Lately, it seems that everywhere you turn there is a matte lipstick staring you in the face.
So all-encompassing is this trend that even liquid lipsticks have jumped onto the matte bandwagon, as evidenced by a whole slew of contenders, with NARS Air Matte Liquid Lipstick, Sephora’s Lip Blush Blotted Matted Lipstick and Rare Beauty’s Lip Soufflé Matte Cream Lipstick to name just a few.
But fear not, the matte formulas of today bear no resemblance to the chalky, dry lips of the 1990s. This time round, matte lipsticks are flattering and feel super-comfortable on the lips.
How did that happen? How can you make a matte lipstick that feels comfortable, non-chalky and doesn’t dry out the lips?
While older formulas were based on thick, cloudy waxes, modern matte lipsticks use waxes that are clear, featherlight and mix well with hydrating ingredients like sunflower oil, mango butter and hyaluronic acid.
Result? Win-win all around!
And while they might not be quite 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!
Why matte lipstick rocks!
— Matte lipsticks are loaded with much more pigment than other formulas, which means strong color payoff straight from the bullet.
— Matte lipsticks — even matte liquid lipsticks — have far more staying power and lasts for ages on your lips, even through endless cups of coffee and Champagne. Cue: Less smudging, transfer or fade-off through the day.
— Not looking to do a full face of makeup? A strong, matte lip is the fastest way to add definition to your features and pull together a sophisticated look. There are literally times when I put my hair into a slightly messy bun, slip into jeans and put on a matte lip to create the absolutely perfect off-duty model look!
How to apply matte lipstick — like a pro!
— There is no room for sloppy application with a matte finish lipstick. This one both draws and holds attention, so you have to apply it right.
— To get the perfect matte pout, you first need to condition your lips. While a creamy gloss can glide over dry patches, a matte lip doesn’t let you hide anything. So, first turn HERE to get your lips in perfect shape.
— The key to pulling off this look is to make sure it’s impactful. A neutral shade or one close to your skin tone can make you look sickly pale. Instead, opt for a strong pop of tangerine, red or fuchsia — especially since, like matte lipstick itself, they’re completely on-trend.
— Skip the lip balm before you apply a matte finish lipstick as it adds sheen, thereby diluting the effect. Instead use a lip primer — like MAC Prep + Prime for Lips — for hydration without the added shine.
— Line your lips with a shade that matches your lipstick perfectly to avoid the unflattering ’90s-reminiscent two-tone look. Even better, fill in your entire lips with the liner and then apply the lipstick on top.
— 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 as if you have put in too much effort!
— A matte lipstick usually takes longer to wear off around the outside of your lips (due to lack of moisture), so you’ll be tempted to re-apply. Don’t do that: Since coats will 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.
— One single texture across your face can looks dull and ageing, so contrast a matte finish lipstick with dewy foundation, highlighter on the cheeks or glossy eyes.
How to make any lipstick matte
Rather than buying a new lipstick, you can even simply matte out your current stock with translucent powder.
And it’s super-easy: After applying the lipstick, blot your lips with a tissue. Then use your fingertips to dab a translucent face powder on your lips to eliminate the shine.
For added effect, double up on the powder application in the centre of your lower lip — this play on centre sheen will create a more fashion forward pout.
The 10 best matte lipsticks
Looking for the best in matte lips? These top 10 matte lipsticks will not fail you ever.
Guerlain Rouge G Customizable Luxurious Velvet Matte Lipstick
It’s the newest kid on the block and has been created by Guerlain’s new Creative Director — cult makeup artist Violette. Highly pigmented, long lasting and infused with nourishing mango butter plus hydrating hyaluronic acid spheres, this is my current favorite.
Each of the 15 shades can be customised with their own luxury case (sold separately) for an added touch of Parisian chic.
My favorite, must-have combo? Mauve Plum combined with the Tweed case… oh là là!
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick
A matte formula with 3D glow pigments that help lips appear fuller and orchid extract to protect and nourish your pout. Added bonus: The unique square-angled tip mimics the shape of a lip brush for precise application every time.
Must buy shade: The iconic Pillow Talk.
Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick
The ultimate light-as-air texture glides on creamy and stays put — no bleeding, no feathering. With a velvety matte finish inspired by rose petals, the color is mega rich minus all of that weight!
Huda Beauty Power Bullet Matte Lipstick
If you love the matte look but struggle with dryness, these Power Bullets are great for you. Reason? A silky smooth formula that stays on all day long without smudging.
NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil
This cult-favorite delivers all the impact of a matte lipstick with the convenience of a pencil. Plus, the non-drying formula is enriched with vitamin E and emollients for added moisture.
YSL The Slim Velvet Radical Matte Lipstick
A comfortable and intensely pigmented square-bullet lipstick that delivers intense color with an innovative shape for precise application. It’s full coverage, bleed-resistant and infused with silky oils for creamy comfort.
Gucci Rouge à Lèvres Matte Lipstick
A formula rich with pure pigments for intense, vivid color in one stroke. Hues range from nudes to oranges and pinks, reds, purples and a super unique majestic green that’s sure to be a showstopper if you dare to take the risk! (And that fluted vintage gold case is to die for!).
If those gorgeous, refillable cases don’t take your breath away, the powdery, lightweight formula definitely will seal the deal! Each of the 14 shades is comfortable, moisturizing and delivers long-lasting color with a super-high concentration of intense pigments.
GXVE by Gwen Stefani Original Me Clean High Performance Lipstick
If you are looking for the best matte red lipstick, you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s Gwen Stefani’s signature true red — a luxurious, velvety matte that will stay on for hours without drying out your lips.
By Kilian Scented Matte Lipstick
Sumptuous black lacquer cases, subtly fragranced bullets with notes of vanilla and neroli, and a comfortable, long wearing formula… this is for true lipstick connoisseurs!