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How to Apply Matte Lipstick Properly in Just 5 Easy Steps

How to Apply Matte Lipstick

We get it. A matte lip literally has SO MUCH APPEAL.

It’s got hundreds of shades to offer that give a sexy, sophisticated look, plus talk about intense color payoff in a single swipe!

But of course, good things don’t come easy. Applying matte lipstick can go from classy to messy in .5 seconds flat.

Don’t worry, though! If you’re wondering how to apply matte lipstick and keep your makeup as neat as possible, we’ve got you!

Table of Contents

Step 1: Scrub Down!

Step 1

Matte liquid lipstick formula packs a lot of color but very little moisture which makes them extremely DRY.

Although, yes, there are more products that address this issue, there’s always the chance the lipstick settles into the little cracks and crevices of your lips.

And, that’s not cute.

We want a smooth canvas that works for all shades. It won’t just look better but make life easier because you don’t have to work along with any bumps and cracks on your lips.

Matte lipstick application may be tedious but if you’re ready, it will only require a couple of minutes and a lot of dedication.

Remember the lips are highly sensitive, so ALWAYS BE GENTLE.

Let’s get into it!

Lip Scrub is Your Best Friend

Needless to say, matte, or any lipstick for that matter, DOES NOT look good on crusty and dry lips.

Exfoliate your lips with some lip scrub before applying lipstick or anything else for that matter.

Making a good lip scrub like a honey and sugar scrub will help you slough off any flakes to create a smooth canvas for you to work on.

If you’re using a good lip scrub:

  • Gently rub the exfoliating sugar scrub into your lips for about 20 seconds. Try using a moisturizing scrub to further smooth out the dry skin.
  • Wash off the lip scrub with some water and gently pat dry.

We emphasize using a sugar scrub, NOT a salt scrub.


Imagine having a small cut on any part of your body then rubbing salt into it. That doesn’t sound great, right? So trust us on the sugar lip scrub.

Brush, Brush, Brush!

If you aren’t partial to a lip scrub, you could also use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently exfoliate!

The bristles of the toothbrush provide a good amount of exfoliation without overly scratching your lips.

Here’s how:

  • Wet your toothbrush, then GENTLY brush along your lips. If you’ve ever needed to file away a callous, it’s a similar motion but much, MUCH more gently.
  • Wash off your lips to remove any dry flakes then pat dry with a tissue or towel.

Use your favorite exfoliation method and scrub your lips 1-2 times a week to make sure your lips are always silky soft and smooth!

Step 2: Hydrate & Moisturize Your Lips

Step 2

Dryness means a lack of moisture and right now, especially after scrubbing off your dry skin, your lips need more hydration than ever.

You’ve removed that dry barrier, you now have a smooth canvas, and now the lips are ready to take in more moisture:

  • Use a lightweight but hydrating lip balm to moisturize your lips immediately after patting them dry.
  • Try to avoid lip balm or moisturizer that has menthol or too many scents or flavorings – some people with sensitive skin may react poorly to these additives.
  • Allow the lip balm to absorb into your lips and properly moisturize them for a couple of minutes before moving onto the next step!

It’s actually a great tip to moisturize your lips with lip  balm before applying any kind of lipstick but it’s particularly important when you’re using matte lipsticks.

You might see lip primer being sold in your store and those work too. They are made solely to prep the lips before lipstick but they aren’t essential to the matte lip look.

You don’t necessarily need to go out and buy a separate lip primer a good lip balm will work just fine.

Lip balm acts as a primer and prepares your lips for the rest of the routine.

For matte lipsticks, lip balm and moisturizing the lips is just as important as actually applying matte lipstick!

Step 3: Line It Up!

Step 3

You’ve got the smooth canvas and your lips feel plump, fresh, and hydrated, it’s time to move onto the next step!

Lining your lips!

Using a lip liner or lip pencil will not only make it easier for you to fill in that pout with liquid lipstick but it will also make your entire lip line look cleaner.

  • Take a lip liner or a lip pencil that’s either the same or a slightly darker shade than the matte lip color you’re going to use. We like to use a smooth lip liner that glides onto the lips easily.
  • Note that if you don’t have a lip liner in a similar shade to your liquid lipstick, just use a lip pencil close to your natural lip color.
  • Pro tip: Make sure the liner is SHARP. A freshly sharpened liner is preferred. Trust us on this. (You wouldn’t trust a blunt edge to make clear lines would you?)
  • Using the lip liner, follow along your natural lip line to create a clear and crisp outline for your lipstick. Remember to define your cupid’s bow!
  • If you want a fuller pout, slightly overline your lips. This gives it a contoured and plump look before you start applying matte lipstick.

Liners also act as a barrier for the matte lipstick making sure the lip color doesn’t bleed through or start feathering past the edges of your mouth throughout the day.

Pro Tip: Use the Tip

Now, we’re moving onto the main event of the makeup look – APPLYING MATTE LIPSTICK!

You’re finally ready to get that matte lipstick and we’re gonna show you how to apply it like a boss!

If you’re using a matte liquid lipstick:

  • Open up the lipstick tube and pull out the applicator. Wipe off the excess color or product into the opening of the tube. You don’t wanna use too much lipstick.
  • Your wand or applicator will come to a point at the end and this is the tip and part you should use first!
  • Slowly fill in your lips using the tip of the wand. Fill in from the bottom lip and make sure you’re staying within the lip liner.
  • You can apply lipstick on top of the lines as long as you don’t go outside of them – just like coloring in the 2nd grade! Easy peasy!

The applicator was created with a tip for ease of use in mind and it’s in your best interest to use that to your advantage!

The tip makes the product and the wand easier to manipulate allowing you to create clearer and more defined lip shapes with the matte lip.

Remember to just keep a slow and steady hand and you’ll be able to apply a smooth and even layer of lipstick – no problem!

If you’re using a matte lipstick in a bullet:

  • Make sure you’ve got the shade you want ready. Open up the lipstick and use a small lip brush to get some of the product.
  • In the same manner, as the tip of the applicator of a liquid lip, use the tip and flat sides of your lip brush to expertly fill your lips inside the lines you created.
  • You can use the brush to blend the lipstick into the outline you made for a smooth velvety finish.

Lip brushes were made to make bold lip makeup look easier to do and to make lipstick application faster. So, don’t be afraid to whip out that tiny lip brush and actually put it to good use!

Step 4: Conceal Your Woes

Step 4

We’re nearing the finish line people! Now, that you’ve got that gorgeous lip color on, it’s time to do some cleanup work.

We’ll go through a few options!

If you’re using a full coverage concealer:

  • Take a full coverage concealer in the exact same shade as your skin.
  • Use a lip brush to get some of the concealer and with the tip and edge of the brush, cover up any lipstick that may have gone over the edge of your lip liner.
  • Do this lightly because if you use too much full coverage concealer around that area, it could look cakey and unnatural.
  • Blend out the concealer for a natural and clean finish.

If you’re using a makeup wipe:

  • Take the wipe and wrap it around your finger to create a small tip.
  • Gently swipe at any matte lipstick that escaped from the lip liner.
  • If you end up wiping off any foundation or concealer, simply reapply the base using a small detail brush.

If you’re using a cotton bud or Q-tip:

  • Take the cotton bud and dip it into some makeup remover.
  • Use the tip of the bud to gently remove any of the excess matte lipstick.
  • Be slow and steady when removing the makeup so as not to disturb the base or the lipstick that you want to keep in place.


Once you’ve decided on one of these methods, finish off the makeup with a powder to set any concealer and add an extra barrier to protect against feathering.

You can also use a matte highlighter to accentuate the plumpness of the pout.

When you’re happy with the lipstick application and the cleanup, gently press your lips into a tissue to dab off any excess lipstick.

This will ensure longer staying power and less transfer of the matte lipstick throughout the day!

Why are Matte Lipsticks So Drying?

Why are They So Drying

Lipstick formula is made up of color, oil, and wax but matte lipsticks, in particular, are made differently.

They have a lot of pigment in all different shades making them super opaque giving you that INTENSE color.

However, they have much less oil than other lip products, which makes them much more drying.

This kind of formula accentuates any texture in the lips especially if they are dry.

That is why it’s best to give your lips some added moisture before applying to prepare them for this formula.

If you find that even after the prep, the formula is too drying then apply a small amount of gloss over the lippie to help. You can also use a good Korean lip tint formula as a base for more nourishment.

Upkeep of Matte Lipsticks

Congratulations! You’ve finished applying your lip color and have achieved that matte look as cleanly as possible!

But we have to remind you: if you want to wear a luscious pout you’re going to need a bit of upkeep.

If you’re gonna be eating, drinking, or talking a lot during your day, remember to have the product you used and a mirror on hand with you.

Finally, check up on your makeup every so often. Don’t let all that work go to waste, girl!


By now, we hope you’ve gained some knowledge and confidence to apply any of your favorite shades of matte lippie to perfect your makeup look!

They may seem like a lot of steps but with a little practice, you’ll easily get the hang of it and be a pro at applying matte lipstick! It can even enhance your eye makeup!

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.