9 Matte Lipsticks That Belong In Your Makeup BagJanuary 03, 2018
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.
Why We Love It: It feels and wears like a stain, but looks like a lipstick. The thin, easy-to-spread liquid formula is four times thinner than typical lipsticks, but packs the saturation and color intensity you’d expect from a traditional bullet.
How to wear it: Use the flat side of the applicator to spread the color on your lips. Then use the pointed end to line your lips, perfecting your shape.
Why we love it: It goes on incredibly creamy, but then settles into a matte finish that looks like velvet on lips—and the bold color lasts up to 8 hours.
How to wear it: For a less intense look, skip the brush applicator and press the liquid color into your lips using your fingertip.
Why we love it: This eight-shade collection has the comfy-cushy feel of a satin finish lipstick, but the finish is completely matte. We found it also lasts pretty darn long for a lipstick, leaving behind a nice stain as it wore off throughout the day.
How to wear it: Use it to create the on-trend matte ombre lip—darker on the outside of lips, lighter in the center. The simplest way to get the look: Apply a matte lip color all over your lips. Then use a matte lip pencil in a slightly darker hue to apply to the border of your lips. Now use a lip brush to soften the line.
Why we love it: The original Lancôme shaker gave us a sheer wash of glossy color. This new version has the same fun, cocktail-shaker-like technology: Mix it up to blend the oil and pigments. Then swipe the thin, liquid lipstick on your lips—only it dries down to an opaque pop of serious color that feels super-light on lips.
How to wear it: Mix and match the seven shades. Layer two together. Or, try a two-toned pout, wearing a slightly brighter hue in the same color family on your bottom lip. A perfect pairing: Energy Peach and Magic Orange.
Why we love it: The matte lip movement has mostly been about bright, intense shades, but sometimes we want to go a little more low-key. That’s where this collection comes in. The 10 shades are all warm nudes with golden undertones. That means they look pretty and wearable on all skin tones—not cool and corpse-like.
How to wear it: To really rock a nude lip, cover your pout with concealer to blank out your natural lip color before you apply your lipstick.
Why we love it: If it’s bright color you want, it’s bright color you’ll get with this 20-shade collection. The formula also lives up it’s name: These lipsticks feels buttery and creamy on lips—and stay that way for hours.
How to wear it: If you’re wearing one of the bold shades like All Fired Up, trace the outside of lips with concealer after applying for a super-precise, clean-edged look. Try it with the brush-on liquid Maybelline New York Dream Lumi Highlighting Concealer.
Why we love it: It’s a multitasking matte: a combo of a liner and lipstick in one easy-to-wield, twist-up stick. The crayon-like lip color, which comes in five saturated shades, makes for the most precise application—no lip brush needed.
How to wear it: Use the tip to line lips, then glide it on all over. To give your matte mouth more volume, dab highlighter on the center of your bottom lip. It creates the illusion of a plumper pout.
Why we love it: It’s a matte that feels comfortable even on the driest of lips, thanks to the addition of lip nourishing oils and butters. The nine-shade collection ranges from wearable nudes to super-dark, dramatic shades.
How to wear it: We found this formula to be pretty long lasting, but to get even more mileage out of your matte lip, try this pro trick: Place a piece of single-ply tissue over your lips and dust on layer of translucent powder on top. Now your color is set.
Why we love it: There are 22 liquid shades to pick from, all with Urban Decay’s “comfort matte” finish. What does that mean? Despite it being long-wearing and waterproof (seriously, it’s not going anywhere until you take it off with makeup remover), it feels good on your lips.
How to wear it: To refresh during the day without reapplying more. Use your fingertip to dab a clear balm over your color. Then blot with a tissue. Your lipstick will look fresh, but not shiny.
Which matte lipstick will you try? Tell us in the comments below!