I am so excited to get to a post that really gets to the point of my blog – looking at the hype behind a product, trying to understand where the hype comes from, and why I bought the product even though I am consciously trying to avoid buying products just because everyone else is buying them.
Today I’m talking about the much talked about Pat McGrath Mattetrance and Luxetrance lipsticks. At a pricey $38 a pop, these are not cheap thrills. Yet somehow they caused ripples in the makeup industry. These lipsticks promised to deliver opaque pigmentation and long lasting power without drying or bleeding. Now that sounds great, but in an industry where brands seem to be competing for the best liquid lipsticks with metallic, or even worse, “holographic” finishes, a regular lipstick bullet almost seems boring by comparison.
Yet for me, they are one of the most exciting lipstick launches of the past year, and judging by all the blogger/influencer talk about it, many people seem to be excited by these. Before I get to the formula and the actual product, let’s talk about the brand.
Pat McGrath, I’m sure all of you know by now, is one of the most influential makeup artists of our time. She was the person that made me want to be a makeup artist as a young pre-teen, after seeing all the looks she was doing on the runway. While that makeup artist dream never worked out for me, I still admire the work that she’s done to this day.
[All photos from Google]
There are literally dozens and dozens of her work that I could put here, but here are some of the favorites that I ogled over the years.
So when she came out with her own makeup line, people were excited. Her products sold out immediately. For me, as I was transitioning into the “real world” post college, the metallic pigments she first launched were too editorial for me, who had somewhat regrettably grown out of the editorial experimental makeup phase of my life, and who had moved on to neutrals and office-friendly makeup. But I always kept an eye on the releases, hoping that one day I would find something from her line that I loved and could use daily.
Then she released lipsticks. At first, I really tried to resist, because again, $38 is a lot for a lipstick. Possibly the most expensive lipsticks I’ve ever bought. But after seeing swatches, reading dozens of reviews, I gave in to the urge to try them.
I’ll say that I fully believe the hype behind these lipsticks is because of the woman behind it all, Pat McGrath. As a makeup artist, she has broken barriers into what used to be a very white-dominated industry (and still is, in many ways). She has made makeup work for people of all colors and sizes, and she pushes boundaries not only with the people she works with, but in the artistry that she does. It’s truly artistry. With most other celebrity/personality brands, I could be less interested, but Pat McGrath is truly an expert, and I trust her vision and design for the brand.
So back to the lipsticks – I think it’s the artistry and creativity that Pat McGrath brings into her products that make these truly worth it. Right from the packaging, these lipsticks are different. Instead of a usual boring cardboard box, the box is beautifully designed, with gorgeous illustrations, and the string tie keeping it closed also adds to the uniqueness of the packaging.
Inside, the bullet itself is also quite unique. First of all, it’s heavy. Much heavier than an normal lipstick. As a result, the case also feels extremely sturdy. Now, the actual design is something that veers on the territory of tacky, but somehow manages to still sit on the side of cool and unique for me. I think Pat McGrath is the only person who could do that. I am not usually a black with gold hardware person; in fact, I usually hate it. But with these, I don’t mind it so much. The gold lip embossing is also not usually my style, but it’s just out there enough for me to make it a collection worthy piece to display.
The color range on these lipsticks – both for the LuxeTrance and MatteTrance formula is great, to. There are neutrals, pinks, reds, and dark shades that are opaque and complement all skintones, and they are shades that are wearable. I’m all for blue and green lipsticks, but when it comes to a lipstick that I grab for work, neutrals and reds are what I’m going to go for.
The shades that I have are:
- She’s Heaven – A neutral brown mauve shade
- Beautiful Creature – a plum shade
- Omi – a neutral rose shade
I bought a lip kit from the Pat McGrath website that included Omi and one of the Permagel Ultra Lip Pencil in Suburbia, which is a perfect pairing as it’s a soft rose pink shade as well.
I’ll start with the LuxeTrance formula. It’s described as “a luxury cream formulation that laminates lips in a second skin of sensuously saturated colour while offering rich hydration and protection from free radicals.”
The pigmentation is definitely saturated, and the lipstick is very creamy, but not too soft or like it will slide around. They are absolutely full coverage lipsticks with one swipe, so if you’re not a fan of opaque coverage, these are not the lipsticks for you. You don’t need to press very hard to get intense pigment, so I apply these very lightly. But once they’re one, they shades I have have even coverage, and feel smooth, yet grippy on my lips. It’s almost as if it were a liquid lipstick, without the dry, moisture sucking feel of a liquid lipstick.
The MatteTrance formula aren’t quite as grippy, since they have a bit of a more powdery feel due to the matte formula. This makes it feel almost silky to apply, and although they’re matte, I don’t feel like it emphasizes any dry spots on my lips, either.
The wear time on both of these formulas are fantastic. I’m terrible with testing lipsticks because I’m constantly drinking water and snacking, but these easily last through light eating and a moderate meal with only slight fading, making these a perfect lipstick to get me through a day at work.
I also have chronically dry lips, so while these aren’t as drying as liquid lipsticks or other matte lipsticks, I do feel like my lips are slightly dry after 5 or 6 hours. But it still isn’t as drying as many lipsticks I have.
And really quickly on the lip liner – I wouldn’t buy this on its own, because it’s essentially a $25 lip liner, but it a nice pairing with Omi as part of the set. It glides on really smoothly, and does increase the wear time of the lipstick a couple hours. I always just forget to wear lip liner so I wouldn’t consider it a must-have product.
Onto some lip swatches:
I believe these are truly fantastic lipsticks, that almost make me want to shell out $38 for more immediately. The only reason I’m hesitating is because they’re a little too much for everyday wear for me. I like my lipsticks to be easy to apply, something I can grab while I’m running to the metro (sometimes literally), and with these lipsticks, I definitely need a mirror to take my time and apply. That said, they are an amazing lipstick to treat myself with, and if you like your lipstick finishes to be bold and opaque, I can’t recommend these enough.
Shades (range, tones, selection): 9/10
Have you tried any of Pat McGrath’s lipsticks before? What are your favorite shades?
As always, thanks for reading!
8 thoughts on “Review: Pat McGrath LuxeTrance and MatteTrance Lipstick”
Thank you for this comprehensive review. I agree with everything you said here. I think these lipsticks are definitely worth it. They lay down such rich saturated colour and feel luxurious on the lips.
In my view, the dryness issue is definitely a downside. I feel that I need to apply lip balm halfway through the day.
Agreed. The dryness isn’t a dealbreaker, since I have such dry lips anyway. They really are beautiful lipsticks!
I loved reading your review! I have a few of the Matte Trance lipsticks in my Sephora cart right now, but haven’t been able to press Checkout. Which formula do you prefer more?
I think for the deeper and more red shades, I’d prefer the MatteTrance formula, because the more powdery texture makes them easier to apply, but for the neutral shades, I think the LuxeTrance formula is more suitable, especially for a daytime/work look!
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It’s been a while since this was posted but I wanted to support that this has been one of the best comprehensive reviews I’ve read and truly helped me choose my Pat McGrath purchase. It’s also encouraged me to try more colors since it looks lovely on you. The pictures are most helpful since I have similar skin tone and Asian.
Thank you so much for the feedback! I”m glad my posts were helpful.
Wow they look great on you, and actually my favourite is the mix of colours! I have wanted to try her lipsticks for a while now, so I’m so glad you mentioned they’ can be a bit drying. For me that will lead almost instantly to a bout of eczema. Maybe I should try for a bullet…
Thanks for this great review!
I’m so glad this was helpful! I really loved her luxetrance formula though it seems to be discontinued, or at least many shades are no longer available.