. I have yet to resist swiping on a deep matte red for the rare occasion when I wanted to channel my inner Clara Bow.

The “It” girl and her lipstick-adorned “Cupid’s bow” starred in so many silent movies in the roaring ‘20s that it was almost impossible to miss the way she painted her pucker. Add that to the fact that the ‘swivel-stick’ lipstick that we see all around was invented in 1923, and you see now why this specific makeup product has enjoyed the trajectory its had since then. New technology not only improves product quality, it also speeds up the pace for the mass-production of any consumer item.

Fast-forward to almost another century later and the effects of technology are evident with your every head-turn. Open your Instagram account and you will be greeted by all the brands known to mankind (cosmetic industry stalwarts like Maybelline, Max Factor, Guerlain, and Estée Lauder have also adapted to become internet-savvy), all peddling their wares to those of us who derive pleasure out of purchasing and applying a tube of colored wax onto our lips.

Nyx (@nyxcosmetics), ColourPop (@colourpopcosmetics), Ofra (@ofracosmetics), Dose of Colors (@doseofcolors), Too Faced (@toofaced), Charlotte Tilbury (@ctilburymakeup), even Bruce and Kris Jenner’s youngest daughter, Kylie, has her very own Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kit collection – all these makeup brands and their closest competition have mushroomed into view, waiting as we pledge our lip love from one shade to another.

Locally, we have brands like Happy Skin (@happyskin_ph), VMV Hypoallergenics (@vmvhypoallergenics), and Pink Sugar (@pinksugarph) who are breaking ground with affordable, quality mattes that could very well compete with international names, not only for their price points but also for their color, texture, and staying power.

With the abundance of all these options, it’s easy to see why our lip color preference changes as swiftly as the weather. Fashion runways of the globe provide not only inspiration for your (and every other fashion blogger’s) next #OOTD, they allow makeup observers to predict the next season’s makeup trends too, and they have shown that the new matte lip of 2016 is far from the matte of the 1920’s.

We have hydrating, kiss-proof mattes that stay on despite a lip-smacking meal, (or even some serious PDA), pigment-packed (whose shades are not exclusive to red) yet buildable formulas that guarantee you need only swipe once if needed, and mattes whose textures range from the startlingly opaque to the more subtle ombré (dark around the edges, and semi-translucent toward the inner lip). Don’t get me started on the Nars Multiple (they launched their matte shades in 2014) and the countless matte multi-taskers who’ve followed Nars’ lead, that have the makeup minimalist crowd swooning. Whatever your relationship is with the matte lip, this year will have you considering wearing the texture at the very least. It’s a veritable buffet, and it’s readily available for the modern lippie-lover to sink their teeth into.

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