How to Flawlessly Apply Matte Lipstick Like a Pro

September 08, 2022 logo
By: | by L'Oréal
person wearing mauve matte lipstick

Flawlessly applying matte lipstick is, like any makeup technique, a skill. It requires patience, a steady hand and (until you get the hang of it) tools to fix an inevitable slip-up. But perfect matte lipstick is not impossible, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll love the way a bold lip color can completely change your makeup look. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up our best tips for applying matte lipstick — we’re sure you’ll be a pro in no time.

Tips for Applying Matte Lipstick

Use a Good Lip Scrub

The key to a flawless matte lip is a smooth canvas, which is why we recommend scrubbing your lips before applying the lip product of your choice. For an affordable, effective option, we recommend the L’Oréal Pure Sugar Smooth and Glow Grapeseed Lip Scrub, an ultra-soft sugar scrub that gently exfoliates. It contains lip-loving oils like acai and monoi, which moisturize your lips prior to lipstick application.

Apply a Hydrating Lip Balm

If your lip scrub doesn’t offer added moisture, we recommend using a nourishing lip balm like the Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1, which helps protect lips from dehydration and creates a smooth canvas for application. The cult-fave option will run you $10 and is bound to become a staple in your beauty arsenal. If you frequently struggle with chapped lips, consider adding an overnight lip mask, like the Kiehl’s Buttermask For Lips, into your lineup. Infused with hydrating and occlusive coconut oil, it’s designed to replenish lost moisture (and then lock it in) while you get your beauty sleep.  

Grab a Smooth Lip Liner

One of the hardest parts of applying matte lipstick is staying in the lines, which is why lip liner is the real MVP. Opt for a smooth option that doesn’t skip like NYX Professional Makeup Suede Matte Lip Liner and apply by following the natural shape of your lips. For a lusher pout, slightly overline to create a contoured look before filling in with a complementary shade.

Use a Lipstick Brush for Extra Precision

A lipstick brush is the easiest way to ensure you achieve a flawless matte lip. Use an easy-to-carry option like the Urban Decay UD Pro Angled Lip Brush, a cruelty-free brush that you can bring everywhere. The small-tapered tip is ideal for even application, especially when applying a bullet lipstick that can be more difficult to control.


Use the Tip

If you’re using a fresh bullet of lipstick or a liquid lipstick, use the pointed edge of the applicator to outline your lips before filling them in. This is a great hack if you’re out of lip liner or need to apply on the go. One of our favorite formulas is the Maybelline New York Super Stay Matte Ink, a no-budge formula that’ll last through virtually anything you put it through. We also love the NYX Professional Makeup Smooth Whip Matte Lip Cream for its stunning and high-impact color payoff and comfy wear.  

Conceal Your Mistakes

If you need to hide an uneven application, use a lip brush and concealer for a crisp finish. We recommend using a thicker, full-coverage concealer for this to ensure the formula stays in place. One of our favorite options is the super-pigmented Dermablend Cover Care Full Coverage Concealer that will hide any lipstick smudges.



Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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