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DIY Beauty

Makeup Tips: How To Apply Matte Lipstick

by Beverly Hills MD

August 20 2021

Matte lipstick can make a fun, bold statement. But applying it isn’t exactly foolproof. To rock this look, you’ll first want to learn how to apply matte lipstick. Hint: matte lipstick is super-pigmented, so you’ll want to prep, prime, and set yourself up for success. Follow these matte lipstick application tricks to nail the look perfectly.

What Is Matte Lipstick?

The right lipstick color can totally change your look. Think of how you look wearing a deep crimson red versus a barely-there nude lip. Know what else can totally change your makeup look? The lipstick finish. Here’s a quick rundown on the most popular lipstick types.


  • Sheer: A touch of color with a subtle shine. Sheer formulas tend to have a higher oil content and thus may be moisturizing.
  • Cream: Similar to sheer, a cream formula glides on smoothly and will have a touch of sheen. While sheer lipsticks have a high oil content, cream lipsticks tend to have a higher wax content.
  • Gloss: A gloss formula reflects light and has a high shine finish. It tends to make a statement and attract attention to the lips.
  • Stain: Stains provide long lasting color that sinks into your lips, leaving minimal shine.
  • Matte: A matte formula will give you an even, smooth texture with little to no shine.1

Why You’ll Go Mad For Matte

Of all lipstick types, the matte finish is perhaps the most versatile. It can take you from a fancy brunch, to a meeting with business execs, to an upscale dinner with minimal effort. Why is bold matte lipstick so beloved? Here are a few reasons.

how to apply matte lipstick | Beverly Hills MDMatte Gives You Bold, Concentrated Color

Matte formulas are the most pigmented type of lipstick. They contain a high ratio of pigment powder to other ingredients. Practically speaking, this means you’re set after you apply matte liquid lipstick a single time. No layering is needed. This makes it a quick and easy way to get a hit of color.

Matte Lipstick Can Be The Whole Look

Once you’ve applied your gorgeous matte color, what else do you need to finish off your makeup look? Not much. Matte makes a statement. If you apply matte liquid lipstick, you can pull your hair into a bun, throw on your comfy jeans, apply minimal (if any) eye makeup, and you’ll have a whole look.

Matte Can Give The Appearance Of A Plumper Pout

Many people who rock matte lipstick find that it makes their lips look plump, full, and pillowy. Matte lipstick also plays well with lip-plumping techniques – like lining your lips outside your natural lip line. Since you can’t see through matte, the bold pigment disguises your natural lip line.

Matte Plays Well With A Glowy Complexion

In recent years, a luminous, glowy complexion has been a popular makeup look. The “glowy” look calls for cheek highlighter, cream eyeshadow, and luminous foundation. Paired with all of that glow, a matte lipstick works to anchor the look and offer a little contrast.

Matte Can Make Your Teeth Look Whiter

how to apply matte lipstick | Beverly Hills MDMatte lipsticks tend to come in deep, rich hues that can call attention to your mouth. By creating a contrast next to your teeth, this depth of color can actually make your teeth look whiter.

Matte Formulas Tend To Last Longer

Highly pigmented formula has another benefit – the color tends to last longer. That means less reapplying and fewer worries.2

How To Apply Matte Lipstick Like A Pro

Pick The Perfect Color

No matter which lipstick formula you wear, you’ll want to choose a color that flatters your complexion. With matte lipstick, this is especially important, as it tends to be highly pigmented. Not sure which shade of lipstick to pick? First, identify your undertone.


  • Cool: you have a pink, red, or blue-ish hue to your skin.
  • Warm: you have a yellow or olive hue to your skin.
  • Neutral: you fall somewhere between warm and cool.

With your undertone in mind, you’re ready to pick a lip shade that naturally complements your complexion.


  • how to apply matte lipstick | Beverly Hills MDCool undertones — Reach for a lip shade with a blue-ish or purple hue. Think ruby, berry, or fuschia rather than an orange-toned red. For a neutral look, go for a color like taupe over salmon.
  • Warm undertones — Poppy, cinnamon, and rust are all warm shades you could try. For a neutral warm tone, seek out a pink-peach or a shade that matches your skin tone.
  • Neutral undertones — You have more leeway with colors – lucky you. Go for a medium red, a balanced berry, or any other color you’d like to try.3,4

Prep Your Lips For Success


Matte lipsticks tend to give you a flat color that can easily show flaky lips or dry spots. If your lips are rough or chapped, you may want to gently exfoliate them before you apply lip makeup. This can help remove dead skin cells and prepare your lips for lipstick.


To exfoliate, pick a high quality lip scrub that contains moisturizing ingredients. Gently rub it into your lips in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly before you apply lipstick.5

Prime Your Lips

For the best end result, you’ll want to use a lipstick primer. Lip primer goes under your lipstick, and it helps the color go on smoother, last longer, and appear more saturated. You can use your regular concealer or foundation for this. Just gently apply it straight to your lips with a clean finger. Now you have a base for your matte lipstick.

Line Your Lips

how to apply matte lipstick | Beverly Hills MD

Since matte lipstick is super pigmented, using a liner pencil might really help you out. Pencil liner can help define the shape of your lips, keep lipstick from bleeding, and help the color last longer. You can also use lip liners for tricks like overdrawing – a process where you draw slightly outside your natural lip line to make your lips look bigger. Pick a shade that matches your lipstick or your natural lip color.


  • Starting at the dip at the top of your upper lip (aka your cupid’s bow), draw an “x” shape.
  • Continue by drawing lines from the top of the “x” down to the outer corner of your left side and then right side of your lips.
  • Take your lip pencil and lightly trace the center of your bottom lip line.
  • Continue this line up to the corners of your lips, meeting the top line that you already drew.
  • (Optional) For long-lasting color, gently color in your lips with your liner pencil.6

Apply Lipstick

You’ve prepped, you’ve primed, you’ve lined – now it’s time to apply your matte lipstick. Wondering how to apply matte lipstick? To apply it straight from the lipstick tube, start at the center of the upper lip and swipe it outward toward one corner. Repeat, swiping it toward the other corner. Now, repeat on your lower lip. If you see any blank spots on your lips, take your pinky and dab some color on them.7

how to apply matte lipstick | Beverly Hills MDBlot

You’ve applied your favorite lipstick and you’re looking great. But, not so fast: You’ll want to blot before you head out the door. Blotting (removing excess product) can help make your lipstick last longer and keep it off of your teeth.


To blot, take a tissue or a napkin and fold it in half. Open your lips, and bring them down on the tissue with the folded side facing toward you. Gently press your lips down on the paper, and then release.8

Highlight And Contour

At this point, you’re pretty much good to go. If you’d like to add a little definition, you can use either concealer or a lighter color or lipstick to contour or highlight.


  • To make your lips look bigger, apply a lighter lipstick shade to the center of your upper and lower lip. This acts like a highlighter and can give the appearance of a fuller pout.
  • To define the shape of your lips, dab an angled brush in concealer and touch up the area above your cupid’s bow and underneath your bottom lip.9

Pack Your Lipstick With You And Reapply Correctly

how to apply matte lipstick | Beverly Hills MDYou’re done — and you look fab. There’s just one last important step – throw that lipstick in your handbag, and take it with you. Matte lipstick may last longer than other types of lipstick, but you may still want to reapply it throughout the day.


Here’s one last tip: since matte lipstick doesn’t have much “slip” to it, you want to stick to just one layer. Multiple layers will sit on top of each other, settle into creases, and could end up looking messy. If your lipstick wears off around the outside of your lips during the day, wipe off your existing lipstick and reapply it entirely. This should give you a fresh, flawless coat.10


Learn More:
A Complete Guide To The Best Nude Lipsticks For Every Skin Tone
Here’s How To Get Lipstick Out Of Clothes
How To Apply Lip Liner In Different Ways


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