Monday, February 20, 2017

Drugstore Liquid Lipsticks, Part 1: Milani Amore Matte Metallic Lip Crème in The Ultimatte

Milani was perhaps the first drugstore brand to release a true matte liquid lipstick, back in the summer of 2015. I tried one of the original limited-edition shadesCrush, a dark brown—but hated it. The lipstick went on patchy, felt painfully dry within an hour, wore off in noticeable flakes, and had a strong root-beer-float smell. So when Milani made the Amore Matte Lip Crèmes permanent in 2016 and released dozens of new shades, including metallics, I didn't pay much attention.

That changed last month, when I popped into a Rite Aid in Philadelphia to look for the Wet n Wild Liquid Catsuit lipsticks and came upon a display of new metallic Amore Mattes. And there was a metallic dark purple, you guys. And this was where common sense should have taken hold, to remind me that I'd been let down by the formula before and I didn't need another vampy lipstick I couldn't wear often. But I was preparing for an interview and had allotted all my reason to that, so I had nothing to counter the temptation of a new lipstick. All that remained was a collection of vague impulses along the lines of ooh purple and ooh sparkly and hey I haven't bought any new makeup yet this year, never mind that 2017 was exactly a week old. 


Milani's liquid-lipstick taxonomy is rather complicated, especially for someone who hasn't been following the brand's new releases. Milani offers a total of 52 (!) liquid lipsticks at $9 each. The website groups the lipsticks into "Amore Matte Lip Crème" and "Amore Matte Metallic Lip Crème," though some of the non-metallics are designated "pearl," which sounds an awful lot like "metallic" to me. There are 37 shades in the former category and 15 in the latter. The shades are numbered, but the numbering goes 1-15 for the metallics and 10-42 for the non-metallics, and there are overlaps in numbers between the two categories, and some numbers between 10 and 42 are missing in the matte group. Thank god each color has a name as well as a number, or I'd give up entirely. Every shade name in the metallic group is a pun on "matte" ("Matte About You," "Automattic Touch," "My Soulmatte"), which is cute, though I can't help wishing Milani had devoted some of that ingenuity to its numbering system.

The Amore Mattes have a large doefoot applicator that I find somewhat unwieldy. Because it's squared off at the end, I have a hard time getting into the corners of my lips, but people with fuller lips than mine might not have this problem! The applicator picks up a lot of product at once, so I find myself wiping it on the rim of the tube.


The lipstick I chose is #15 The Ultimatte, which Milani describes simply as "plum." It does indeed look plum in the tube and in arm swatches, but it turns more purple on my lips, to which I don't object at all. Here it is in indirect (left) and direct natural light:


L-R: & Other Stories Droguet Purple, Milani Matte Fearless, The Ultimatte, Topshop Get Me Bodied, MAC Eugenie:


One coat on my lips: see how much more purple it looks? I didn't use a liner this time, but sometimes I draw a faint line with NYX Cabaret just to guide my hand.


The formula certainly has pros and cons, and though I really enjoy this particular shade, I won't be buying more Amore Mattes anytime soon. Two things haven't changed since I tried my first Amore Matte in 2015: the overpowering root beer fragrance and the dryness of the formula. Not only is the scent extremely strong, it also lingers for close to an hour after application. The lipstick goes on very evenly, with no patchiness at all, and dries down almost immediately. It does wear off on the inner part of my lower lip if I drink, but stays put on the rest of my mouth unless I eat something oily. It's impossible to remove the lipstick without some sort of oil: just wiping it with a tissue does nothing. Predictably, this longevity comes at a price: my mouth starts feeling dry very quickly, and the metallic finish emphasizes my lip lines. However, my lips don't feel worse after I remove the product, so I can put up with some extra dryness while I'm wearing it. That color is just so pretty omg. I want to call it "Tyrian purple": it has a very ancient-Mediterranean vibe, I think. It makes me feel like Carthaginian royalty, though I don't think Dido wore much red flannel:


Sometimes I want to go all out with smoky eyes and dark metallic lips, but I just don't have that kind of lifestyle, so you get this rather boring look instead. I'm wearing ABH Warm Taupe eyeshadow (from Modern Renaissance, of course), Urban Decay Whiskey eyeliner, and Urban Decay Rapture blush.

Up next, a drugstore liquid lipstick whose formula I much prefer to Milani's. Have you tried any of the Amore Mattes?

12 comments:

  1. Wow, I never knew they had so many liquid lipsticks. I have one Amore Matte
    Iipstick and it's terrible because it crumbles. I still wear it sometimes since it's my only pink matte lipstick, but grumble internally.
    The metallic lipstick looks very good. I remember a few years ago only OCC made this kind of product (if I remember correctly).

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    1. I'm happy that this shade isn't crumbly at all, because the first Amore Matte I tried certainly was! I'm also impressed that it's so pigmented, far more so than my dark purple bullet lipsticks. It's hard to get dark colors right.

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  2. There is something about this lip color - loving that metallic sheen more than anything! Reading your descriptions on the original made me chuckle. At least I know you'd wear this awesome color once in a while since it's not crumbly. I've been reading a lot about liquid lips lately, but no one really seems to love any formulation in particular. Would love to hear about the next one!

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    1. The metallic sheen makes it so special! And yes, I've noticed that there doesn't seem to be any liquid lipstick formula that EVERYONE loves or EVERYONE hates. I suppose it's because when a liquid lipstick goes wrong, it goes really wrong, whereas a mediocre bullet lipstick can usually be salvaged.

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  3. I never tried this but I have a metallic liquid lipstick that looks pretty close, check it out if you like: http://bit.ly/2m5Rjoh
    Given that the Milani lippies have a drying formula, I don't think I'm gonna pick one up anytime soon...

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    1. That lipstick does indeed look similar! I've never heard of that brand; it's amazing how many beauty brands there are out there.

      From the reviews I've read, it seems that metallic liquid lipsticks tend to be more drying than regular matte ones. I wonder why that is.

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  4. This is such a good colour! I'm such a sucker for anything in the purple/plum/berry family. I don't think I could handle the root beer fragrance, though. I had to destash my one Milani lipstick long ago because the watermelon scent wasn't something I could get past. (I think I heard that the matte lipsticks don't have that scent, though.) Milani has finally made its way to Canada, but they only sell it at the drugstore chain that's the direct competitor of the one I work at so I'm not really tempted to check it out. Everyone in local makeup Facebook groups is very excited, though. If this didn't smell like root beer I might actually make an effort to seek it out, but I already know the scent would be a deal breaker! Why do brands do this?!

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    1. I had to get rid of my two watermelon-scented Milanis, too! So gross. The Moisture Mattes have a subtle vanilla scent very similar to MAC's (I'm wearing Matte Naked today, actually), so I'm not sure why Milani added that strong root beer fragrance to their liquid lipsticks. It makes me wonder how bad the chemicals alone must smell! The root beer smell is more tolerable than the watermelon one, at least...

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  5. This shade looks so cool! I am scared by the drying formula just reading about it.I wish there is a dry-looking lip color that doesn't go lip-line-galore on me...

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    1. Weirdly, I'm not that bothered by lipstick formulas that emphasize my lip lines. They're going to be visible no matter what I do, so I might as well wear the colors I want to wear. It annoys me that beauty gurus with lip injections have made perfectly smooth lips "normal," when in fact most non-injected lips have lines.

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  6. This is seriously gorgeous! I mean, all of us need a metallic purple lipstick, right? I should go and buy mine :P And reading this also made me realize I have no idea what root beer smells like...

    Awaiting the catsuit review!

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    1. Haha, we do indeed all need one! Root beer is flavored with sassafras, so if you know what that smells like, you know what root beer smells like. Sort of vanilla-y yet herbal.

      Catsuit review should be up in a few days! :D

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