matte lipstick tips

It happens all the time – you’re running late and need a quick way to make your look pop. You didn’t have time for much eye shadow and you definitely didn’t have time for an elaborate smoky eye either. Then you have that “Aha!” moment: lipstick.

A bold matte lipstick will work wonders on a face with minimal makeup. It’s fresh and modern. In fact, light eye makeup is ideal for that statement lip color you’ve been eyeing in your makeup bag. And all it takes is two simple swipes, right? Um, almost … but not so fast.

While a great matte lipstick can turn your look from simple to stunning, a proper application usually requires a little finesse. But that doesn’t mean it’s still not your best bet for dressing up your face before running out the door.

Have no fear, we’re here to help you learn how to apply matte lipstick like a pro. Our expert makeup artists have game-changing tips for you that will make it easy to get pretty and polished in no time.


Exfoliating before applying a matte lip is important because matte lipstick isn’t as forgiving as gloss, so every imperfection will show,” says makeup artist Tara Shakespeare. If you have a good lip exfoliator on hand, use it. Otherwise, grab your extra toothbrush — those babies are good for more than just dental care!

Celebrity makeup artist Melissa Walsh suggests putting a little Vaseline on your lips and then using a soft toothbrush to gently exfoliate. “Make sure to rinse and dry after so you don’t leave a film,” she says.

You can also make your own lip scrub with ingredients found in your kitchen. Mix together some sugar with a little olive oil and apply to your lips. Slough away any dry patches for smooth lips.

Pick the Right Shade

This step happens way before you’re running late. When you’re at the beauty counter, consider which lipstick colors will work best with your skin tone. “Too pale and you'll look like a corpse; too dark and it will stain lips and wear badly,” says Walsh, who prefers corals, reds and pinks for matte lipstick.

Use a Lipstick Brush

Walsh recommends filling your lips in using the bullet of the lipstick, then using a lip brush to fill in the edges and add definition. You can also line your lips with a lipliner in a similar shade if you have the time. To define your cupid’s bow, draw a little X on the upper lip line.


So you may not have had time to apply eye shadow but Shakespeare recommends taking a quick second to dab your favorite highlighting shadow to the center of your bottom lip after putting on your lipstick. This will make your lips appear slightly fuller.

“Make sure it complements the shade though, so for reds and nudes, use a gold tone, and for pinks and purples, use silvery tones,” she says. If you don’t have a highlight on hand, a little extra lip balm or clear gloss added to the center of the lips works wonders.

Add Moisture

While you don’t want to turn the matte look into a glossy sheen, Walsh advises keeping a non-greasy lip balm on hand to ease dryness throughout the day (we love the classic Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1).

Make sure you have also moisturized before application to seal in hydration. Then, apply afterwards on the go as needed. The last thing you want is your lipstick creasing.

Now that you’ve got that perfectly poppin’ pout, go on and walk out the door — feel free to blow a kiss or two throughout the day.

Are you a matte lipstick lover or do you prefer a glossy finish? Sound off in the comments!


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