From now on, in my opinion, there are two kinds of lipstick: lipsticks made by Pat McGrath and lipsticks made by everyone else. Today, McGrath revealed the details of her next product and the closest she’s gotten to a “traditional” makeup launch (or as close as she could ever get to traditional) — a line of nine classic bullet lipsticks called Pat McGrath Labs Lust MatteTrance.
As with any of McGrath’s launches, there are many reasons why the Lust MatteTrance lipsticks are special, first and foremost being that she brings over 25 years of experience working with the most famous photographers and models in the business and consulting for numerous makeup brands. Over the past two decades she’s tried out nearly every lipstick that has ever launched, meaning she knows a thing or two about what makes a good bullet and what doesn’t. She also brings her diverse sources of inspiration and unique vision about makeup, as you can see with this video about the launch that McGrath shared exclusively with Allure below.
Let’s start with the formula, which McGrath painstakingly labored over for years to get just right — an intense matte that isn’t too dry and feels feather light. “I didn’t want a matte that felt like concrete,” she said, hinting at the current obsession for heavy-duty, long-lasting matte liquid lipsticks that feel (and look) like shrink wrap over your mouth. “This formula doesn’t mask the natural texture of your lips,” she explains. “It works beautifully on top of a lip pencil, swiped on straight from the tube, or — how I always like to apply lipstick — tapped on with fingers.” In fact the formula was tweaked particularly so it could be used for that purpose. “Most lipsticks, even mattes, are little greasy, but the Lust MatteTrance shades almost have a powdery finish; in fact, they feel and look like pure pigment, the payoff is incredible.”
Getting to try the formula at the event, I can confirm this formula feels weightless and totally comfortable (more spandex, less shrink wrap…in fact, not even close to shrink wrap). And I’m not the only one who noticed the difference. When testing the lipsticks at Prada’s fall 2017 show back in February, the models kept asking McGrath and her team what they were using (it was a mix of two of the new lipsticks, de-potted into unmarked, clear jars). “They were so impressed by how it felt that they wanted to know what it was — I can tell you that rarely happens,” laughs McGrath.
McGrath created the shades to work on all skin tones, each of which can be purchased individually or as part of a three-piece set (but alas, like the rest of her products, they’re limited edition and only available until supplies last). “When you package them together, it allows you to mix the colors and create ombré and other special effects,” says McGrath. “It also gives you options if you’re a person who loves brights, or loves nudes, or love darks.”
There are the nudes, all packaged in The Batch: Skin Show, a kit that includes Omi (a mid-tone rose), 1995 (a brownish-nude), and Flesh 3 (a dark chocolate-y rose). The Batch: Colour Blitz, is a trio of bright hues including Elson (a true, blue-based red), Obsessed! (a bright, non-chalky orange), and Full Panic (fuchsia); and finally there’s The Batch: Vicious Venoms, which is a set of darks that includes Antidote (an orchid purple), McMenamy (a deep burgundy), and Deep Void (a moody blackberry). And while McGrath says that each one of these shades have a special meaning to her — colors she’s used continuously throughout her career on editorial shoots and on her muses — there are three colors that could be considered extra special, made specifically for — and named after — a few of the makeup artist’s lifelong friends and muses. “Omi” is based off a custom color McGrath has mixed for model Naomi Campbell for years, while Elson is the specific shade of red McGrath made for model Karen Elson, and McMenamy is a browny-beige McGrath created just for ’90s model icon, Kristin McMenamy.
When it comes to the packaging, this marks the first time McGrath has designed her own, the previous launches coming in plain, black plastic compacts to better allow the innovative formulas to take center stage. Not this time. McGrath wanted the tube to feel glamorous — something you don’t mind whipping out of your purse and showing off — and to have a touch nostalgic. The black tubes are metal, versus plastic, and have gold detailing, giving them an Old Hollywood vibe and a feeling of cool weightiness when held in the palm of your hand. Then there’s the pair of 3-dimensional lips right at the base, a nod to surrealism, according to McGrath, which is a recurring theme throughout her work.
And if you haven’t already gotten the point that McGrath agonized over every, little, detail of this product, there’s the bullet itself. First, the part of the bullet you swipe over the lips is more convex than the average lipstick, which gives you a stronger pigment payoff on your first swipe. Then there’s the fact that when you twist up the bullet, those gold lips on the tube will always face forward, giving you the perfect #selfie-quality picture every single time. “I didn’t realize this would be something that would take extensive work because the machines that twist the bullet into the tube don’t work like that,” says McGrath. “But in the end, we made it work and you can always show off your bullet.”
With such attention to packaging, could this perhaps be a hint of what a full-fledged, permanent Pat McGrath Labs line could look like? Here’s hoping, but for now, McGrath is relishing in the fact this most recent labor of love is finally out in the open. “I’ve been carrying the tubes around in my purse for a year now, hiding them from everyone,” she laughs. “And I’m so excited to finally share them with my muses, my team, with everyone, because a lot went into this launch and they’re really very, very special.”
Both the Pat McGrath Labs Lust MatteTrance individual lipsticks ($38 each) and three-piece kits ($95 each) will be available starting July 13th on patmcgrath.com and on Sephora.com on July 28th. You can also buy the Everything Kit, which includes all six shades, for $275.