How to Apply Matte Lipstick

How to Apply Matte Lipstick

Matte lipsticks are beloved for their rich pigmentation and flawless, red carpet look...the caveat being that they must be properly applied. A matte is not so forgiving if casually whipped on like a gloss or satin lipstick. To become a matte master, there are a few basics you need to know. Below are Mented’s tips for makeup for women of color, specifically meant to help you learn how to apply matte lipstick like a seasoned pro.

But First... Why Matte?

In the family of lipstick types, a matte is like the sophisticated older sister who effortlessly commands attention. A matte lipstick is characterized by its velvety finish free of shimmer or glitter. Since it does not reflect light like other lipsticks do, such as frosted or satin lipsticks, a matte lipstick boasts a more saturated and uniform color. This creates a bold look that makes the lips the focus of attention. Whether you need a lipstick for dark skin tones or fair skin tones, matte lipsticks will be a flawless choice.

Statement-making matte lipsticks can be worn with little makeup for a refined daytime look. For something more dramatic, heavier eye makeup can be paired with a matte lipstick for a night on the town.

Besides its versatility and high-fashion sensibility, mattes are many women’s go-to lipstick for their long-lasting wear. All lipsticks have a combination of oil, wax and pigmentation. A matte lipstick has less oil and moisture than other lipstick types. Not only does this endow a matte with its resonate tone, the lip color also stays on longer, is less likely to feather outside of the lips and requires fewer touch-ups throughout the day.

Finally, mattes can easily be worn no matter the time of year. Their staying power and luxurious, non-sticky texture make them perfect for hot weather when other makeup may melt or get gooey. When the temperature drops outside, vibrant matte lip colors like burgundy and reds are perfect complements to dark winter clothes. While matte lipsticks work well in any shade, they are treasured in deeper tones precisely because the color pops and doesn’t budge.

Why We Go Mad for Matte

  • Creates a sophisticated look
  • Rich pigmentation
  • Velvety, non-sticky finish
  • Works for a refined daytime look or dramatic nighttime look
  • Long-lasting color
  • Doesn’t feather outside your lips
  • Fewer touch-ups throughout the day
  • Perfect for anytime of year

Step 1: Exfoliate Your Lips

Since mattes are high in pigment and low in moisture, the color will settle into your lips. It will especially settle into any cracks or rough areas and when this happens, the color can look cakey and have an uneven texture. Create a smooth canvas for your matte lipstick by exfoliating your lips regularly - about two to three times a week. This will ensure that your lipstick smoothly glides on for a perfect lip.

An easy way to exfoliate your lips is using something you probably already have in your bathroom: a soft bristle toothbrush. A method that is more beneficial for the lips, and one not much harder to pull off, is using a lip scrub. These scrubs are designed to be extra-gentle on your delicate lip area and have additional nourishing ingredients for a well-moisturized pout.

If you’re more inclined toward a do-it-yourself method, you can whip up your own lip scrub using ingredients in your pantry. You don’t have to be a DIY queen to do it either. A simple recipe for a sugar scrub involves:

  1. Sugar as the base (refined, unrefined or brown)
  2. Honey and/or oil for nourishment
  3. Maybe a spice like chocolate, cinnamon or vanilla

You apply a lip scrub on your lips after all, so choose flavors that are delicious too!  

Step 2: Moisturize Your Lips

An effective way to fill in cracks or smooth out dry areas on your lips is by applying a lightweight, moisturizing lip balm. This should be done before applying lipstick of any kind. Try applying the lip balm at the beginning of your makeup routine that ends with lip color application. That way, the lip balm will be fully absorbed into your skin before color is applied to the lips.

Moreover, moisturizing your lips shouldn’t begin and end with your makeup routine. Be sure to coat a balm on your lips each night before going to bed. Depending on how dry your lips are, you may need to apply lip balm before reapplying lipstick during the day.

Step 3: Apply Your Facial and Eye Makeup

Again, the ideal order of operations is to moisturize your lips and then apply the rest of your makeup. Lip color application is the final touch. By giving your lips time to absorb the moisturizer, the lipstick will remain matte and not become too creamy with application. Applying lip color last also means you are less likely to get any lip color mixed in with your facial makeup, and it will be easier to fix any lip color application mistakes.

Step 4: Use a Lip Primer

Lip primer is the secret to keeping your matte lip color vibrant all day. Your lips naturally aren’t one uniform color, so with the help of a primer, you can create an even canvas for matte application. As a result, the applied color will be truer to the shade in the lipstick tube. Coating primer on your lips also keeps the color in place and prevents unwanted feathering.

Applying lip primer is about as simple as it gets. Gently pat and smear the primer with your fingers across your lips and slightly over your lip line. Let it dry for a few seconds before proceeding onto the next steps.

Pro Tip: Use a primer specifically for lips. It may be tempting to take the path of least resistance and use a foundation primer on your lips. However, facial primers and lip primers use different formulas to work with foundation and lip color, respectively. Lip primers not only attach to your lip color better than a foundation primer does, but it will also prevent a matte from being too drying on the lips.

Step 5: Outline Your Lips with a Lip Pencil

Since matte lipsticks are ultra pigmented, that means that whatever they touch will immediately take on that strong color. It’s key that in your application, the matte gets on your lips and only your lips. Errant marks outside the lips need to be avoided to keep your look clean. This is when a lip liner will be your best friend.

By outlining your lips first with a lip pencil, you’ll greatly reducing the chance of error in your matte lipstick application. Start by carefully outlining your lips with the pencil and then fill in between that outline with the matte. Getting even coverage with the lip pencil is extra important when using a matte lipstick. We recommend a glide-on lip pencil - like Mented’s - for a no-skip, smooth application.

When applying your lip liner, there are two basic approaches: following the curvature of your lips or lining just beyond it. The former will give you a more natural lip look and the latter will provide the appearance of a fuller pout. You can also soften the edges with your finger or lip pencil brush.

As for choosing your lip pencil color, the best advice is to go with a lip liner that is a shade or two lighter than the lipstick. If a pared down beauty routine is more your style and you want to pick one go-to liner that will work with any lipstick shade, choose a liner color as close to your natural lip shade as possible.

Pro Tip: You can achieve a perfectly symmetrical cupid’s bow by drawing an X with your lip pencil. Simply start at the highest point on one side of your lip and draw a diagonal line along the inner curve of your lip. Repeat on the other side. It will look like you have a big X across the top of your lip, but the lipstick will cover it up. You may want to blend it a little with your finger or lip brush.

Step 6: Apply Your Favorite Matte

At this point in the process, you’ve done all the critical prep work, so this step should be a cinch. Simply apply the lipstick straight from the tube onto your lips. Alternatively, you can use a lip brush for application. Dip the brush into the tube and carefully blend the color between your lip pencil outline. This method may reduce the level of pigmentation, so if you want an uber rich color, apply the matte directly from the tube.

Regardless of your application method, one even coat should be enough. Anymore and your lips stand a greater chance of drying out and the coloring looking uneven.

Pro Tip: The number of lipstick colors on the market is close to the number of stars in the universe. It can be overwhelming to select a lip color, to say the least. Mented makes it easy for you by helping you find the perfect lipstick color match for your skin tone, whether you need a lip color for olive skin, tan skin, or dark skin.

Step 7: Outline with Powder & Concealer

Finish off your matte lipstick look by creating an ultra clean edge around your lips. Here are some easy tips:

  1. Grab a flat edged brush
  2. Dip it into a loose or pressed facial powder
  3. Shake off excess powder
  4. Carefully outline the outside of your lips

Despite your best efforts, you might have a stray matte mark on your face. Not to worry - if you have a gob of it, you can blot some off, taking care not to rub it and spread it further. The goal of concealing unwanted matte marks, however, is to blend it in, rather than blotting or removing it. Use a full coverage concealer and a lip brush. Working in brushing and circular motions, blend in the wayward lip color.

Step 7: Blot with a Tissue

Extend the lipstick’s longevity and remove excess color by blotting your lips gently with a tissue. To evenly distribute the color, gently press the tissue against your lips while your mouth is relaxed. This is preferred to the traditional method of pressing down on a tissue between the lips, as this method may make the color look uneven. Pressing down on the tissue removes more color in the center of the lips, where color tends to naturally come off on its own over the course of the day.

Step 8: Soften the Matte Look

Maybe you want the striking color of a matte but not the flat finish? There are two simple techniques to soften the matte look:

  1. Try dabbing gloss over the matte for a dewy appearance; or
  2. Simply add a touch of highlighter to the center of your bottom lip for added contrast and dimension.

Step 8: Maintaining Your Matte

Matte lipstick stays on longer than other types of lipstick, but as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever. Give your lipstick a quick check in the mirror after eating, drinking, working out, or anything else that may undermine your perfectly colored pout. You’ll likely need to first put on a lip balm, wait a minute, and then reapply your matte.

Other times, wiping your lips clean of all color and starting over is the way to go. Some key signs that you may need to start fresh include:

  1. Your lips become dry despite lathering on the lip balm
  2. Your color appears uneven, even though you’ve applied it evenly
  3. The lip line does not look clean or there is feathering outside of the lips

In short, a matte lipstick, like all exalted beauty products, does take a bit of maintenance. To keep your matted lips looking fresh, you should keep these items on the ready in your bag:

  1. Your favorite matte lipstick
  2. Your lip liner
  3. A lightweight lip balm
  4. A makeup wipe
  5. A small lip brush
  6. Full coverage concealer

Mented Matte Lipsticks for Dark Skinned Beauties

Whether you’ve never worn a matte before or won’t leave home without one, this guide on how to put on matte lipstick should have a trick or two that makes applying and maintaining mattes a breeze. And once you know how to apply matte lipstick like a pro, you'll be able to wear it any time with confidence! Mented makes velvety matte lipsticks, blended with a combination of browns and pinks (like our brown matte lipstick, Brown Bare), to perfectly enhance the multi-hued lips of dark skinned women. Let your melanin shine through with one of our matte lipsticks for brown skin, crafted specifically for your beautiful deeper skin tones.

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