Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How To Get Metallic Lipstick Without Dealing With Kylie Jenner's BS

Pat McGrath's gold lips on Prada's spring 2016 runway.
Pat McGrath's gold lips on Prada's spring 2016 runway.
Photo: Victor Virgile/Getty Imates

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

If you are breathing and occasionally use the internet, you've likely heard that Kylie Jenner's next makeup offering will be a trio of metallic matte liquid lipsticks created in honor of Coachella. Basically, flash tats for your mouth.

Metallic lips are not a new phenomenon. I have a theory, and it could be controversial. Ready? I think "metallic" is just another word for "frosted." Sure, the pigments may be more finely milled and the colors more modern and metal-like than those of the hot pink '80s, but it's still lipstick with a shimmery sheen. Feel free to disagree with me, but obviously the illuminati (or someone) is attempting to make frosted happen — and it's working.

Kylie's last two lip launches, the matte liquid lipstick and lip gloss, exist in dozens of iterations elsewhere and it's pretty easy to find duplicates at other brands that were producing them long before she was. While there are quite a few brands that make traditional bullet lipsticks in metallic/frosted shades and finishes, there aren't many that produce a metallic liquid lipstick. So while it's harder to find metallic liquid lipsticks now, it's not impossible. So no, she did not "start" them. (Unlike wigs.)

It's not clear when exactly the new lipsticks will launch, but since they're tied to Cocahella and she's teasing them heavily on social media, I'd guess this week. There are three "metal matte"  colors: Reign is copper, King is gold, and Heir is rose gold.

Left to right: Reign, King, Heir

A video posted by Kylie Cosmetics (@kyliecosmetics) on

In this swatch the colors look pretty opaque, but the two lighter colors seem slightly less opaque and allow a bit of the person's actual lip color to come through. She notes that King is "like highlighter for the lips." (FROSTY.)

King on left, Reign on right Photos: kyliecosmetics/Instagram

King on left, Reign on right

It's an admittedly fun look, a welcome departure from the flat, matte lip color that's recently ruled. And it also doesn't make you look like you've been making out with C-3PO. But in light of how difficult it is to actually obtain Kylie's products, not to mention this TMZ report from yesterday which noted that customers' personal information had been leaked on her site due to a "glitch," I've gathered a few ways to get this look without selling your soul (and credit rating) to the Kardashian-Jenner industrial complex.

Here's Khloe wearing Heir (EVEN FROSTIER):

Ever wondered what Lip Khloe was wearing? ;) #Heir #newshadealert

A photo posted by Kylie Cosmetics (@kyliecosmetics) on

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, fondly called OCC, has several metallic versions in its Lip Tar forumula, which is arguably the OG long-wearing liquid lipstick. Try Artifact, Synth, or Hollywood ($16) to get approximate duplicates of Kylie's. There are also olive gold, turquoise gold, mauve silver, and blue metallic options if you really want to go for a metal mouth.

Ofra Cosmetics, a brand that has been around for over a decade and recently become a darling of the Instagram set, also offers several metallics in a long-wear formula. While none seem to be exact duplicates, the colors Times Square (silver) and Fifth Avenue (gold, both $19.90 but you can find 30% off codes on the brand's Instagram page) offer an even better alternative. They are both long-wearing but sheer, and meant to be worn on top of other colors so you can turn any existing lipstick you have into a matte metallic.

Today's #LipOfTheDay is 'Artifact' #LipTar lined with 'Sybil' #OCCPencil.

A photo posted by Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (@occmakeup) on

Then there's always the DIY option a la Pat McGrath, who used her Gold 001 pigment and mixing medium (like this one) to create gold metallic mouths at the spring 2016 Prada show. Her limited edition pigment has long since sold out, but MAC ($20) makes tons of colored metallic pigments.

Makeup artist Vlada Haggerty, who is no fan of Kylie's ever since she used one of Haggerty's signature images of a molten rose gold colored lip without permission to tease her forthcoming Lip Kits several months ago, turned metallic liquid lips quite literally into art long before Kylie. "I would recommend dabbing a little bit of a metallic pigment in the center of the lip for added volume and a gorgeous metallic finish. You can use this technique with any lipstick you have," she says. "I make all my metallic lip glosses and lipsticks myself by mixing metallic pigments with clear glosses and mixing mediums." Haggerty often uses the wildly inexpensive Wet n Wild clear gloss ($2.99).

Before you delve into matte metallics, heed a few warnings. First: "When wearing any kind of liquid lipstick that accentuates lip texture, a hydrating lip primer is an essential first step," Jack Hargreaves, the art director at OCC says. "Finding a great liner to pair with the liquid lipstick is also essential. [They] provide definition, and they help high opacity products stay within the lip line and alleviate concerns about feathering." He also recommends using a cream blush and to use matte and shimmer products combined on eyes to balance out the texture.

Now go to Coachella—or Google Hangouts if that's your fate—with the metallic lips you never knew you wanted.

'90s Dark Lipstick Is Back!