The Guide to Carrying Off the Matte Makeup Look

Here is your handbook to matte makeup looks and general tips

By Gabriela Petit
The Guide to Carrying Off the Matte Makeup Look

When you step out of your house each day, you want to look picture perfect – not just from the clothes you wear but also from how your face is done up.  No one wants to look overdone up but almost every makeup enthusiast seeks that professional porcelain finish that models carry off so easily. 

Today with the unlimited choices available in the market, one is often confused about what to pick off the shelf to apply on one’s face. Should you go for a matte finish or a dewy finish, a dark shade of lipstick or a light one, what kind of mascara? The questions running through the mind are numerous but the answer is very simple. When applying makeup, always choose the products that best suit your skin type.

For example, if you have very oily skin, matte makeup should be your preferred choice of product as it will help in reducing the excess sheen on your face, giving better results during a photo op. Matte makeup will help not only help in controlling the excess oil but will also give you a fresh flawless look throughout the day. 

The definition of matte makeup

Matte makeup is generally flat with color and no shine, giving one a more muted look than the glossy finish. The reason for this is because sparkling ingredients like mica and silica are not added to the formulae of these products which are instead replaced by low-reflection additives.

In contrast to the matte products of yesteryears, the newer powders have smaller particle sizes to give a more blended look.

Matte makeup seems to be on the comeback trail these days as people who use makeup realize that matt products have evolved to a standard that is both professional and good. Unlike the finish of the yesteryears where matte makeup made you look like a powdered doll, today the products not only help minimize the extra oily sheen but are also long-lasting and pore-minimizing. Besides, matte products are not just limited to foundations but are also offered in lipsticks, no sheen eye tints, and blush.

Matte makeup looks vs dewy looks

This is probably the question that is foremost in your mind when picking out your makeup - the different look that you will get after applying the products. When you apply a matte product your skin will have a more velvety look which will draw the light inwards, whereas a dewy product will make the skin look more radiant as the natural oils will reflect light. 

However, before you go rushing out to get that radiant finish, first consider what your skin type is. If you have oily skin then it is best to start with a matte formula as this will help minimize the oil and not add more moisture to your skin. No matter how expensive the product is, if you have oily skin, dewy products tend to fade after a while because of the oil exuded from the pores of your skin and you end up looking like an oil slick.

Dewy products, 
on the other hand, are suitable for any age as they moisturize and reflect light to give a young, vibrant look. 

Matte Makeup general tips

Most of us are used to the dewy look and making a switch to an all matte look can be quite intimidating. We begin to stress about the ‘dull’ look that we’ll now have to showcase but with the right techniques and tips you can still manage to have a radiant look with minimal luster.   

1. The base

Prepping may be a regular part of your daily routine but it’s very important that you do it right. No one wants to project a ‘powdery face’ so it’s imperative that you cleanse, tone and moisturize your skin before you start your application.  

  1. Use an oil-controlling primer to prep your skin, which will control the shine and also give you a beautifully smooth surface for your make up to glide over. 
  2. Next, apply an oil-free foundation that will absorb the skin’s natural oils. 
  3. To round up this routine and set your makeup, use a mattifying powder. This will give you a nice velvety texture.

2. Blush

To get a modern look from your matte blush you need to apply it in the right places. Don’t use the blush underneath or along your cheekbones, instead, dust the color lightly onto the apples of your cheeks. The apples of your cheeks are the plump parts when you smile. Use a good quality brush to blend well for a soft flush.

3. Highlighter

Yes, you can still highlight your matte skin with the right products. Don’t use creams or liquids but stick to powders whose formulae focus on a soft finish. After applying your oil-free foundation you can place luminizer on all your facial bones to give you a more structured look. 

4. Eyeshadow

Use a fluffy brush to apply a matte eyeshadow that is a shade lighter than your skin. Next, apply a complimentary shadow that is two shades darker along the crease of your eyelid – for matte eyeshadows, your safest bet are the earth tones to give you an elegant look. 

5. Lipstick

It’s perfectly okay to mix and match your matte base with a glossy lipstick, but if you want the entire matte look then you need to pay a little more attention to your lips. Unlike a glossy lipstick, a matte one can highlight dryness so you’ll need to exfoliate your lips well before application. Use a dry toothbrush over your lips in circular movements until they begin to tingle. Apply a coat of lip balm after this and leave it on for a while to soak. You can then apply your lipstick to give you that great finish. 

Top 3 Matte Makeup Kits

An exclusive matte makeup kit is sometimes difficult to come by so it’s often a good idea to mix and match. Some of the makeup kits below have a mix of matte and gloss to give you a good variety.

1. Cameo Matte All In One Makeup Kit

Cameo Matte All In One Makeup Kit (Black Crocodile Leather)

This Matte Finish Makeup kit has a 90%, 5-star rating on Amazon with many satisfied customers. It contains more than 50 products which include 45 eyeshadows, 12 lip colors, 2 press powders, 2 concealers and other essentials to get you started.

2. IQ Natural Total Mineral Makeup Kit

Total Mineral Makeup Kit

Another highly rated product on Amazon, the 12 Piece Bare Matte Foundation Starter Set is a great product for someone wanting to start off with Matte. The lightweight product is suitable for all skin tones and won’t cause irritation or clog pores. 

3. Aesthetica Nude Lip Contour Kit


This Nude Lip Contour Kit from Aesthetica boasts of being the only all-inclusive lip palette in the industry. The kit comes with 5 Matte Nude Lip colors, a lip popping highlighter, two double-ended lip contouring pencils a lip brush for flawless application and an instruction guide.

Matte Makeup Tutorial

Step 1: Cleanse, Tone and Moisturize

Exfoliate your skin with a mild exfoliator which is not oil based. Use warm water to scrub and wash your face. Pat your face dry, then wet a fresh cotton ball with some mild toner which is not alcohol based. Dab the wet cotton ball onto your face without rubbing and wait for a few minutes for it to seep in. Use a water-based moisturizer or a vitamin E based cream to prep your skin to avoid a flaky finish.

Step 2: Prime your face

To make sure that the excess oil is absorbed from your skin and makeup stays intact, use a good quality, lightweight primer for grip. Apply this using a sweeping out motion with your fingers so that the matte look stays all day. A good primer will also help fill larger pores or lines to create an even surface.

Step 3: The Base

The foundation that you choose will largely depend on your skin type. If you have drier skin then use cream or stick formulae to ease any discomfort that can arise from tightness. For oily skin, it’s a good idea to apply a loose or packed shine-absorbing matte powder all over the face and neck with a large bristle brush.

Velvetizer  Translucent Mix-In Medium from Urban Decay is great for a base. You could also add a dime-sized amount of the product into a liquid foundation. Normal skin types should use either a hybrid cream-to-powder matte formula or a liquid, stick, powder. Blend the foundation well with a brush using small repeated strokes.

In case you'd like to check our recommendation, click the link below:

THE VELVETIZER Translucent Mix-In Medium

Step 4: Concealer

If you need to touch up any dark circles or blemishes use a concealer after the base to avoid overdoing the concealer. Sweep a translucent powder under your eyes to set the concealer and brighten your eyes. 

Step 5: Blush

Once your base is ready, brush on some color using a natural shade of blush lightly on the apples of your cheeks. Don’t use a shiny blush on matte skin as it will detract from the classy look. Instead, use a cream blush with a matte finish or a powder based blush. 

Step 6: Lip Balm

If you’re going to be using a matte lipstick then first exfoliate your lips before applying a flesh-toned lip balm. Allow this to soak in for a while before you apply the lip color of your choice. Avoid using lip liner if you have fair skin and try to stick to a soft matte pink or peach color to highlight your porcelain features. 

For someone with an olive skin tone, a deeper pink or orange matte lip glaze is best. Women with deeper skin tones have the advantage of selecting from a wider range of shades. 

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Many women tend to shy away from using matte products because they think it might be a little too caky or old fashioned. However, if you don’t want to go for a totally matte look you can mix and match after you’re done with the base.  The options are numerous and if you use the right products and tips you can’t go wrong with your look.