Your Ultimate Guide to Matte Makeup

Alle Connell

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When it comes to fall beauty trends, this year it’s all about one thing: matte makeup. From skin to lips, shimmer-free makeup has never been hotter—but we admit, breaking into all matte everything, especially after a summer spent revelling in our dewy glow, can be a little intimidating.

But matte makeup doesn’t have to be cause for panic. We’ve rounded up the very best matte makeup tips to make your transition to the shine-free side even easier this fall. Consider this your ultimate guide to how to wear matte makeup, and look gorgeous while doing it.


matte skin

Photo: IMaxTree


The easiest way to make the transition to fall makeup is with a slightly more matte complexion. Matte skin in colder weather just feels right—not to mention that when you’re not sweating your face off all day, it’s a whole lot easier to maintain. Begin by prepping skin with an oil-controlling primer to both control shine and give you a beautifully smooth surface on which to apply your makeup. We are fully obsessed with Eve Lom Perfect Matte Primer ($55, Barneys), a beauty investment worth every penny—this is like a pore-blurring, shine-busting photoshop filter in real life. Next, look for a fall foundation that is oil-free and contains ingredients that will soak up skin’s natural grease. Becca’s Ever-Matte Shine Proof Foundation ($42, Sephora) contains a microfine powder called Nylon 12 that has major oil-absorbing properties—and it also looks totally natural and gorgeous on skin. Finally, finish with a mattifying powder to set your makeup and further bust shine. The type of finishing powder you choose is largely determined by your personal preference, but we love Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder ($34, Sephora)—it matches every skin tone and gives a beautifully natural, shine-free finish.

matte blush karlie kloss

Photo: IMaxTree


The concept of matte blush can be a frightening one: we know that 1993 is back, but does it have to be back this much? Fortunately, there’s an easy way to make matte blush totally modern, and it’s all in the placement. Instead of using the blush underneath or along your cheekbones, lightly dust the color onto the apples of your cheeks—which are the parts that get chubby when you smile. Blend well with a good quality brush for a soft flush that works with your matte skin instead of against it.

matte highlighter

Photo: IMaxTree


What, you thought that matte skin meant that strobing was officially off limits? No way; highlighting matte skin is still totally doable…you just have to be a little more considered with your products. Stick to powders instead of creams or liquids, and focus on formulas with a soft, rather than super-shimmery finish. Our ultimate fall highlighter is Laura Mercier Matte Baked Radiance Powder Compact ($40, Sephora), which gives us that oh, my skin is just naturally luminous glow we’re looking for, while still fitting in with our mattified complexions.

matte brown eyeshadow

Photo: IMaxTree


Matte shadow can be intimidating, so our advice is to take it slow. Earth tones are some of the easiest matte colors to wear, because they’re subtle yet elegant, and far less frightening than pastel purples (work up to those, but don’t be afraid—purple shadow is totally stylish).

Start with a matte eyeshadow that’s one shade lighter than your skin and apply it all over your eyelid with a fluffy brush. Then choose a complimentary shadow two shades darker—we recommend something in the brown family—and apply along the crease of your lid, blending well. Voila! The easiest matte eye makeup ever. You can even blend your eyeliner with matte eyeshadow in a similar shade for a sexy, smokey look.

matte lipstick

Photo: IMaxTree


Matte lipstick is a cool weather classic, but it’s not always the easiest to wear—shine-free lip color can make it really obvious if your lips are dry, chapped or bitten, plus it’s not always the most comfortable to wear. Instead of cursing the heavens, prepare your canvas and make your lipstick feel amazing on your lips with this genius trick. Begin by exfoliating your lips well with a dry toothbrush. Move the brush in small, firm circles until your lips start to tingle, then apply a coat of lip balm. After a few minutes, wipe off most of the balm and apply the matte lipstick overtop. Not only will this prevent your kisser from getting stained, it also makes these lipsticks a lot more comfortable to wear without affecting their finish. Talk about beautiful!

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