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What is matte color lipstick?

Matte lipsticks have become increasingly popular in recent years. As the name suggests, these lipsticks have a matte, or flat, finish that is the opposite of the shine and shimmer seen in glossy lipsticks. Matte lipsticks are ideal for those who want a bold, opaque color that lasts a long time without needing to be reapplied frequently. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what defines a matte lipstick, the benefits of using matte formulas, tips for application, and recommendations for the best matte lipstick shades to try.

What Is a Matte Lipstick Finish?

A matte lipstick has a dry, matte texture that provides intense, opaque color payoff. The flat finish of matte lipsticks is created by ingredients like silica that absorb light and reduce shine. As a result, matte lipsticks go on boldly and create a velvety finish that stays put. This allows the vibrant color to remain saturated without transferring or smudging easily throughout wear. The opacity of matte lipsticks also means they provide excellent coverage to conceal the natural color of lips in just one swipe.

Benefits of Matte Lipstick Formulas

There are several reasons matte lipstick finishes have become a mainstream favorite:

  • Intense color payoff
  • Opaque coverage
  • Velvety finish
  • Long-lasting wear
  • Transfer-resistant
  • Versatile shades

The rich pigmentation of matte lipsticks allows for intense saturation of color in a single coat. Even deeper shades glide on evenly and provide true opaque coverage. The velvety texture also creates dimension on the lips for a plush, soft appearance.

Matte formulas are designed to stay put on the lips for prolonged wear without needing frequent touch-ups. The transfer-resistant qualities mean that the lipstick does not smudge or fade easily. You can wear matte lipstick with confidence that the color will hold up for hours of wear.

Matte lipsticks are now available in a diverse range of shades and finishes. You can find classic creamy mattes alongside liquid matte lipsticks for budge-proof wear. There are muted nude mattes along with bold reds and vampy berry shades. The versatility of matte lipstick makes it easy to coordinate with any makeup look.

Tips for Applying Matte Lipstick

Achieving perfect application with matte lipsticks does require some finesse. Here are some tips for flawless matte lipstick every time:

  • Exfoliate and moisturize – Remove flaky skin with a lip scrub and prep with balm to smooth lips.
  • Use a lip liner – Line and fill in lips completely before applying color for extra longevity.
  • Apply in thin layers – Build up color gradually instead of glopping on thick coats which can emphasize lines.
  • Blot and reapply – Let each layer set for a minute, then blot with a tissue and reapply for extended wear.
  • Use a setting spray – Finish with a mist of setting spray over lipstick to lock in the color and matte effect.

Taking the time to prep and prime lips, combined with careful and precise application in thin layers, will help you ace the perfect matte lip every time. Setting the look with a makeup setting spray as the final step also keeps matte lipstick in place flawlessly.

Best Matte Lipstick Shades

From nudes and corals to berries and bold reds, these are some of the most popular and universally flattering matte lipstick shades to try:


  • Taupe – Flattering neutral beige for fair skin.
  • Mocha – Rich nude shade for medium skin tones.
  • Caramel – Warm muted beige for deeper complexions.


  • Dusty Rose – Neutral pinky beige.
  • Mauve – Soft pinkish purple.
  • Nude Pink – Perfect “my lips but better” shade.


  • Ruby – Vibrant blue-toned red.
  • Coral Red – Orangey bright red.
  • Oxblood – Deep burgundy red.


  • Plum – Rich violet.
  • Wine – Dark cool-toned red.
  • Cranberry – Deep red berry.

When shopping for new matte lipstick shades, use your skin’s undertones as a guide. Warm golden undertones look beautiful with terra cotta, peach, and brick red lipstick. Cool pink undertones pair perfectly with rosy mauves and darker berry shades. Neutral complexions have the versatility to wear any shade of matte lipstick beautifully.

Matte vs. Satin Lipstick Finishes

Matte Lipstick Satin Lipstick
Completely opaque coverage Sheer to medium coverage
Flat, velvety finish Subtle luminous finish
Intense pigmentation Soft, blendable color
Smudge and transfer-resistant Comfortable, flexible wear
Dramatic bold look Understated, polished look

While matte lipstick delivers high-impact color, satin finishes offer more subtle, luminous color with a hint of shine. Satin lipsticks are blendable, flexible in application, and comfortable to wear while still providing decent longevity. Matte lipstick makes a bold statement while satin lips create a softer, more natural look. Consider occasion and personal style when deciding between matte or satin lipstick for any look.

Caring for Matte Lipstick

Matte lipsticks require some special care to keep them smooth and creamy during wear:

  • Store horizontally to prevent bullet shape from warping.
  • Apply lip balm underneath rather than over matte lipstick to avoid disrupting the finish.
  • Keep matte lipsticks away from heat or direct sunlight which can melt or alter the formula.
  • Avoid getting any water or moisture on the bullet which can make it deteriorate.
  • Exfoliate and moisturize lips before applying to prevent patching and cracking.

With proper storage and hydrated lips underneath, matte lipstick formulas can maintain their intense color and velvety finish for a long shelf life.

How to Remove Matte Lipstick

The long wearing formulas of matte lipstick can also make removal a bit tricky. Here are some easy and effective makeup remover options:

  • Oil-based makeup remover – Massage in, let sit, then gently wipe away.
  • Cleansing balm – Apply balm over lipstick, allow to dissolve, then wipe off.
  • Coconut or olive oil – Saturate lips, let sit, then wipe away with cotton pad or soft cloth.
  • Micellar water – Soak a cotton round, hold over lips to dissolve, blot away.

Using an oil-based makeup remover is key for easily breaking down those budge-proof matte lipstick formulas. Gently massage the remover into lips and let it sit for 30-60 seconds before gently wiping away with a tissue or cotton round. Avoid roughly scrubbing at lips during removal which can cause irritation.


Matte lipstick delivers bold, opaque color with a velvety finish that doesn’t smudge or fade. The intense pigmentation provides full coverage while locking in moisture for comfortable wear. With proper prep and application, matte lipsticks look fabulous on while providing transfer-resistant longevity. From creamy nudes to rich berries, matte lipstick is a makeup bag essential for bold lips and major color impact.