We all know my love for higher end lipsticks, but I had yet to try something as expensive and lavish as the Pat McGrath Labs Matte Trance lipsticks. These retail for €39.95 a pop which is much more than the €30+ price point of the Charlotte Tilbury and Lisa Eldridge lipsticks I love and adore. So I did what any sensible person would do: I bought a set with three minis to try the formula and see what this lipstick is like. I finally put them in my Shop My Stash this month and have been trying them out. This is my review.
Review: Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance lipstick mini trio
I bought this trio from Sephora in the US and it was a limited release so this exact set is no longer available. However, the brand does these sets all the time in different renditions. They retail for €26 at full price and for that price you get to try three lipsticks. The set I bought included three brighter shades. At the time there was also a nude set, but those shades all looked nearly identical. The three shades included in this set are: Full Panic, a vibrant pink; Obsessed!, a bright orange; Elson, a classic red.
What do these lipsticks have to offer?
The reason I wanted to try these lipsticks was because I love trying lipsticks and if they are matte, then all the better. These lipsticks are marketed as richly pigmented, yet lightweight but opaque. It should stay feeling creamy while having a matte but not flat finish. Those kind of promises all sounded like something I might like, so I bought the set, took it home, only to be disappointed.
Why was I disappointed with my purchase?
The minute I got these home and opened them up, each and every shade had been affected with wax bloom. This is something you usually see on lipsticks that are older and are about to go bad. But these were brand new, luxury lipsticks that if they had been full size, would have been much more expensive than any other lipstick I had ever tried. So for me, this was a big disappointment. I know I can still use these: these do not smell bad or feel weird or like they have gone bad. So I did end up using them. However, I also know that it’s possibly best to declutter these asap.
What are the shades like?
So the three shades are a bright pink, a powerful orange and a classic red. I was a little bit disappointed by the shades to be quite fair. On the packaging the shades looked to be more vibrant, closer to neons and that was all I had to go on. Sadly, these just weren’t as unique as I’d hoped and so I wasn’t excited anymore once I got to trying them. And then the tragedy was complete, when I placed these in my shop my stash, the red broke clean out of the packaging after it only having been used a handful of times. Before I had ever even tried these properly, these already had three strikes against them.
How do the shades swatch?
But I wanted to give these a good try so I pushed the red back into the tube and started testing. The swatches look lovely. While the shades weren’t what I had expected, I found them to be brighter in a swatch than in the tube. Maybe the wax bloom disrupted the look of the lipsticks a bit. On the lips I feel these look even better. These glide on smoothly, are richly pigmented and the formula is so thin that you can barely feel it sitting on the lips. To top things off, it is one of the most longwearing bullet lipstick formula I have have tried. They feel dry, but only when you touch your lips, but the lips themselves stay feeling hydrated.
What do these shades look like applied to the lips?
As you can see these shades are super pigmented and do not look heavy on the lips. They glide on nicely and the bullet’s shape makes these super easy to apply. The formula is strange: it is thin to the point where you think it can’t have much payoff. Then you slide on the lipstick and it has the most insane saturated pigmentation you can think off. If you make a mistake with these you will regret it because the cleanup is messy. Once on though, and if you wait for these lipsticks to settle down, these lipsticks lock into place and won’t budge. So in terms of their performance I have no qualms. The colors are not necessarily very unique or extraordinary but the formula is definitely something I haven’t seen in a bullet lipstick before.
My final thoughts
While these Pat McGrath Matte Trance lipsticks are some of the most astounding lipsticks formula wise, there are just so many things I don’t like about these for how expensive they are. The shades are not earth shattering, the wax bloom on these lipsticks puts me off putting them on and the fact that one shade essentially broke after just a few uses, isn’t great. That said, these mini lipsticks may not be indicative of the full sized versions. It could be these smaller sized lipsticks are more likely to get wax bloom and fall out the packaging. These could just be more fragile than regular sized lipsticks. So take that which ever way you want.
Would I recommend the Pat McGrath Matte Trance mini lipsticks?
These are pretty and I think that if you had one of these and treasured it, because it was 100% perfect you’d buy yourself an exquisite lipstick. However, these minis are not perfect. The shades are not something I cannot buy from another brand and I’d rather not risk this price point for getting lipsticks that look like they have gone bad when they are supposedly brand new. So should you stay away from these? Not necessarily, but I think a swatch in store is needed to really know whether this might work for you.