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Pat McGrath Is About to Launch the Best Matte Lipstick You'll Ever Encounter

The packaging alone is sure to inspire knockoffs.
The lip-adorned Pat McGrath Labs Lust: MatteTrance bullet. Photo: Stephanie Saltzman/Fashionista

The lip-adorned Pat McGrath Labs Lust: MatteTrance bullet. Photo: Stephanie Saltzman/Fashionista

At last week's CFDA Awards, makeup artist and legend Pat McGrath cried (and made everyone else in the room cry) while receiving the Founder's Award. It marked the first time a makeup artist had received the honor, and "mother" (as she's affectionately known in the industry) is still reeling from the experience. But don't think for a second that's going to slow down her product development process for her makeup brand, Pat McGrath Labs. On Monday morning, McGrath held a press event in New York City to announce her newest collection, a line of densely pigmented, creamy matte lipsticks that had editors squealing with excitement. 

"I think it's so exciting. I'm in love with these. Am I the only one?" she asked a room full of beauty editors who were practically foaming at the mouth. No, no she was not.

The "Color Blitz" set. Photo: Stephanie Saltzman/Fashionista

The "Color Blitz" set. Photo: Stephanie Saltzman/Fashionista

Called Lust: MatteTrance, the line includes nine different matte-finish shades, which will each be sold separately (for $38 a pop) as well as grouped into kits of three ($95) and also a box set that includes every shade ($275). 

Skin Show, a trio of nudes, includes shades called 1995 (creamy beige), Omi (medium taupe, a nude shade named after McGrath muse Naomi Campbell) and Flesh 03 (a continuation of Flesh 1 and Flesh 2, which launched in McGrath's Lust 004 Lip Kits).

Color Blitz, the bright collection, includes Elson (a vivid crimson named after model Karen Elson), Obsessed! (a poppy orange) and Full Panic (a bold fuchsia).

Viscious Venoms, the dark set, comprises Antidote (bright purple), McMenamy (a burgundy-tinged brown named for model Kristen McMenamy) and Deep Void (which looks almost black in tube, but deposits a super-dark plummy berry shade onto lips).

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Though news of this launch had been kept top secret, McGrath has been "covertly" debuting them at recent runway shows. Naomi Campbell wore the nude shade Omi, named after her, during the Fashion for Relief runway show in Cannes, while the vibrant crimson (Elson, named after Karen Elson) and orange-red (Obsessed!) appeared on the Prada Resort 2018 runway. 

The formula itself took some time to develop, explains McGrath. "We'd make the perfect matte, and it felt like concrete. Or we'd come up with something that was super comfortable, and it would look oily. So it was just that search for the ultimate matte that was comfortable, but then at the same time gave that feel that you've seen in all of my editorials," she says. "Our mattes are really bright, but not really masking the beautiful natural texture of your own lip."

McGrath likens the finish her team ultimately achieved to powder pigment lips she's known for having created on the runway and in editorials. "[It's] really rich in pigment. It feels like those lips I used to create where we used pigment on top, but it just doesn't have that drying effect," she says.

Models wearing shades from the MatteTrance collection at a press event. Photo: Stephanie Saltzman/Fashionista

Models wearing shades from the MatteTrance collection at a press event. Photo: Stephanie Saltzman/Fashionista

Each shade comes housed in a weighty black metal bullet, adorned by a pair of gold lips, an instantly covetable design that's sure to inspire knockoffs. "As you know, most packaging is plastic. Now you've got this beautiful cold metal. It gives you a nod of the past, but then it's a futuristic formula. It's very much the way that we are today. I like to feel as if we've got something that nobody else has."

But McGrath's attention to detail extended even to the function of the bullets themselves; the placement of each lipstick within its tube ensures that the gold lips will always be facing outward as you apply the product. "I was in the labs and they said, 'You know that nobody ever does that. It's not the way the machines turn.'"

As with all of McGrath's makeup launches, the MatteTrance collection is limited-edition. So, you know, set a calendar alert now. The lip colors will launch first on at 12 p.m. ET on July 13, and then on (and in seven select Sephora brick-and-mortar stores) on July 28. 

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