Pat McGrath has long been regarded as a beauty savant and gold-standard makeup guru—the artist responsible for some of the most iconic editorial and runway looks. So when McGrath launched her makeup line, Pat McGrath Labs, in 2006, fans went nuts for the initial release, and every launch that’s come out since then. One of her latest products, the Liquilust Legendary Wear Matte Lipstick, is an industry favorite—known for its long-lasting wear, smudge-proof powers, and a range of au courant shades. Is it as good as the pros say it is? Four W editors put the lipstick to the test, and gave their honest opinions.
Stephanie Eckardt, Staff Writer
What is your preferred makeup look?
The only makeup I ever wear regularly is Pat McGrath’s black PermaGel eyeliner pencil, so clearly I’m a fan. I figured if anyone could make a lipstick with staying power, it would be Pat—one of my favorite things about the eyeliner is that there’s rarely fallout. As for other lip products, I’ve never understood how people can stand to wear lip gloss. I stick to lip balm in the winter, and very occasionally a bright red lip for special occasions. I also have a sort of dark cherry one from Chanel that rubs off easily, but is nice for a subtler look.
How did the Pat McGrath Liquilust Lipstick work for you?
I was super impressed with the bright red Elson 4. For research’s sake, I tried eating a piece of toast piled with tomato and cucumber and opened a Diet Coke while wearing the lip color. I noticed that it definitely left a mark on the latter, but was surprised to look in the mirror and find it still looked exactly the same on my mouth. The only issue is now I have to buy makeup remover, because it’s a bit too effective for my usual lotion-and-tissue solution.
The other two colors I received, “Divine Nude” and “Nude Cabaret,” were very much not for me—they just made my lips/face look washed out. I did find that they all were slightly drying, which is another reason why I don’t wear lipstick much. Apart from staying power, I was most concerned about wearing lipstick under a face mask. In the end, though, it actually barely rubbed off. I plan to pull out the red one occasionally in the future, since it’s not something I have to be hyper-aware of. Still, I plan to stay away from wearing it under an N95.
Maryam Lieberman, Beauty Contributor
What is your preferred lip product on a day-to-day basis?
My preferred daily lip product is whatever’s in my car—and that’s mostly lip balms. I use the La Mer lip balm and Chapstick with sunscreen mostly. Before I go to bed, I always slather on some Chapstick and brush my lips using a toothbrush. Since the world is returning somewhat back to normal, I guess I have to show my face in person more often—and adding color to my lips makes a big difference overall. I use two shades of Armani lipsticks that have never failed me. The #102 Androgino is great during the day with a neutral liner, or at night when I wear a smoky eye. When I go for red lips, I first prep with Nars Red Square Lip Liner and then apply #401 from Armani, Red Fire. This does it for me; it’s chic and sexy. I play around with other shades from time to time (lately, I’ve been into hot pinks) but it depends on the season and what I am wearing.
Did you like the Pat McGrath Liquilust Lipstick? Would you use this product again?
I fell in love with the Nude Cabaret color so much that it has replaced the Armani nude lipstick I used regularly. I don’t even need a lip liner for the Pat McGrath. The first time I put it on, it felt cold and liquid for a few seconds—and suddenly, it was feather-light. The best part was that I didn’t have to even think about reapplying—one less thing on my mind during the day, which, in my opinion, justifies the price tag. Honestly, leave it to a makeup artist to create a makeup line. They know exactly what works better than anyone else. I would purchase this again and again, no question.
Hannah Westbrook, Assistant Visuals Editor
Do you usually wear lipstick or any other tinted glosses/balms?
My general makeup philosophy is “less is more.” I keep everything pretty minimal—including lip products—but I do love Glossier Balm Dotcom to moisturize. For a night out, I like a good gloss; the Two Faced Lip Injection Lip Plumper is my go-to.
I go in and out of color phases. Since my everyday look is fairly minimal, sometimes I’ll put on lipstick. Suddenly it’s like, BAM! LIPS! And I can’t tell whether I’m simply not used to seeing myself with lipstick on, or if it’s actually too much. If I have a special special occasion, I will use a natural, mauve-like brown color.
What did you think of the Pat McGrath Liquilust Lipstick?
As someone who likes a natural look, the Liquilust Lipstick was bold, and quite honestly a bit much for me. I used the colors Divine Nude and Elson 4. The staying power is impressive; even after brushing my teeth (not sure why I did that after putting on lipstick,) and eating, the color hadn’t smudged or rubbed away—even when some rubbed off on my napkin. I would highly recommend not touching anything white right after applying the lipstick, though.
The Elson 4 was so bright that I actually preferred putting it on and then wiping it off and putting a gloss over the tinted remnants. The Divine Nude is a much more subtle color and I did actually wear this to dinner recently—I do believe it made my look a little more complete. If you’re a lipstick person, I would absolutely recommend this product. The quality is amazing. For a person like me who steers clear of visible makeup, maybe not—unless you’re willing to go through my process of putting it on and rubbing it off for a less punchy look!
Maxine Wally, Senior Digital Editor
What are your favorite lip products?
I pretty much wear hydrating, colorless lip balm exclusively. My greatest-hits-all-time-faves are: Shiseido Water in Lip, Glossier’s Original Balm Dotcom, Augustinus Bader The Lip Balm, and good ol’ cherry Chapstick. During the holidays, I opt for red lipstick—think MAC’s Ruby Woo. But generally speaking, I steer clear (ha-ha-ha) of any lip colors or tints.
What did you think of the Pat McGrath lipstick? Would you use it again?
I loved the Liquilust products, which I received in the shades Elson 4 (a deep, rich red with purple undertones) and Divine Nude (a mauve color that’s so good, Jennifer Lopez would be a fan). The last time I used a lip color that stayed this effectively on my lips for hours was around 2003, when CoverGirl’s Outlast two-step lipstick first came out. I was 13 and sneaking trips to Walgreens to pick up the stuff, which required first applying the color, waiting 60 seconds, then putting on the gloss that sat on top of the lips. It was sticky, gummy, and the shades were, let’s say, fitting for the times. But Pat McGrath’s lipstick is the Outlast 2.0—a massive upgrade in texture, color, and staying power. I also appreciated the fact that I didn’t need a lip liner. I’m famously pretty lazy when it comes to makeup, and the less I have to apply, the better. I’ll definitely put these colors into my regular beauty rotation.