It’s safe to say it’s the year of the matte lipstick. You’ve probably noticed that the velvety-smooth texture, usually worn in a bold shade, has made been making a major statement on the mouths of many a celeb and model. “Matte lipstick is quite different than any other lip category because of its visible lack of reflection,” says Maybelline New York global makeup artist Gabriel Almodovar. In fact, it’s that sheen-free finish that makes it such a standout lip look, he says. “Because matte lipsticks have no shine, they tend to pop more on the face,” Almodovar explains. But that’s what also makes it the least forgiving lip texture, especially compared to a gloss or a satin finish lipstick. To wear it well, your pout needs to be flawless, flake-free, and your application needs to be precise.
While wearing matte lipstick does take a little extra care and attention (we’ll get to that below), the latest formulas have come a long way since the dry-looking, hard-to-remove versions of the past. If you’re old enough to remember the mattes of the 90s, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised this time around. These next generation mattes contain moisturizing ingredients that keep the opaque color feeling creamy and looking smooth and soft on lips. That means you can crack a smile without worrying about cracking your matte lipstick.
If you haven’t gotten in on the trend yet, now’s your chance. We asked Almodovar for his best prep and application secrets. Plus, we’ve rounded up the very best matte lipsticks out there.
Matte lipstick prep
“Since mattes don't bounce light like creamy or glossy finishes do, you need to make sure that your lips are perfectly smooth underneath and properly hydrated before your application,” says Almodovar. Dry lip skin will be more obvious with a matte formula, he explains. Here, how to get lips ready in two easy steps:
Step 1: Exfoliate. To get lip skin smooth fast, use a wet wash cloth, a soft toothbrush, or a lip scrub to gently buff away flaky bits in circular motions.
Step 2: Hydrate. Apply a nourishing lip balm and let it soak in before you put on your color. Almodovar suggests moving on to the rest of your makeup before applying your lipstick. This gives the balm time to fully absorb and hydrate your lips.
Apply matte lipstick with intention
Unlike a gloss or a high-shine balm, a matte isn’t the type of lipstick you can just slap on quickly. You have to put some thought into it, explains Almodovar. He likes to apply it with a lip brush (try NYX Cosmetics Pro Lip Brush). “A brush allows you to be more precise with the application, and it also helps smooth on the lip product more evenly,” he says. The final touch: Once you’ve applied your lip color, use a matching lip liner to trace the border of your lips, creating a more precise shape.
Keep the rest of your makeup fresh
A face full of matte makeup can make your skin look flat, dry, and dull. When wearing matte lips, pump up the sheen on other parts of your skin. Go with sheer, dewy foundation, creamy blush, and a hint of shimmer on your lids. If you’re going with a bold lip color, balance it out with well-defined brows and dark, thick lashes.
The 9 Best Matte Lipsticks
Click through for a list of the most wearable, comfortable matte lippies ever.