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How to Apply the Perfect Matte Lip

Here’s the thing about matte lips: They make jeans and a T-shirt look polished. Hell, they even make sweats and a T-shirt look polished. This classic lipstick has a certain elegance and sophistication that instantly elevates your look. Plus, the color tends to be really rich and the matte texture has a plumping effect—making your lips appear larger and more luscious. Makeup artist Melissa Walsh explains how to rock this red-hot lip trend.

Step #1: When it comes to the matte look, dry lips are the kiss of death. You want to make sure your lips are moisturized—otherwise the lipstick may look cakey, says Walsh. Before applying matte lipstick, squirt some lip balm or petroleum jelly on a baby toothbrush (that no one plans to brush their teeth with!) and rub your lips to exfoliate away any dead skin. “Do this before bed or a few hours before swiping on the lipstick so the moisture has a chance to sink in. Putting lipstick right over a moisturizer will make the lip color slip around,” says Walsh.

Step #2: Outline your lips with a pencil (that has a very sharp point—were aiming for precision here) in the same shade as your lipstick. Start at the right corner of your upper lip, trace along the top of your lip, and stop when you get to the middle of your cupid’s bow. Then start another line at the left corner of your upper lip, and trace the left side of your upper lip until you meet the point where you left off with the other liner. Apply liner to your bottom lip—starting at the corners and meeting in the middle, just like you did on the upper lip. “Lining in two sections—as opposed to running the liner across in one swoop—helps prevent mistakes,” says Walsh.

Step #3: Swipe the matte lipstick on your lips (we love SSChic Boutique’s Matte Liquid Lipstick in Ruby), using a lip brush or applicator that it comes with to apply it along the edges to ensure you don’t extend beyond the lip line.

Step #4: If you did happen to color outside the lines—hey, it happens to the best of us—simply pour a drop of your foundation onto a clean, angled brow brush  or cotton swab to touch up around the edges and make sure your lip line is perfectly clean and sharp.

Step #5: Let lipstick dry—no blotting required.

*this article originally appeared on by Lesley Rotchford