ESC, Matte vs. Gloss

Get ready to make one of the most important decisions this season.

Beauty blogs and cosmetics brands are yet again singing lip gloss praises, even promoting the product for fall. But does the stuff hold up to the classic, red-carpet MVP—matte lips?

E! Style Collective's very own Kailey Harless and Diana Nguyen go head to head in a case for their favorite looks. Before you go deciding if you are Team Matte or Team Glossy, educate yourself on what's what.

Gloss Is Boss
"GLOSS-Y SKIN […] NO MATTE SURFACES." If Marc Jacobs' over-the-top NYFW party dress code is any indication, gloss will reign supreme this fall. I've been a gloss fan ever since junior high, and throughout years of lipstick and lip stain domination, I've maintained that shine is the ultimate way to go with lip-wear. Let me count the many ways in which lip gloss is the absolute best:

1. It lasts for hours. I have a "set it and forget it" mentality when it comes to makeup. I like to put it on in the morning and not have to do anything to it for the rest of the day. On the rare occasion I go out after work, I'll add more translucent powder, fresh bronzer and add dark shadow to my eyes. Gloss, however, is something that will last throughout the day and should I need to reapply.

2. You can't mess it up. Applying lip gloss is simple: Just swipe on. Done! You don't need a mirror, you don't need to prep your lips for it and if you put on a little or a lot, it's still going to look good. 

3. It plumps your lips. As I've documented before, I've been obsessed with naturally plumping my lips for over a decade. The high-shine adds a dimension to my lips that they don't have on their own.

4. Gloss feels good. Once you find a no-stick formula, gloss feels moisturizing and healthy. I can move my lips with ease. Creases and clumps aren't even a thought in my mind when I'm mirror-lessly swiping it on and flashing a smile. 

5. It's completely effortless. If I haven't gotten this across as clearly as my go-to gloss, allow me to reiterate: Where something like, oh I don't know, a matte lipstick takes preparation (exfoliation), focus (application) and follow-ups (reapplication sans mirror? I don't think so!), lip gloss takes one simple step that can be done anywhere. You don't need to be a beauty pro in order to look great. Which reminds me…

6. You will look youthful. Call me crazy, but I firmly believe lipstick adds age to your face. I've never tried a shade or finish of lipstick that made me look younger. But a swipe of gloss? It's more natural and carefree, which aligns with my overall beauty approach and goals. 

7. Gloss goes with everything. Whatever your beauty look is, gloss goes perfectly with it. It's the most versatile, no-fuss way to complete a look.

Kailey's Pick: Philosophy Lip Shine in Candy Cane, $10

ESC, Matte vs. Gloss

Matte Is For Me
My case for matte lip colors is two-prong: First of all, there's a realness to this classic makeup look that another lip trend, which shall not be named name (but rhymes with floss), doesn't have. There are no shimmery bells or lustrous whistles; the color speaks for itself.

There's a reason why so many celebs opt for the no-shine lip look—it subtly anchors a beauty look. Say Jennifer Lopez goes for a dark, sultry smoky eye on the red carpet. Whether or not you notice her neutral matte lips doesn't matter—because the soft, less artificial quality of matte products is there to support and complement rather than overwhelm. Team player! At the same time, matte lips can be a statement on its own. Emma Stone, Nicole Kidman, Rihanna…all celebrities who've proved bold, opaque colors can shine just as much as, well, shiny lip textures. The impact is inherent.

My second argument is purely practical. Listen: I'm equally as busy as I am lazy—and you probably are too. Ain't nobody has time to put on a full face all the time. In a pinch, when I have to muster up the energy to look half-way decent, applying a red, matte shade does most of the job—without seeming incongruous with the rest of my mostly natural makeup. It instantly elevates a makeup look without much effort on my part. Opt for a long-wear product, like Nars Matte Lip Pencil, and you can get from happy hour to after-hours without even reapplying. Can a sticky gloss do that?

The properties of matte lip products are also a lot more manageable. It's creamier in consistency so a lot less smudgy than other lipsticks. Don't get me wrong: Matte shades can be difficult to apply on chapped lips, and I do like a high-shine look every now and then. But when it comes down to it, I'll always defer to beauty's more mature lip texture over its little shiny sister.

Diana's Pick: Make Matte Lipstick in Jakarta, $25

So, in the great Matte vs. Gloss debate, which side are you on?

PHOTOS: Celebs in the makeup chair

  • Share
  • Tweet

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.