LIQUID MATTE CAGE MATCH, ROUND 2

FACE OFF

Because who can resist a transfer-resistant lipstick battle involving Triscuits and coffee? Let’s meet the contenders :

WHAT ARE THOSE

ColourPop Ultra Matte in “Trap”: ($6/.11oz at ColourPop) Probably everyone on earth has at least one of these by now. They’re my usual standard of comparison for liquid mattes, because so many people are familiar with them, and also because they’re pretty damn great for six bucks!

Tarte Tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in “Festival” : ($20/.2oz at Ulta etc) Similar formula and application, with a few notable differences. These are currently available in about two dozen shades, versus ColourPop’s 60+, so your options are a bit more limited — and of course Tarte veers a little more low-key in their color ranges, so you won’t find black or blue or weird greige shades here.

WHAT’RE THEY LIKE THO

ColourPop has a longer/larger tube, despite containing about half the amount of product of Tarteist. The applicator is a pretty standard Fuzzy Doe Foot Thinger, which I never have any problems getting a neat clean line and solid coverage with. Trap in particular was easy to apply, since it’s not a super extreme contrast level from my skin. No added fragrance that I can detect.

ColourPop Ultra Matte in Trap

Tarte has a slightly more compact tube, and a ~fancy~ fuzzy doe foot applicator — it’s got a slightly more tapered tip, slightly shorter fuzz, and also is curved / concave on one side, presumably to facilitate even distribution on a rounded lip surface (personally I found this fanciness to be neither a help nor a hindrance, really). Like the ColourPop, this doesn’t seem to have fragrance or flavor — they both just smell like “lipstick.”

Tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Festival

OK FINE BUT HOW DO THEY WEAR

Both were pretty easy to apply smoothly. The Tarte DOES dry down significantly faster than ColourPop — probably in roughly half the time, which, if you’re not into standing around with your mouth wide open for three minutes, this is helpful. Also, once they’re set, the ColourPop (at least this shade, and many/most of the other Ultra Mattes I own) retains a very slight tackiness/clinginess, particularly around the center of the lips; the Tarte, otoh, really did dry down completely and felt uniformly smooth and non-sticky.

Left : Tarte “Festival,” Right : ColourPop “Trap,” freshly applied.

Both feel pretty similar, and comfortable to me — neither formula has that “oh god it’s sucking all the moisture out of my lips, helpppp” thing going on. Both had minimal transfer while drinking from a coffee cup (just the usual tiny bit where the oils/cream in my coffee breaks down the color at the very center of my lips). The ColourPop fared slightly worse here, probably also due to its inherent residual clinginess on the inner part of lips … and also wear is probably slightly less-evident for the Tarte, since it’s a closer match to my lip color.

Tarte “Festival” on left, ColourPop “Trap” on right, about an hour after application.

AND THEN, I ate some Triscuits because it was already like 1pm and I forgot to eat before I put this on. Both of them survived food pretty well, though I didn’t challenge them with a bowl of greasy noodles as I did last time (sorry, no leftover Chinese in the fridge today).

Tarte “Festival” on left, ColourPop “Trap” on right, after about five hours.

Wear = pretty standard for both. However, the Tarte, being a little thinner, was easier to touch up without generating clumps and unsightly ridges. Also, lacking ColourPop’s tenacious tackiness and cling, it was notably easier to remove. After washing my face with my usual Acure Sensitive cleanser, the Tarte was 100% gone, while the ColourPop left quite a bit of product.

Tarte “Festival” on left, ColourPop “Trap” on right, after face wash.

THE VERDICT : On the whole, I’d call it a tie. ColourPop is an inexpensive delight and comes in like five dozen shades, and its cling lets me top it with glitter or other sparkly crap. But despite its higher price, I’m kinda digging the Tarte! I would definitely consider these if you A) aren’t looking for super intense or avant-garde colors, and B) like a very lightweight-feeling non-clingy matte and/or C) you’re going to want to touch it up or remove it with minimal effort. Even if you were out and about and like “no, I obvs cannot wash my whole face right now, but my lipstick is patchy as hell, what do I dooooo” — a couple swipes of lip balm / Chapstick and a couple rubs with a paper towel will easily remove the Tarte without requiring so much rubbing and scrubbing that your whole lower face turns red. NICE.

Tried this one? Love it or nah?