Plump and glossy lips may be sexy, but it isn’t as sophisticated and classy as matte lips. Most women nowadays look for a duller yet bolder finish that only matte lipsticks can provide. Unlike glossy or sheeny lipsticks, matte’s flat pigment makes it the second longest-wearing lip color (second to lip stain), which means less mess on cups, clothes and other people’s faces. Plus, it doesn’t budge and all you need is one swipe on your lip to achieve a “look.”
There’s just one big catch about matte lipsticks though: their powdery finish can give a chalky, uncomfortable texture that can dry the lips and highlight the imperfections and flaking. Even mild dryness can be highlighted by matte lip color. To fix that, cosmetic companies continue to introduce new formulas to capture matte-lipstick lovers while keeping their lips soft and moisturized. But even with new and improved formulas, most matte lipsticks still remain unsatisfactory in terms of moisture. However, there are ways to work around this.
Through this guide, we will help you learn how to apply matte lipstick like a pro and to choose the best matte lipstick out there for you.
How to Prepare Lips for Matte Lipsticks
If you have dry and flaky lips, you may feel like long-wear matte lipsticks will not be good for you. But there’s a way to fix that: you only need to do two steps so you can rock that matte lip.
The first thing to do so you can wear a stunning matte lipstick is to eliminate all that flaky dead skin in your lips. Long-lasting matte lipsticks are gorgeous but tend to be drying. Exfoliate your lips in the morning or before you go to bed to keep it looking attractive.
You can buy a lip scrub or make your own lip scrub by mixing sugar and oil. Wet your lips and lightly massage the lip scrub unto your lips, while you work in tiny circles. Wipe off the scrub using a clean cloth or cleansing sponge, rinse it well. Then, swipe your cloth or sponge again to remove any remaining scrub or skin particles.
If you don’t want to buy a scrub (or bother making and using it), a toothbrush can work too. After you brush your teeth, lightly brush your toothbrush in your lip in tiny circles then rinse. But if your toothbrush bristles are too harsh, get a soft toothbrush to gently exfoliate. You may also put a little Vaseline on your lips before using a soft toothbrush, and make sure to rinse and dry afterward to avoid leaving a film.
A matte finish means there’s less oil in the lipstick recipe, meaning less moisture. To keep your lips from going dry, you have to keep your lips moist and smooth yourself. The key is to increase hydration without adding shine. Apply a layer of moisture underneath the lipstick by using a non-greasy lip balm, because a hydrated base makes a hydrated final look. This will help the lipstick to glide smoothly over the lips. But if you don’t like putting a layer of lipstick right after applying lip balm because it makes you feel uncomfortable on the lips, you can let it sink for a few minutes or overnight. Either apply a thick balm before you go to sleep or right after rinsing your mouth in the morning so your lips can absorb it before you put on lipstick.
Tips for Applying Matte Lipstick
Matte lipstick is not as forgiving as the glossier types, so you have to put on extra effort to make it look swell.
Apply lip liner
It’s not a requirement, but it can help with the longevity of your lipstick, especially if you have problems with it fading quickly. Don’t just outline your lips, make sure you’ll also fill it in. Liquid matte lipsticks can be hard to apply so you can use a lip liner beforehand so the lipstick will not creep into your fine lines.
Make sure you fill in your lips
People with plump lips can easily get away with applying lipstick from the tube. But if you have smaller or thinner lips, or if it has fine lines, it’s best to use a lip brush in applying lipstick. This can also help you fill in the edges of your lips and add definition.
Also, because matte lipsticks are typically dry and won’t spread in a way creamy or glossy lipsticks do, stretch your lips or smile when you apply so you won’t end up with little lines that are uncolored.
Dry lipstick completely before closing your mouth
When using liquid matte lipstick, let it dry completely before closing your mouth. Better yet, dry one lip at a time. This will help ensure a perfectly smooth application.
Clean up smudges right away
If you find any stray color, swab the border with a moist, closed-cell sponge. The tissue will do, but it may leave a linty residue, so be careful. After you’ve wiped out excess lipstick, it may leave a bit of color outside your lips, so apply some concealer to carefully cover the smudge.
To make your lips look slightly fuller, use a highlighting shadow to the center of your bottom lip after putting on lipstick. But don’t just use any highlighter – make sure it complements the shade of your lipstick. If you’re using red or nude, use a gold-toned highlighter, but if you’re wearing pinks or purples, use silvery tones. If you don’t have a highlighter, adding an extra lip balm or gloss on the center of the lips can work.
Where to Buy
Great Matte Lipsticks
It’s hard to list the best matte lipsticks out there without being biased because the best cosmetics depend on what works really well for your skin tone, skin type, and other preferences. But here are some of the great products you can find on Amazon that is well-received by beauty editors:
This lipstick and lip pencil combo delivers the pigment-rich impact of matte lipstick with the spontaneity of a pencil. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil is a cult-favorite, as it provides a velvety matte finish and a non-drying formula that makes it easy on the lips. It’s enriched with emollients, vitamin E and silicone for a creamy texture that lasts long. This particular shade (Cruella) is a classic scarlet and is also one of the NARS’ lines of best-selling and statement-making shades.
This is the best-selling lipstick in the US and the whole world. MAC, as you probably know it, is one of the most well-known cosmetic brands, and their classic lipstick in Ruby Woo gives a true matte finish. Its comfortable matte formula is perfect for long-lasting wear and will last you all night after many sips of martinis. Its vivid red color is timeless and sophisticated.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream is a silky smooth lip lacquer that dries up to a stunningly matte finish. It lasts very long and finishes with an opaque color. This particular lip cream line from NYX comes with a great color selection (it even has blue and purple shades), but this set features shades of nudes and browns in Cannes, Abu Dhabi, and Berlin. It’s also very affordable, too!
Of course, this list will not be complete without featuring any product from the queen of lip kits. Each Kylie Matte Lip Kit comes with a liquid matte lipstick and a matching lip liner. The matte lipstick offers a high-intensity hue for an instant bold matte lip, and its long-wearing lip liner has a creamy texture that easily glides across the lips. It stays on your lips for hours and doesn’t smudge.
Revlon is one of the world-famous lipstick brands, so you can expect some chic matte lip colors from the brand. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor brings you high-definition (HD) color with a lightweight and velvety matte finish that dries completely and stays on your lips for hours. Its wax-free gel formula makes it glide on so easily on the lips, with a creamy mango and whipped vanilla fragrance. This featured shade (Devotion) is a soft, mauve-y pink color that’s perfect for everyday use.
Maybelline, a drugstore brand favorite, offers a lot of matte lipstick lines but the SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick is one of their best. It leaves a flawless matte finish on your lips that lasts up to 16 hours. Inside, it has a unique arrow applicator for a more precise lipstick application. It’s easy to apply and it feels just like it has a lip balm mixed in it. And it also doesn’t leave a lipstick trace on your bottle or coffee cup.
Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème is a super vibrant, pigmented lipstick in matte finish sure to take you to endless hours of luxurious wear. This lipstick lasts for 10 hours while saturating your lips in its luxe and creamy texture that feels like a hydrating lip balm. The great thing about it is it doesn’t feel sticky while your lips look plumped and nourished. It contains anti-oxidant rich seaberry and natural humectants like cocoa butter and meranti for a more organic touch.
Julep It’s Whipped Matte Lip Mousse is a true matte lipstick that dries down to a super saturated lip color, yet doesn’t feel dry at all. Its amazing effect lies on its antioxidant-rich and skin-boosting ingredients like the nourishing rosehip seed oil, moisturizing Malvaceae lipid extract, and the invigorating green coffee bean oil. It is weightless and comfortable and can last up to 12 hours.
If you’re looking for a hydrating matte lipstick, Butter LONDON Lippy Moisture Matte Lipstick can satisfy. While hydrating, it leaves a luxurious, velvety-matte finish on the lips and irresistibly rich hues. It’s easy to apply as it is enriched with vitamin E and minerals that help smoothen the lip surface.
By getting Colourpop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick, you can easily enjoy flattering matte hues with little monetary commitment. It’s cheap, but its thin and lightweight formula impressively glides smoothly on the lips and leaves intense color that will surely pop. It’s also long wearing and completely kiss proof. This shade (Kae pop) is a deep, warm yellowish-brown that looks very flattering especially for those with brown skin.
If you’re looking for the ultimate red lipstick, look no further! Get Lip Bar Liquid Matte, Bawse Lady. This is a true red liquid matte that looks beautiful on every complexion. The red hue is rich and deep that every one of your girlfriends will wonder what lippy are you using. (Of course, the other shades offered by this line are pretty great too, but this red one is so note-worthy). It can give your lip a luscious matte pout that doesn’t look dried and flaky. Its non-drying formula contains natural oils and vegan ingredients, making it all the greater.
If you’re sticking to pure mattes even though they tend to be dry (because the most important thing for you is that they stay there for long), trying out Kat Von D Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick might convert you. This is the “creamiest, most cushiony and unbelievably pigmented lipstick to ever cross your lips,” as advertised. It gives great coverage and gorgeous satin-matte color for your lips while being super soft and creamy, but you can be sure that it holds on tight throughout the day.
Shu Uemura Supreme Matte combines the sophisticated color and finish of a good matte lipstick and the comfort and smoothness of a lip balm. It’s a powerful matte lipstick with a uniquely creamy texture. This line of lipsticks is available in 16 pretty shades perfect for everyday wear and during different occasions.
Packed in a soft-touch, slim stick, slanted applicator, NARS Pure Matte Lipstick makes applying matte lipstick precise and easy. The lipstick itself gives an ultra-matte, super-rich color with a supple feel of a hydrating lip balm. It soothes the lips while giving out a dramatic color.
If you don’t prefer a fully matte finish, Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid Lipstick is right up your alley. With this, you can drench your lip in saturated, vivid matte shades that easily glides on your lips with an almost creamy, smooth satin texture. It offers full-color coverage that gives your lips an intense look.