I got this Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid in Berry Boost as compensation for doing L'Oreal consumer testing (more on that here). When I first saw it, I wasn't particularly excited, because I tend to hate liquid matte lipsticks. Most of the ones I've tried have been horrendously drying. I find them difficult to apply neatly and they tend to wear off in an ugly way--flaky and patchy and impossible to touch up without removing them completely. I really think that the popularity of Instagram beauty accounts is one of the main reasons those products have become ubiquitous recently. I know some people (apparently) wear them successfully in real life, but they seem mainly designed to be worn for about 20 minutes while creating a beautiful Instagram photo and then to be removed. But I thought, hey, I haven't written a post about how much I hated something recently, so maybe this Maybelline Matte Liquid will at least be useful for grumpy ranting purposes.
No such luck(?). It's actually not bad. And it's different from any lip product I've tried before. It's not really a lipstick or a lip gloss or a lip stain. It's sort of between a gloss and a stain. Let me explain.
It's not an opaque, paint-like liquid lipstick like most of the other liquid mattes I've seen. Of all the things I've used in the past, it's most similar to the Wet N Wild Fergie High Shine lip stain (now discontinued, I believe) that I reviewed here, except matte, rather than shiny. (That WNW stuff started to smell funky after about 6 months and I threw it out, so I hope this Maybelline doesn't do the same.) It's similar in texture and feel, the applicator is similar, the opacity and pigmentation is similar--but the Maybelline stuff turns matte after a few minutes rather than staying glossy.
Here it is immediately after I applied it. A little shine:
What this seems to be is a semi-sheer gloss stain, except "gloss" would suggest, you know, glossy, and this isn't. It's not super matte, but it gets more and more matte the longer you wear it. And it feels soft and slippery on your lips like a gloss. Not sticky and definitely not transfer-proof, though I haven't had any trouble with it smearing.
Here it is about an hour after application. A little more matte. Can you tell the difference in the photo? I think it looks a bit shinier here than it does in person.
Even if you apply multiple layers, it won't become completely opaque. Because it's not opaque, it's easier to apply than a liquid that is--except that the long, stiff wand is kind of a pain in the ass to use. You can see in the lip photos that the edges aren't perfect. If absolute precision is important to you, it would be best to use a lip brush to apply it, but I can't be bothered. Since the long doe foot picks up a lot of product, if you're going to apply it directly, I recommend wiping some off and starting in the middle of your lips, so that when you outline the edges you don't make a mess.
I also like to apply just a light wash with my finger tip to create a nice stain. It's quite pretty that way. And it does stain the lips, so you can apply balm over it and retain some good color. I've been wearing it this way for family holiday events during the last week, and it lasts well through turkey and wine.
I find this stuff slightly drying, but it's not terrible. It's not so bad that I want to avoid it. The worst part is probably the fragrance, which I can not only smell but even taste. It's a bit fruity but also floral, and not particularly pleasant. I'm not sure what fruit it's supposed to be. It's hard to describe.
I haven't tried any of the other colors, so I can't promise that they all perform the same way--and there aren't many reviews out there yet, since this is a pretty new release. As for Berry Boost itself, I don't see much berry in it. In the tube and a heavy swatch, it's kind of berry, or maybe fuchsia, I suppose, depending on the lighting. There's not much, if any, purple in it, which I'd expect in a berry shade. On my lips, it really just becomes bright pink. The color in the tube and the color on my lips aren't too close. And like I said, since it doesn't build up to opacity, I think you would have a hard time recreating the color in the tube, though it's possible that the natural pink color of my lips is doing something here. Here are some comparison swatches: Revlon Balm Stain in Smitten (left), Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid in Berry Boost (middle), and Wet N Wild MegaLast lipstick in Sugar Plum Fairy.
I haven't used a product quite like this before. From reviews I've read, it sounds like this might be similar to the L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Glosses, though I haven't personally tried any of those. I wouldn't be surprised to find similarities, since L'Oreal owns Maybelline too. If you like sheer, cushiony stains, but not shiny or sticky glosses, the Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid might be worth checking out. Anyone else tried these yet? Or something similar? What do you think?