MAC's famous 90s green lipstick is back – is it still a big hitter?

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If you’re under a certain age, you might not know it, but a green lipstick was a big hitter in the 90s. Worn with brown pencil liners, it was ideal for the go-to look.

Fast forward a few decades and it’s back again in a new glossy formula, cheekily called MAC Squirt Plumping Gloss Stick, in the shade Like Squirt. Already, people are grabbing the good green stuff.

So why green? There’s actually a really smart reason behind it.

Dom Skinner, head of artistry at MAC Cosmetics, tells us: ‘The 90s were time of all things synthetic. Rave culture, plastics and electro music went pop.

‘Bright but radical colours were the fun way to express yourself so why not lime green?

‘It was a wearable reference to neon and I think that’s the reason it was so big in the 90s.’

The special thing about this green tinted solid gloss, is that it plays on colour theory – so it actually won’t show up as literal green on lips.

Dom explains: ‘The lime green hue of the gloss neutralises any red tone within your lip leaving you with either a coral or caramel colour.

‘The more red you naturally have in your lips the more coral the colour pay off it will be. It’s all about art and science, which is what MAC does best.

‘It’s sheer and the green will never show up as green.’

It works well on its own, or with a brown liner like MAC Spice, Cork, Stone or Chestnut.

And if you don’t believe the hype is real, in 2021 the brand released a small batch of the green shade of Squirt Plumping Gloss Stick only to American shoppers – all 1,000 of them sold out in a matter of a few hours, as fans were keen to get the lime shade back into their lives.

But how does it stand up today? We got three journalists with different skin tones to see how the green transforms for them.

Lizzie Thomson, Assistant Lifestyle Editor

‘When I twisted up and saw the green, I was skeptical at first – and I had every right to be.

‘On its own, it’s definitely one for those with a precise hand. Any slip-ups and you’ll be left with a greenish, glossy tinge around your lips (on my skin anyway) – not a good look. So you’ll definitely want a mirror for application.

‘In terms of the shade it was a subtle, “your lips but better” effect. As for the formula, it feels nourishing on the lips: it’s not a super heavy gloss, but I definitely wouldn’t describe it as lightweight.

‘After I added the brown lip liner, the colour transformed on my lip shade in particular – to a much richer shade, which was strange as as I only lined the edges.

‘Overall I liked it paired with the brown liner, but I would worry a bit about it smudging and leaving me with Shrek-like patches around the edges of my lips.’

Rating: 3/5

Tanyel Mustafa, Lifestyle Reporter

‘The thing I’m most impressed by is how the green colour theory genuinely lifts natural lip colours to a coral-caramel – without showing up green. It looks very caramel on me when worn alone and cancels out my natural pink-red hues.

‘It’s only when you take it off and see it in the tissue you realise just how green it is.

‘I enjoyed this best on its own for a natural glassy lip look, because the shine is real with this, without being sticky.

‘The other thing I loved is how comfortable the plumping effect is. My heart sank when I learned this has a tingling sensation, as that normally irritates my lips – but this felt like applying comforting Carmex.

‘Even if you aren’t sold on this shade, the “normal” colours in this new range deserve a place in your makeup bag.

‘Like Squirt won’t replace my everyday lipstick, but I will definitely keep this around for days in which I want to inject a bit of fun in my beauty routine – even if no one else will know the real colour applied to my now-caramel lips.

‘This is one for the club kids and playful makeup wearers. It’ll be coming to Glasto with me this summer.’

Rating: 4/5

Alicia Adejobi, Deputy Entertainment Editor

‘This product was somewhat of a pleasant surprise! It’s a little retro and I’m here for it.

‘The first thing that took me aback was just how glossy it was – you’ll be shining to the gods – as the packaging suggests it might be more of a lip balm.

‘It’s perhaps a little too shiny for me but using just a little product might be enough and I like how soft it was without being sticky like other glosses.

‘There seemed to be a very slight tint of green on first application but it is very subtle, so I wouldn’t say it made any particular difference.

‘As someone with an uneven and darker lip colour, I feel like the colour is pretty universal and should work for others like me.

‘I probably won’t be wearing it with lip liner like the trend of the 90s/00s, but this might now have a home in my makeup bag as a decent lip back-up.’

Rating: 3.5/5

MAC Squirt Plumping Gloss Stick in the shade Like Squirt is available exclusively at Boots for £22.

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