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Best MAC Lipsticks for Every Skin Tone in 2022

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MAC has always been one of the undisputed giants in the makeup world. With endless lip hues and a reputation for being a favorite of makeup artists, beauty bloggers, and even just average makeup users, MAC is one of the best lipstick brands out there. 

Many other lipstick brands have risen to MAC’s level (and many have also fallen) over the years. But today, MAC is still considered one of the world’s best lipstick brands — its shades like Ruby Woo and Velvet Teddy are recognizable by name alone! 

In this article, we’ll be highlighting the best MAC lipsticks in 2022. Some are iconic, beloved shades that have been around for decades, while others are exciting newcomers. With over 200 shades, MAC’s selection is astounding, so we made sure to include options for every style and skin tone.

Best MAC lipsticks overview:

How we chose the best MAC lipsticks 

To compile this list, we researched MAC’s selection in detail to create a short list of the brand’s top lipsticks. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, swatches, ratings, and reviews to find the best MAC lipstick for each category.

Our picks for the best MAC lipsticks

1
Best overall
MAC Matte Lipstick in Velvet Teddy
$21

What we love

  • Natural, “no makeup makeup” shade
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable matte formula

What we don’t love

  • Not ideal for cool skin tones

Meet the ultimate warm-toned “my lips but better” shade. Velvet Teddy is one of MAC’s most iconic nudes, described by the brand as a deep-toned beige. It’s a peachy brown that looks incredibly natural on the lips, perfect for days when you want to wear lipstick without looking obvious.

We like it best for those with warm skin tones, and as is often the case with nudes, it offers a lot of versatility. Wear it as your one-and-done shade, or pair it with darker lipsticks for a gradient effect. 

It’s part of MAC’s Matte lineup, which boasts a natural matte finish in an incredibly creamy formula that sits comfortably on the lips.

Color: Peachy brown | Finish: Matte

2
Best red
MAC Matte Lipstick in Russian Red
$21

What we love

  • Glamorous deep red
  • Extremely flattering
  • Comfortable matte formula

What we don’t love

  • Not great for warm skin tones

Russian Red was the only lipstick that could match the power of Madonna’s iconic cone bra during her ‘90s Blonde Ambition tour. Since then, it has remained one of the world’s best-selling red lipsticks. 

Ruby Woo is famous for being MAC’s best-selling red, but we think Russian Red is the more wearable option because of its depth. It has that old Hollywood glamour, but it’s not as vivid, or in your face, so we find it more effortlessly flattering. However, it’s still very cool-toned, so if your skin leans warm, you may prefer a brick-red shade like Chili instead. 

This lipstick has MAC’s matte formula, which is creamy, comfortable, and shouldn’t make the lips feel dry. 

Color: Medium blue-red | Finish: Matte

3
Best pink
MAC Viva Glam Lipstick in Viva Glam II
$21

What we love

  • Soft, wearable pink
  • Reflective satin finish
  • Revenue goes to charity

What we don’t love

  • Not very versatile

We find it hard to resist a soft, wearable pink lipstick. Sure, neon pinks can be playful and fun, but this is the kind of shade we’d want to wear on a daily basis. 

Viva Glam II is soft, neutral, and flattering, with a reflective satin finish that makes the lips look healthy and feel richly moisturized. It’s a lovely all-over color on lighter skin tones and the perfect highlight shade for those with darker skin. 

Our favorite thing about the Viva Glam range isn’t the lipsticks themselves, though. If you purchase a Viva Glam product, the entirety of the sale goes toward MAC’s charitable foundation to support women, the LGBT+ community, and people affected by or living with HIV/AIDS. 

If you want to help charity but aren’t into this specific shade, we’re also big fans of the deep red original Viva Glam and the burgundy Viva Glam III.

Color: Pink beige | Finish: Satin

4
Best warm red
MAC Matte Lipstick in Chili
$21

What we love

  • Glamorous warm red
  • Flattering on warm and olive skin tones
  • Comfortable matte formula

What we don’t love

  • May register as orange on deep skin tones

Blue-reds might be classics, but brick-reds are having a major moment right now. They’re just as statement-worthy as their cool-toned cousins but with cozy warmth that’s extra flattering on yellow and olive skin tones. 

Chili is bold but not too dark, and since it’s part of the matte line, you can expect comfortable, creamy wear with a natural matte finish. Worn opaque, it’s as glamorous as can be, but it’s also trending for the soft, blurry look we see in K-beauty. On darker skin tones, it can register as a little brighter or more orange, but you can adjust it with a darker lip liner.

Color: Brick Red | Finish: Matte

5
Best vivid red
MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo
$21

What we love

  • Iconic, in-your-face red
  • Stands out against all skin tones
  • Excellent wear time

What we don’t love

  • Can be drying
  • May be too cool for warm undertones

If you want your red lipstick to pack a serious punch, Ruby Woo is the MAC red lipstick to buy. We feel confident saying it’s the most iconic red lipstick in the world. The cool-toned shade creates the most eye-catching statement lip thanks to its intense color. 

It’s very vivid, so it looks incredible on all skin depth levels, but it may be too cool for warm undertones. The formula is buildable and adjustable, so you can find many ways to play around with it. 

It’s part of MAC’s Retro Matte range, which has a flat, true-matte finish. Matte lipsticks usually offer better longevity, but they can also be drying and less comfortable on the lips.

Color: Medium Berry | Finish: Semi-lustrous

6
Best berry
MAC Amplified Lipstick in Brick-O-La
$21

What we love

  • Natural berry shade
  • Very pigmented
  • Lustrous and moisturizing

What we don’t love

  • A little oily

When we think of natural makeup, nude lipsticks are the first to come to mind. But berry lipsticks like Brick-O-La deserve some consideration here. Brick-O-La is a more accurate “my lips but better” shade on many wearers since healthy lips usually have a naturally pinkish tone. 

It’s part of MAC’s Amplified line, which means it’s very pigmented with a lustrous sheen that gives the lips a healthy, juicy look. The formula features castor oil and lanolin, both of which are moisturizing but might feel a little oily.

Color: Medium berry | Finish: Semi-lustrous

7
Best brown
MAC Matte Lipstick in Whirl
$21

What we love

  • Flattering rosy brown
  • Excellent nude for those with deeper skin tones
  • Comfortable matte formula

What we don’t love

  • Unpredictable

Whirl is our top brown lipstick in general and a go-to for nude looks. MAC describes it as “dirty rose,” and it’s another one of the brand’s top sellers. It’s a little deeper than Velvet Teddy, making it a wonderful choice for those with deep skin tones who like their nudes more intense.   

The only challenge with this lipstick is that it’s a little unpredictable in terms of how it appears. It can go from nude to pink to brown, depending on your coloring and the other products you use. 

Color: Rosy brown | Finish: Matte

8
Best orange
MAC Amplified Lipstick in Morange
$21

What we love

  • Warm red-orange shade
  • Bright yet casual
  • Glowy and moisturizing

What we don’t love

  • Doesn’t look very natural
  • A little oily

Morange looks pretty extreme in the tube but appears warm and sweet on the skin. It’s an orange shade with just enough red to flatter most wearers. If you don’t mind the brightness, it’s casual enough for daily wear. 

That said, if you like your makeup looking natural, stay away. And if your skin is cool-toned, you may need to adjust the rest of your makeup to avoid a color clash. 

It’s part of MAC’s Amplified line, so expect a creamy glow that’ll help your lips look full and lush with nourishing oils that add moisture.

Color: Orange | Finish: Semi-lustrous

9
Best burgundy
MAC Matte Lipstick in Sin
$21

What we love

  • Dark, vampy shade
  • Flattering on most skin tones
  • Long-wearing

What we don’t love

  • A little drying

This stunning burgundy is one of our favorite fall lipsticks. MAC describes it as a “deep, dark blue red,” but we think deeming it burgundy or dark berry is probably more accurate. It’s vampy and cool-toned, but it’ll still flatter most undertones. On days when you want to feel dark and edgy, reach for this shade in your makeup arsenal.  

Some reviewers noted that the formula is more drying than other lipsticks in the Matte line, but they also raved about its long wear time.

Color: Burgundy | Finish: Matte

10
Best purple
MAC Matte Lipstick in Heroine
$21

What we love

  • Bold purple shade
  • Easy to adjust with different application techniques
  • Vivid to show up on all skin tones

What don’t we love

  • Not great for olive skin

Heroine exemplifies how fearless MAC can be as a brand. It’s a true purple shade that’ll appeal to creative spirits and anyone who loves makeup as an art. It’s not the most unusual lip color you can choose, but MAC occasionally releases blues, greens, and yellows for when you want shades even further outside the usual lipstick spectrum. 

Depending on your mood, you can blot it to achieve a subtle purple look or layer a lighter lip gloss on top to transform it into more of a pink color. It may be a little too cool for those with warm or olive skin tones, but if you’re cool- or neutral-toned, it’s stunning and works well across the depth spectrum.

Color: Purple | Finish: Matte

Mad for MAC

If there’s a brand out there with a broader range of lipstick colors, we’re not familiar with it. Our top pick, Velvet Teddy, is a crowd-pleaser that looks natural and flattering on most skin tones. But a big part of the fun with a brand like MAC is that you can find just about any shade and any undertone. Whether you want to go bold or keep it natural, there’s a MAC lipstick out there for you.  

Is MAC a cruelty-free and vegan brand?

MAC doesn’t test on animals or own any animal testing facilities. However, the brand does sell in countries like China, where governments conduct animal testing before selling products. This means we can’t officially label the brand as cruelty-free. MAC partners with IIVS (Institute for In Vitro Sciences) to raise awareness of this matter so that non-animal testing methods can become a global standard. 

MAC isn’t a vegan company and does use ingredients derived from insects and animals in its products.

How to pick the right MAC lipstick for you

MAC’s ability to offer so many different lipsticks in winning, time-tested formulas is unusual in the makeup world. It can make picking the best MAC lipstick difficult, but considering your coloring and finish preferences can help you choose.   

Skin tone

  • Light. Lipsticks can look surprisingly dark against your skin. To keep things simple, aim for lipsticks that are just three to five shades deeper than your skin tone.
  • Medium. Look for lipsticks that are either slightly lighter or darker than your skin tone. Anything that matches too closely can wash you out. 
  • Dark. The same rules apply — you can go lighter or darker with your lipstick. Additionally, very saturated shades can look great against your skin tone. 

Undertone

  • Warm. Opt for neutral, warm-toned lipsticks like brick reds, corals, and warm pinks.
  • Cool. Look for cool purple or blue undertones like blue-reds, pinks, berries, and mauves. That said, you don’t have to stay away from warmer lipsticks — you may just have to adjust the rest of your makeup to ensure everything blends together nicely. 
  • Olive. Keep it neutral or warm with brown-based and orange-based lipsticks that likely flatter you the most. Try to avoid strong blue or purple undertones. 
  • Neutral. The world of lipsticks is your oyster. Any shade will work as long as it offers some depth contrast against your skin tone. 

MAC ranges

  • Matte. You can’t go wrong with MAC’s Matte lipstick range. The finish is a natural matte that’s not flat or drying which works for all kinds of looks. You can always transform your lipstick to look even more matte with a few small tricks or add lipgloss for extra sheen. 
  • Retro Matte. MAC’s ultra-matte range is ideal for those that prefer a very flat lipstick look without any reflective sheen. But keep in mind these shades can be a little drying. 
  • Satin. These have more sheen and moisture, with buildable coverage. They’re excellent if your lips get dry or if you like a natural, nourished look, but their longevity may not be as impressive. 
  • Amplified. Lustrous and pigmented, these lipsticks give the lips a pretty, glowy sheen that’s very juicy but not as dramatic as a gloss. 
  • Powder Kiss. MAC has a powder lipstick formula with a natural matte finish and buildable pigmentation. It’s nice if you like a matte finish yet a very natural look, but overall, we prefer MAC’s more pigmented options. 

FAQs

What’s the most popular MAC lipstick color?

MAC doesn’t release its sales data publicly, so we can’t give you a definitive answer here. That said, Ruby Woo, Velvet Teddy, and Russian Red have been MAC best sellers for years with immense recognizability, while in the last year, Chili has become extremely popular as well. 

What color lipstick looks good on everyone?

We love the idea of universal lipstick shades that flatter a wide range of people. MAC’s best-seller Velvet Teddy comes close to flattering most wearers. But of course, it’s a question of your personal taste, the vibe you’re going for, and what makes you feel most comfortable and confident. 

What’s the most popular MAC matte lipstick?

Most beauty bloggers agree that Velvet Teddy is the all-time most popular shade in MAC’s Matte range. Ruby Woo is also considered one of the best lipsticks out there, while Chili also seems to be a fan-favorite.