Life Style

Matte Makeup Isn’t Dead—Here’s How to Master The Classic Look for Fall

model with matte skin and red lips

Summer has come and gone, leaving hot weather sheen and popsicle-colored balms in its wake. However, a fresh crop of products has arrived for fall, ushering in matte textures in soft, flattering, and wearable finishes. “Once fall sets in, I prefer natural matte formulas on skin and lips for a more sophisticated look that pairs well with cashmere sweaters and denim,” says Robin Black, celebrity makeup artist and global creative director of Ideation Beauty. Black lists a statement-colored powdery lip and velvety skin as simple ways to try matte makeup this season.

If you’re debating ditching the dew-enhancing products and trading in your summer-time shimmers for something different, we rounded up our tips for making matte makeup part of your routine. Read more, ahead.


How to Wear Matte Makeup 

Matte makeup can be intimidating because it takes a little more effort than simply dabbing on dewy cream and highlighter. “To achieve a matte foundation and skin look, you should start with mattifying skincare,” says Black (her favorite is the new Saint Jane Luxury Pore Smoothing SPF 30 ($38), which gives a natural-matte effect).

Ideally, a matte primer will blur pores and moisturize while imparting a soft finish that will set the stage for a complimentary foundation. In terms of building the look, Black says there is no hard and fast rule, meaning you can keep everything uniform or experiment with different textures. “For a more classic look, pair matte with matte,” she says. “Or get creative and mix mattes with satin or glossy finishes.”

Who Can Wear Matte Makeup

Black says that all skin tones can wear matte makeup, but not all skin types are great candidates for these formulas. “People with dry, heavily textured or wrinkled skin should be careful with matte foundation,” she says. Black also recommends that those with very creased or flaky lips avoid traditional matte lipsticks as they can exacerbate dryness and emphasize texture. The same goes for eyelids; matte formulas may settle into thick creases (if that is something you don’t want to highlight, you may want to proceed with caution).

Still, if you do have dry skin and this is a look that speaks to you, there are ways to pull it off without irritating your skin. “For example, you can start with a hydrating, luminous finish foundation and then layer a silica face power like the RMS Beauty Tinted Un Powder ($36) on top,” says Black. “Or try Danessa Myricks Yummy Skin Blurring Balm Powder ($36) which uses upsalite to create a smoothing, matte finish and doesn’t include any drying ingredients.”

Matte Makeup Mistakes to Avoid 

Wearing the matte trend can be tricky since this texture doesn’t always play nicely with other products. “One of the biggest mistakes you can make when applying matte products is to layer them with cream or oil-based products,” warns Black. “Matte doesn’t mix well with these formulas, and layering them can create a patchy, textured look.”

When done well, matte makeup looks sophisticated and seamless, but it can look super dated when done poorly. To avoid that heavy, cakey look, start with hydrated skin and apply small amounts of matte products, making sure to blend before they set. “Use matte products that play well together and avoid too many layers which will make skin look opaque, rather than velvety,” says Black.

Matte Makeup Products to Try

Matte makeup doesn’t have to be dull, drying, or boring. Luckily there are a handful of new products that make incorporating the classic textures in your routine for fall:

Rose Inc Satin Lip Color Rich Refillable Lipstick ($28): For those who worry that matte lipstick will settle into lip lines, this rich formula blurs the appearance of vertical creases with swertia chirata extract while plumping lips with oil-dispersed sodium hyaluronate. It also comes in a range of flattering colors, from nude pinks to moody browns, that work great for sweater weather.

Ilia Liquid Powder Matte Eye Tint ($28): This clean, cream-to-powder dries down to a crease-resistant formula for sophisticated matte shading. While we love all the gorgeous neutral tones, those new to the matte trend might want to start with the brand’s metallic shades.

RMS Natural Finish Liquid Foundation ($48): Technically, this foundation is a satin formula, but compared to the “glazed donut” skin trend of the past season, this formula offers a flat look that makes skin look velvety and flawless.

Smashbox Halo Cream Cheek + Lip Tint ($28): Cheeks get a flush of color with this buildable tint packed with sunflower, jojoba, and apricot oils. You can also use the powder-like formula on lips for a chic monochromatic look.

Lottie London Sunkissed Bronzer ($8): Fall bronzer calls for a more subdued look (compared to the hyper-glow of summer skin). This vegan, cruelty-free matte formula can be swept across the forehead for a subtle bronze or applied more strategically for contouring. Infused with oil-absorbing and hydrating bamboo extract, it will brighten up skin that’s heading into colder months.

Exa Splash Zone Oil-Free Hydrating Primer ($34): When prepping for a matte look, don’t forget to prime your skin. This oil-free, shine-free primer will hydrate without imparting a heaviness that can occur with highly moisturizing creams. Since it’s a lightweight gel, it goes on smoothly, sinks in deeply, and grips makeup so it doesn’t slide around.


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