Friday, February 16, 2018

REVIEW: Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipsticks

NOTE: This post was meant to go live on Monday, February 19th, but I accidentally posted the original draft. Hence, there may have been some typos I did not address immediately (I apologize), and there will not be another post until later next week. Oops. See you next weekend!

I have zero legitimate excuses for buying more lipsticks, even with a gift card and a reasonable price tag. The truth of the matter is that I adore Rihanna, I want to support inclusive brands like Fenty, and I just fucking love lipstick. That said, I held off on testing the Mattemoiselle lipsticks for a while because most of the rave reviews were coming from big YouTubers who received the entire shade range in an admittedly stunning PR package. The final push? Talented, smaller creators I like started wearing Freckle Fiesta, which was the shade that called to me from the beginning.

The Fenty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipsticks retail for $18 each. That seems like a steal, but these lipsticks are tiny: each one contains just 1.7 grams of product, making them almost half the size of the average high-end lipstick. Not surprisingly, the tubes are physically small as well, and the actual lipstick inside is about the thickness of a cigarette. Beyond that, I like the look of the packaging just fine. The tube is a very lightweight, silver plastic, and the lipsticks have "FB" stamped in the top (though this disappears after your first application).

From left to right: Fenty Candy Venom, NARS Michiyo, Fenty Freckle Fiesta, Besame Chocolate Kiss.

There are currently 14 shades in the range, and it's an eclectic mix. You get soft, "work appropriate" shades like Spanked (dusty rose), bold and bright colors like Griselda (burgundy), and a handful of unique, not-in-most-lipstick-range shades like Clapback (navy) and Midnight Wasabi (green). While I disagree that each individual shade will "flatter all skintones"--Up 2 No Good will turn white on deeper skin, for instance--I think the range has something for everybody, and a lot of the colors are very flexible.

I picked up the bright pink, Candy Venom, and the "spiced terracotta," Freckle Fiesta. Both shades seem to work on just about everybody, though Freckle Fiesta definitely seems to read more orange than brown on dark skin. As you can tell by the swatches, they are densely pigmented. I compared them to the two most similar shades in my collection, but they still stand out: Candy Venom is darker and more purple than NARS Michiyo, and Freckle Fiesta is more yellow and less muted than Besame Chocolate Kiss.

The Fenty Mattemoiselle lipsticks have an incredibly smooth, soft texture that glides on to the lips with ease and provides opaque color in a single swipe. If I had to compare the texture to anything, I'd compare it to a cream-to-powder blush or foundation, not because it's dry or dusty, but because it has that silky smoothness to it. It definitely feels less "wet" and creamy than most traditional lipsticks. They're very forgiving on fine lines and feel weightless on the lips. "Plush" defines them aptly.

I found these lipsticks slightly drying, but only slightly. Your lips may feel a tad parched at the end of the day, and you'll definitely want to wear some balm afterwards. However, they are comfortable for a solid 8+ hours and do not cause flaking or shriveling.

In terms of wear, you're going to get above average lasting power for these puppies. They don't feather much, but they will smear with enough pressure, and they will fade a bit if you eat a full, sloppy meal. I like to apply, blot, and reapply with all of my lipsticks, including these, because it gives me a bit more staying power.

Here's a close-up of my lips with both colors so you can see the texture. Again, it's an incredibly smooth and flattering formula.

Now, that sounds absolutely stellar, but I have to tell you that one thing about the Mattemoiselle lipsticks disappointed me in a big way: the packaging. I'm no lipstick novice, but I found it very tricky to get sharp, even lines with the tiny, rounded lipstick bullets; I had to touch up the edges of my lips with a q-tip every time, and it's still not as sharp as I'd normally like it. I also noticed that a little bit of lipstick always smeared on to the edges of the tube, even when they were brand new and just-opened, as if the lipstick wasn't placed straight in the tube. You can actually see this little blob of lipstick "spillage" in the header image of this post.

If it weren't for the packaging, I'd probably give these lipsticks a 5 out of 5. That said, I will be returning Candy Venom because I don't think it flatters me very much. Freckle Fiesta, though...I know it makes me look a tad sallow in some pictures, but for whatever reason, I still love that color and I just can't quit it. At the very least, I'd like to see if I can finish this tube up. It shouldn't be too tough given the small amount of product in it.

RATING: 4 out of 5


  1. Oh man, these look so great. I'm really into shades like Freckle Fiesta at the moment. I'm waiting for Rihanna to release something that I think I'll enjoy and use regularly, because I really want to support Fenty for the reasons you mentioned. But I don't think the foundation will work for my skin, I don't need more highlighter or liquid lipsticks, and I hate flat bullets! Celebrity makeup lines never interest me, but Rihanna has served so many incredible and unique looks over the years that this feels totally natural and very in line with who she is. She gets all my admiration for such a thoughtful and inclusive line! I'm eagerly keeping an eye on the brand.

    1. I would definitely like more dry skin friendly products in the future!

  2. These were the exact colors that interested me! Candy Venom is freaking GORGEOUS (I think it's flattering on you, for what it's worth), and I love how Freckle Fiesta brings out your eyes. But yeah, I'm wary of the packaging as well. It reminds me of the Glossier Gen Gs and Colourpop Blotted Lips: a slim, dry bullet in plastic tube. That just screams "bullet popping out within weeks" to me.

    1. These have a much creamier texture than the Generation Gs, and I don't think they'll actually pop out. But the blobs spilling over on the sides before you've even twisted the damn things up is definitely :/.

  3. Ahhh, I think you should keep Candy Venom and wear it all the time. It looks fantastic on you. It's a shame about the packaging, though.

    1. Honestly, I think NARS Michiyo is more flattering on me. Lipsticks with a lot of bright purple in them always look a little off to me, for whatever reason. But it's a pretty color in general!

  4. If anyone's interested in Candy Venom I know there's a full size of it in one of the current Sephora Favorites kits. I think it's $28 and you get 5 lip products.

  5. [deleted my original comment because I mentioned turning off my profile for this which I couldn't actually do :( ]

    I gotta say, it's so frustrating to me that everyone attributes everything in Fenty solely to Rhianna.

    Fenty is owned by LVMH, the same people who own Sephora, aka these are the exact same products you'll find from the rest of the Sephora stable: Marc Jacobs, Benefit, Kat Von D etc etc etc. Google lvmh fenty, and you'll see what I mean.

    I don't know how the brand began, but I doubt Rhianna sat down and said, yep time to make a beauty range - more likely LVMH looked at who the faces of their beauty ranges are, looked at the push for more women of colour owned cosmetics, and made their decision based on that.

    So it's not really RhiRhi's range, which is a real shame to me. And though the intent is there, it's not quite the same thing as supporting smaller businesses owned by women of colour - though not to diminish the importance of this collaboration, either.

    1. I know about LVMH, actually, because it's often discussed on Reddit, but I meant more that it has Rihanna's face on it and she has a hand in it. It's like Pat McGrath naming a lipstick "Labeija:" it has nothing to do with the House of Labeija, but I'm immediately excited by it because of the assocation.

      Really, regardless of Rihanna's involvement, I just want to support brands that celebrate diversity in their shade ranges. If it seems like I attributed it solely to her, then I apologize; as I posted in my note, this went live several days before I wanted it to and I didn't have time to do a full edit like I usually do.

      We need to do a better job supporting brands owned by women of color as well, too.

    2. Agreed! Sorry to imply that you didn´t know - more that to me, Fenty feels a lot like supporting the big guys in beauty, even if they have repackaged/marketed as though they´re something new and exciting. For me, with this range in particular, I find it hard to walk the line between ¨FINALLY the right message is coming from the top, I want to support this¨ and ¨it´s still coming from the top, I don´t want to support this!¨ I´m trying to keep my views nuanced, but my beauty budget with the little guys I guess? Which - again, another caveat in this comment - I´m not trying to say it´s a bad choice to support this either.

      .... post workout babble, much? Hahaha.

      In all - despite my misgivings, I really hope Fenty is yet another shove for the industry to head in the right direction.