Lately, everywhere you turn, a matte lipstick is staring you in the face. From Guerlain’s Rouge G Luxurious Velvet to Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution and NARS Powermatte, the present (and future) is velvety and highly pigmented.
But fear not, today’s matte formulas bear no resemblance to the chalky, dry lips of the 1990s. This time ’round, matte lipsticks are flattering and don’t dry out the lips.
The difference? While older formulas were based on thick, cloudy waxes, modern matte lipsticks use clear, featherlight waxes that mix well with hydrating ingredients like mango butter and hyaluronic acid.
Result? Win-win all around!
And while they might not be as easy to apply as a slick of sheer gloss, matte lipsticks last longer, suit all skin tones, and look super-gorgeous. This look is for girls who are all grown up!
How to apply matte lipstick — like a pro!
Matte lipsticks pack a punch with rich pigment, offering a striking color payoff from the first swipe. They boast impressive staying power, surviving countless cups of coffee and Champagne toasts, and are more smudge-proof and transfer-resistant.
However, their less creamy texture can make smooth application tricky, demanding precision to stay within the lip lines. Plus, they’re quite the perfectionists, highlighting even the tiniest of dry patches, cracks, and fine lines. And when adding more color or touching up, remember moderation is key. Too much, and you might end up with a cakey pout.
However, don’t let these little quirks scare you away! When you get matte lipstick right, it’s nothing short of show-stopping.
And how to get it right? We’ve got insider tips straight from the professionals at Milan Fashion Week on how to apply matte lipstick. They’ve shared all the secrets to make it as easy and stunning as a catwalk strut. So, let’s dive in!
Prepping your lips
Before you even think about reaching for your lipstick, it’s crucial to prepare your lips. While a creamy or glossy lipstick can glide over dry patches, a matte lip doesn’t let you hide anything.
For a smooth canvas, begin by gently exfoliating your lips using a lip scrub (we love the Fresh Sugar Lip Polish) or a soft toothbrush. This removes any dead skin and provides a smooth surface for your lipstick.
Next, hydrate your lips — but skip the lip balm as it adds sheen, which can dilute the matte effect. Instead, opt for a lip primer, like MAC Prep + Prime, which smoothens the lips, fills in fine lines, and prevents the lipstick from bleeding or feathering.
If you don’t have a lip primer, a thin layer of foundation or concealer can serve as an alternative; apply lightly and blend it well over the lips. This will also neutralize your natural lip color and help the lipstick appear more vibrant and true to its shade!
Picking the right shade to nail the matte look
The key to pulling off matte lip color is to ensure it’s impactful. A neutral shade or one close to your skin tone can make you look sickly pale. Instead, opt for an intense pop of tangerine, red, or magenta — especially since, like matte lipstick itself, they’re entirely on-trend.
Precision is key
There is no room for sloppy application with a matte finish lipstick — it demands precise application. The answer? A matching lip pencil to define your lips and prevent bleeding.
Start by outlining your natural lip line. You can slightly overline your lips for added fullness, but be careful not to go overboard. Even better, fill in your lips with the liner and then apply the lipstick on top. This will help the lipstick stay on longer!
The main attraction: Applying the matte lipstick
Now, it’s time for the star of the show — the matte lipstick itself! Start at the center of your upper lip, follow your cupid’s bow, and work to the outer corners and bottom lip. Fill in the rest of your lips, ensuring even coverage.
For precision, use a lipstick brush, especially around the edges and corner of your mouth — it will provide more control over the application and help spread the lipstick evenly. If using a liquid matte lipstick, apply in thin layers to avoid clumping.
Want to keep it soft and subtle?
For a softer look, fill your entire lip with liner, then pat lipstick on using your fingertip. This is especially useful when you are in a rush or don’t want to look like you have put in too much effort!
Since matte lipsticks are highly pigmented, it’s important to apply them in thin layers. It will help avoids uneven patches, which are more noticeable with matte textures, and ensures a long-lasting, comfortable, and non-cakey finish.
Thick layers and too much product, on the other hand, can lead to a cakey appearance and increase the likelihood of the lipstick flaking off or fading unevenly, requiring more frequent touch-ups.
And remember to gently blot your lips with a piece of tissue after each layer — this removes excess oil and product, preventing the lipstick from smudging or feeling heavy. It also gives your lipstick more staying power!
Mastery is in the details: Perfecting your pout
If you notice small smudges or overdrawn lines, use a small brush dipped in concealer to clean up around the edges. This allows for precise corrections, especially around the edges of your lips, ensuring a crisp, sharp outline.
And if lipstick strays beyond the lip line, redefining it with a lip liner that matches your lipstick can help correct the shape.
Do. Not. Re-apply.
While it may be tempting to re-apply your lipstick after a long afternoon, resist! Since matte layers only sit on top of each other, you’ll get an uneven look. Instead, wipe off the existing lipstick and then apply a fresh coat.
Finally, how to remove matte lipstick
Removing matte lipstick properly is as important as the application itself. Use an oil-based makeup remover, micellar water, or coconut oil to break down the lipstick, then gently wipe it off with a cotton pad. Follow with a lip balm to rehydrate your lips.
Pro tip: How to make any lipstick matte
Rather than buying a new lipstick, you can simply matte your current stock with translucent powder. And it’s super-easy: Blot your lips with a tissue after applying the lipstick. Then, use your fingertips to dab a translucent face powder on your lips to eliminate the shine.
FAQs: How to apply matte lipstick?
These are the most frequently asked questions about matte lipstick. Have a question of your own? Drop it in the comments below, and we will get back to you ASAP.
How do I prepare my lips for matte lipstick?
Lip preparation is crucial for the perfect matte lip. Exfoliate your lips to remove dead skin, using a lip scrub or a soft toothbrush for a smooth base. Follow with a lip primer just before applying the lipstick — this will help condition the lips and create a smooth base.
Should I use a lip liner with matte lipstick?
Absolutely! A lip liner defines your lips and prevents the lipstick from bleeding. Match the liner with your lipstick shade, or use a nude liner for versatility. You can even slightly overline your lips for a fuller look.
What are the benefits of matte lipstick?
Matte lipsticks are known for their sophisticated look, rich pigmentation, long-lasting color, and velvety finish. They don’t feather outside your lips and require fewer touch-ups, making them versatile for any time of year.
What is the best technique for applying matte lipstick?
Apply a thin, even layer from your cupid’s bow for a liquid matte lipstick. For solid formulas, swipe on carefully, following the shape of your lip liner. Use a lip brush for the most precise, smudge-free application.
How do I make my matte lipstick last longer?
To extend the wear of your matte lipstick, start with a lip liner as a base, then apply the lipstick in thin layers and blot between applications. Setting with a translucent powder can also help.
What’s the best way to remove matte lipstick?
Use an oil-based makeup remover or coconut oil to dissolve the lipstick gently. Avoid rubbing harshly, and follow up with a hydrating lip balm to replenish moisture.
How do you apply matte lipstick without cracks?
To avoid cracks, ensure your lips are well-prepped and moisturized before applying matte lipstick. Hydrate with a good lip balm, and consider using a lip primer for extra smoothness. When applying the lipstick, do so in thin layers and avoid stretching your lips until the product is dry.
Can I apply Vaseline before matte lipstick?
Yes, you can apply a thin layer of Vaseline before matte lipstick. It helps to moisturize the lips and create a smoother base for application. However, let the Vaseline absorb a bit or blot off the excess to avoid a slippery surface that could affect the lipstick’s matte finish.
Is matte lipstick good for your lips?
Matte lipstick can be worn without damaging your lips if you maintain proper lip care. It’s essential to regularly hydrate and exfoliate your lips, especially since matte formulas can be more drying than other finishes. Using a nourishing lip balm on non-lipstick days is also beneficial.
Why do my lips dry out after matte lipstick?
Matte lipsticks tend to be drying because they contain less oil and moisture than other formulas. To prevent dryness, apply a hydrating lip balm beforehand, and avoid wearing matte lipsticks continuously without giving your lips a break to recover.
Who should not wear matte lipstick?
Those with extremely dry or chapped lips might want to avoid matte lipstick, as it can accentuate dryness and fine lines. However, most people can wear matte lipsticks with proper lip preparation and hydration. It’s always a matter of personal preference and comfort.
Which matte lipstick is best?
The best matte lipstick depends on your specific needs and preferences, such as color choice, formula, staying power, and how it feels on your lips. Some popular options include Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick, Huda Beauty Power Bullet Matte Lipstick, and the NARS Powermatte High-Intensity Matte Lipstick Pencil, which are known for their long-lasting and comfortable formulas.
The 9 best matte lipsticks
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