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The Do’s and Don’ts of Matte Lipstick

A velvety lip enhances any look.
March 17, 2023

A matte lip is much like perfectly executed winged eyeliner: It’s nothing short of stunning and ties a look together, but when done wrong, it can turn the whole look into an instant eyesore. Applying matte lipstick may seem pretty simple, but it’s not like a lip balm that you can just haphazardly apply to your lips without a mirror. In fact, the secret to achieving a gorgeous matte lip comes down to the little tips and tricks that take your application from good to great. Take notes as we share the top matte lipstick dos and don’ts to help you learn how to apply matte lipstick like a pro. 

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Matte Lipstick Do’s 

A standout matte lip moment is all about the application. Here are five do’s to follow next time you wear lipstick with a matte finish.

1. Do Exfoliate First

The first step in your matte lipstick application should be exfoliating. Since matte lipstick has a flat, non-shiny finish, it can draw more attention to your lips. If you have chapped, dry lips, a layer of matte lipstick is going to emphasize every flake, crack and dry patch. 

Before you pick up your lipstick, gently massage on a lip scrub to exfoliate dead skin cell buildup, then rinse with water. If you don’t have a lip scrub, a wet hand towel and buff the damp cloth across your chapped lips to loosely break up any dry skin or flakes. Depending on how dry your lips are, aim to exfoliate once or twice a week.  

2. Do Pick the Right Hue

The wrong shade of lipstick can wash out your complexion and make your skin look dull. The right shade can make your skin glow, it can make your teeth look whiter and can really elevate your overall look. For that reason, we recommend choosing a shade that has the same undertones as your skin tone. Flip over your wrist and look at your veins. If they’re blue, you have cool or pink undertones and if they’re green, you have warm or yellow undertones. If your veins are a mix of the two, then you have neutral undertones. 

For a bold matte shade that can suit warm undertones, try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Matte at Bat or L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Color Irreverent. To suit cool undertones, try the L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Matte-Moiselle Pink, or the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Rouge Determination. If you have neutral undertones, try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Wood Nonchalant

If you struggle to pick the right shade, match it to the undertones of your skin. If you have cool undertones, opt for shades with blue tones and if you have warm undertones, opt for shades with yellow tones. A classic red hue will have blue tones, whereas a red-orange shade will have yellow tones. If you have neutral undertones, then you have the benefit of being able to wear either.

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3. Do Match Your Lip Liner to Your Lipstick

Using a lip liner helps to prevent your lip color from feathering outside the lines and it also helps your lipstick wear longer. As for what shade to pick, choose one that is similar in tone to your shade of lipstick that also has a matte finish. A good rule of thumb is to match the finish of your lipstick with your lip liner, so pair matte lipstick with matte lip liner and pair satin lipstick with satin lip liner. If you’re on the hunt for a good matte lip liner, we like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lip Liner because the formula is comfortable on the lips and it comes in eight shades. 

Editor’s tip: If you want to fake the appearance of fuller lips, overline your lips with a shade of lip liner that’s two to three shades darker than your lipstick. 

4. Do Conceal the Edges for an Extra Crisp Silhouette

It’s easy to go a little out of bounds with lip liner, but a crisp line of concealer can help to fix that, and it can make a really big difference in the overall application of your lipstick. After applying your lipstick, use the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage and a lip brush to carve out the shape of your lips with concealer. This will take care of any crooked lines or imperfections and your lipstick application will look near perfect.

5. Do Remove Matte Lipstick With Care

The makeup cleanser that you use to remove your makeup will also be able to remove your lipstick. If you’re looking for a good option, we suggest the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Radiant Smoothing Cream Cleanser because it’s gentle and hydrating. You want to avoid harshly scrubbing at your lips to remove your lipstick at all costs so a good cleanser is a must. If you’re wearing a waterproof matte lipstick, try a waterproof makeup remover like micellar water, or the L’Oréal Paris Ideal Clean All Skin Types Makeup Removing Towelettes.

Matte Lipstick Don'ts 

Now that you have the tools s to enhance your matte lipstick application, here are a few things you should avoid. 

1. Don’t Skip Lip Balm or Primer

Once you’re done exfoliating your lips, reach for a hydrating lip balm to moisturize your pout before applying matte lipstick. Moisturizing your lips will help your lipstick apply more evenly, just like a makeup primer does for your foundation. After you’ve given your lip balm 10 minutes or so to absorb, reach for a matte primer, like the L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter. Apply a small dot on your finger or makeup sponge and lightly blend it onto your lips to prime the area. 

2. Don't Apply Too Many Layers

Matte lipstick is pigmented, which means you don’t have to apply layer after layer to get full coverage. In fact, you shouldn’t because it will make your lipstick look textured and it could potentially crack and look uneven. 

One swipe of the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Lip Crayon, Lasting Wear, Smudge Resistant across your top and bottom lip is more than enough to achieve full-color coverage. Whether you use matte lipstick straight out of the tube, or a liquid lipstick that comes with a wand applicator, go slowly and use a mirror for precise, mess-free application.

3. Don’t Line Too Far Outside Your Natural Lip Line

Overlining your lips can create the appearance of a fuller-looking pout, but it’s easy to go overboard with lip liner. Make sure that you’re only applying it slightly outside your natural lip line to keep your makeup look from appearing unnatural. 

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Clean Up Mistakes

If you made a mistake with your lipstick or lip liner, you don’t have to take off your matte lipstick entirely. Instead, dip a cotton swab into a bottle of micellar water and dab it on any areas of color you’d like to remove. Once you’ve cleaned up the area, reapply your lipstick for an even coat and touch up the makeup around your lip line with concealer and a small blending brush.

Next: 10 Best Long-Lasting Lipsticks to Pucker Up to Right Now

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Digital Tech: Erik Dalzen, Photo Assistant: Sam Kang, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Mirna Jose, Hair Assistant: Keila Rivera, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Model: Zlata Semenko

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