Beauty Makeup The Best Metallic Liquid Lipsticks I've Tried

The Best Metallic Liquid Lipsticks I’ve Tried

And the only formula I've actually liked

This post may contain affiliate links and products provided for consideration. For more information, visit our Editorial Policy.

Metallic liquid lipstick reviews haven’t always been the most favorable. Remember Kylie’s KyMajesty fiasco of 2016? Good news, friends. The MAC Retro Matte Metallic Lipcolor collection is surprisingly wonderful, and I don’t say that lightly. Typically I hate anything metallic on my lips, even in a gloss form, so this launch really took me by surprise.

I didn’t have the best experience with MAC’s Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour. The colors I tried didn’t wear well (especially on the inner part of my bottom lip) and were very dry, so I wasn’t the most optimistic when MAC sent these over. I’m so happy I gave them a chance because although the two products share the same name, I had very different experiences.

The Retro Matte Metallic formula is comfortable to wear. It’s slightly moussey, making it fairly easy to apply, and the way the heart-shaped doe foot applicator was designed makes it possible to skip a lip liner (though some shades need it more than others). The biggest formula-specific challenge I faced during application was ensuring that the product was applied between the lines in my lips, especially at the corners, and this isn’t typically a problem area for me.

These metallics are so sophisticated in a way that only tone-on-tone shimmer can be. There’s no chunky glitter or duochromatic filler in this formula (based on the colors that I tested). The metallic finish adds a new dimension to your lips without alerting anyone to the fact that you’re wearing a trendy liquid lipstick. The result is a look that can feel festive or amped-up, but never overdone. This isn’t one of those products that make everyone else think ‘oh, she must watch a lot of beauty videos on YouTube’.

I tried four shades from the range: Crowned (limited edition), Coral Plated (limited edition), In Retrograde (limited edition, and Metallic Rose (permanent). For an individual review of the shades, lip swatches, and a full overview of the collection, please click through the gallery below.

Each of the 15 shades retails for $21 at & MAC counters nationwide.


MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Crowned
MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Crowned

Officially described as a “blackened purple”, Crowned is reminiscent of shades like MAC’s own Nightmoth Lip Pencil, NARS’ Train Bleu Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, and Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Damned as seen layered here in this Instagram photo.

Like the other purple shades I mentioned, Crowned can be slightly patchy so I recommend applying either two layers or a liner/matte lip pencil underneath. Purple tones are notoriously difficult to formulate (I’ve been told it’s because of the specific challenges of working with red pigment) so I don’t hold the less than perfect opacity against this specific product.

MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Crowned Swatch
MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Crowned Swatch

Coral Plated 

MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Coral Plated
MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Coral Plated

When I think of orange lipstick, my mind immediately goes to classic colors like Lady Danger & Neon Orange. Crowned is a different type of orange, caught somewhere between yellow gold, orange juice, and a tangerine.

The application was smooth as butter and it wore just as well, if not better than any of the shades I tried. I would love to see this on someone with a dark or deep dark skin tone, where this shade of orange could truly be appreciated.

MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Coral Plated Swatch
MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Coral Plated Swatch

Metallic Rose

MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipstick in Metallic Rose
MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipstick in Metallic Rose

Metallic Rose is the safest shade that I tried, aka the most daytime appropriate. There are a few lighter, more neutral shades in the collection and although MAC’s website describes this as a “rose gold”, I’d call it a solid mid-tone pink, reminiscent of Pink Plaid with a bit more kick.

It would pair nicely with Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Lip Liner & a soft pink cheek for the first days of early spring. The days where you wrap yourself up in a trench coat & a scarf to sit outside during lunch because you just can’t stand the thought of being indoors for one more minute.

MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipstick in Metallic Rose Swatch
MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipstick in Metallic Rose Swatch

In Retrograde

MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in In Retrograde
MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in In Retrograde

It should come as no surprise that my favorite shade from the collection is In Retrograde, a “yellow-red”. Although I typically gravitate towards blue-based reds, there’s something a bit softer about this particular variation. I wore it to a recent Arkansas Razorbacks basketball game (GO HOGS) and although the metallic finish wore off slightly over time, the red color underneath didn’t move, smear, or smudge.

When I wore this shade closer to the holidays, it instantly made everything I was wearing feel more festive. It’s a shame that In Retrograde is limited edition for this reason, but I’ll be keeping it in my collection for any day that needs a little extra shine.

MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in In Retrograde Swatch
MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in In Retrograde Swatch

The full collection

MAC Retro Matte Metallic Liquid Lipcolour Romero Jennings Promo

I first learned about this lip color collection on Instagram, where it seems all beauty news happens these days, but it wasn’t through a news account like TrendMood. It first appeared in my feed from Romero Jennings, a MAC Senior Artist (and all-around delightful human) and his mom, aka RomerosMom. That’s them featured above in the promo images for the collection. When I saw this, my heart soared.

Romero is an incredible artist who not only creates stunning beauty looks for editorial photo shoots and runway shows around the world, but he also creates intricate, delicate, unbelievable custom false lashes. His Instagram is worth a follow for these mini works of art alone.

It was through his Instagram that I found his mom, who has the kind of style that I aspire to. Her bold eyewear collection is extensive, as is her wardrobe in general. She’s so chic that she was photographed for Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style, a blog/movie/book that always I turn to for photos of beautiful women exemplifying true style who give me hope for the future.

I love everything about this collection. I love the formula, most of the colors I tried, and the use of Romero & his mom for the campaign. It’s a win all around!

Keep Reading

Read Next

Editor’s Letter: I was almost a virologist at the CDC

I began college as a microbiology major, determined to become a virologist at the CDC. Imagine how different my life would...


Stop Wearing Boring Socks

Socks are one of the most versatile accessories you can wear, but styling them into an outfit can...

Rascal Honey Merch


Sephora Beauty Insider Fall 2019 Sale Details & Recommendations

A comprehensive guide to what to buy, what to skip, and what to swatch at Sephora's Spring 2019 VIB Sale.