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How to Wear A Face Full of Matte Makeup Without Looking Flat

Opt for a matte finish over shine.

October 04, 2023

Matte makeup has long been lauded for its shine-free finish, which means you never have to worry about looking like an oil slick halfway through the day. While social media has been hyping up dewy skin and glowy makeup, matte makeup will always be a staple look to master.


And there’s a matte option for almost every kind of makeup product, from matte foundation and lipstick to matte bronzer and blush — and there’s no reason they can’t all be worn together. Below, find out how to wear matte makeup all over your face for an on-trend makeup look.


What Is Matte Makeup?

Matte makeup describes any type of makeup that sets on the face with no shine, sparkle, gloss or glow (it’s the opposite of a dewy finish). It’s sometimes referred to as a “flat” look — even though no one wants to look flat — since there is no initial definition within the individual color. Makeup with shine often reflects with the light to create the illusion of multi-dimensional makeup, which is why it’s so loved.


However, when you layer matte colors on top of each other (like you do with a smoky eye) you can build definition and shape without a sparkly or shimmery shade. You can still highlight your face with concealer and other bright colors without the need for an illuminating formula to add a wet glow to your look. 


How to Wear Matte Makeup

To create a shine-free look, lean on the long-wear formulation of your makeup so your face stays matte no matter how much you sweat and your eyeshadow remains crease-free.  learn how to wear matte makeup with this eight-step routine below, which includes drugstore favorites from L’Oréal Paris.

Step 1. Prime Your Face

Before you put on your matte makeup, it’s a good idea to start with a primer. Since applying a primer with a dewy finish could negate the effect of your matte makeup, look for a matte primer. Try the L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter which is designed to combat greasy and shiny skin to leave a matte finish and rebalance skin tone over time. 


Gently shake the matte primer before use and apply a thin layer on the skin using your fingers or a makeup sponge. Make sure to target oily areas like your T-zone (across your forehead, the bridge of your nose, your chin and the inner parts of the cheek). Primer can help create an even base for the rest of your makeup and helps makeup last longer by curbing oily skin that may eat away at foundation or makeup on top. 


Step 2. Apply Buildable Foundation

Once you’re done priming, work your way through the rest of your makeup routine starting with a long-wear foundation. For the ultimate matte finish try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder, which covers like a liquid with a mattifying finish that powders are known for. While all skin types can enjoy this waterproof, sweat proof and heatproof formulation, those with oily skin and acne-prone skin will appreciate the non-comedogenic (meaning non-pore-clogging) powder formula that won’t cake or pill on the skin. 


Step 3. Brush on Blush

Give your face a flush of lively color by sweeping a matte blush over the apples of your cheeks. For maximum pigment, try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24H Soft Matte Blush which comes in four stunning shades of pink and purple that match all skin tones. This transfer-resistant and sweat-resistant formula blends perfectly on a powder matte base. Blend out the blush with a fluffy brush for a natural look free of harsh lines. 


Step 4: Build Definition With Bronzer

Add some definition to your face with a dusting of bronzer swiped across your cheekbones, upper forehead, chin and décolletage. Use L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer which gives skin a sunkissed glow with a matte finish that’s waterproof and transferproof. Applying a bit of blush and bronzer will help keep your matte makeup look from appearing too flat, so don’t skip this step!


Keep in mind you don’t want to use a cream blush on top of a powder foundation as this can lead to a patchy look with the makeup breaking apart. Instead, use a powder blush and powder bronzer with a powder foundation. 


Step 5. Add Eyeshadow to Lids

You can’t complete an eye-catching look without some eye makeup. Similar to your base, focus on matte makeup including matte eyeshadow and matte eyeliner. Choose a matte eyeshadow from the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche La Palette Nude to help define your eyes and even create the perfect brown smoky eye


Find a selection of neutral shades from the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow which includes 10 matte eyeshadows like Noir Cest Noir (a rich black shade), Acro-Matte (a brick red shade) and Matte-Ison Avenue (a warm-toned brown shade). Brush your desired color over your lids and blend out a little past the crease for a subtle touch of color.


You can apply your liner, as usual, using a matte eye pencil like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner which glides on like a creamy gel eyeliner and doesn’t crease or smudge. If you’re a liquid liner type of person, perfect your cat wing with the L’Oréal Paris Grip Precision Felt Waterproof Eyeliner. This eyeliner delivers ultra-thin lines thanks to the pointed felt tip and a formula that dries matte with a lot of pigment. 


Step 6. Coat Your Lashes

To finish your eye makeup, you’ll need mascara. And no, you don’t need to stress about finding a matte mascara — just grab whichever one is your favorite, the formula most likely dries matte anyway. If you want eyelashes with the look of voluptuous volume and lush length (who doesn’t?), use the L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Instant Lift Waterproof Mascara. This waterproof formula is also infused with ceramides to keep lashes lifted for up to 36 hours. 


Step 7. Fill In Your Lips With Color

Whether you love a blue-based red for a romantic night out or you prefer a neutral nude shade to grab coffee before work, use a matte formula for long-lasting lipstick that can survive long days (and nights). If you prefer a traditional cream lipstick over a liquid lipstick, wear the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick which applies creamy and dries to a powder finish without drying out lips. Pick from a true red (Le Rouge Avant-Garde) to a warm-toned medium brown (Le Wood Nonchalant) to a cool violet plum (Le Rosewood Ambition). 


Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Resistance Liquid Lipstick. The rounded tip of the doe-foot applicator allows you to precisely apply the lip color as the wand follows the natural contour of your lips. choose from 10 colors including a bold plum burgundy (Pay Day), a cool-toned beige (Fairytale Ending) and a reddish-pink (French Kiss). 


As an optional step (that we highly recommend), you can use the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lip Liner to line the edges of your lips before filling them in completely, priming your pout for your lip color and helping the color stay put longer.


Step 8. Set Your Matte Makeup

Complete your matte makeup look with a setting spray that won’t disturb the shine-free finish you just worked so hard on. You can use a mattifying formula or reach for a setting spray like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Make-Up Oil-Free Setting Spray which extends your makeup (matte or dewy) for a smudge-proof finish that lasts all day. Spritz the setting spray over your entire face in an “X” and “T” motion for flawless makeup that doesn’t crease or settle into fine lines. 


Next: How to Do a Selfie-Worthy No Makeup, Makeup Look in 11 Steps


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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