5 Tricks to Make Matte Lipstick Easy to Wear

Alle Connell
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matte lipstick fall

Photo: IMaxTree

Matte lipstick is a fall staple—but, as every beauty-lover knows, it’s not always the easiest to wear. Between that awful dried wax feeling and the way it magnifies every single speck of dead skin on your lips, it can be a difficult makeup proposition to feel good about. But fear not; armed with these beyond-brilliant matte lipstick hacks, you’ll be ready to embrace the shine-free life in no time.

Exfoliate properly.
You’ll often hear people advising that you scrub your lips with a toothbrush to exfoliate them—which is a great idea if you’re looking for a bloodied kisser. The skin on your lips is thin and delicate, and plastic toothbrush bristles are far too rough to do anything but scour it raw. Instead of nuking the area, think gentle and consistent: use a warm cotton washcloth and, after taking off your makeup, exfoliate by rubbing the cloth in small circles on your lips until they tingle. Do this every single day, and your lips will look (and feel) totally fantastic.

Make any matte comfortable.
We’ve all lived through the heartache of buying an amazing matte lipstick, only to discover that, even though it looks amazing, it feels absolutely horrible—too dry, too tight, too uncomfortable. Life is far too short for awkward lipstick, so this is how to make any matte comfortable: After exfoliating your lips, apply a small amount of lightweight moisturizer to your lips. Then scrape off a small amount of your favorite lip balm and mix it with a tiny bit of foundation primer, apply to your lips, and then blot with a tissue. This forms a complete barrier between your skin and the color, making it feel weightless and—blessedly—not dry, all without changing the finish of the lipstick.

Bonus result: This is also a great way to make a streaky matte lipstick apply much more evenly.

Apply from the bullet.
Tattoo this on your heart: don’t mess with lip brushes when it comes to matte. That is the number one way to make any lipstick look streaky and uneven, even if it’s the most amazing formula in the world. Apply your color straight from the bullet onto your prepped lips for maximum perfection.

Bonus tip: If your matte lipstick has dried out (and therefore feels like sandpaper scraping across your lips as you apply it), warm it up a little by blasting the bullet with a hairdryer before applying. This will melt the lipstick just a little, making it much easier to glide evenly across your lips.

Line after you apply color.
Matte lipstick demands a perfect outline—yeah, we said it. And the best way to go about this is to apply your color, then neaten up your outline with a matching shade of lip liner. This order-reversal means you don’t have to mess around with getting your outline perfect, then applying your lipstick, then fixing small mistakes you made when applying said lipstick with concealer and a battalion of small brushes—one step and you’re done!

Remove with moisturizer.
Matte lipstick can be, to put it nicely, a pain in the ass to remove completely. Instead of wasting your money on super-expensive makeup removers, slather a heavy, unscented body lotion onto your (closed) lips, then wipe it away with a tissue. Not only will the lip color come away beautifully, there will be zero staining left behind–and your lips will feel legit amazing.

MORE: How to Revive Your Sad, Dried-Out Eyeliner

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