Matte Lipstick: How To Avoid Dry Lips

Matte lipsticks are my all-time favourite product. I love them because they give a much edgier look than sheer lipsticks. However, the main complaint – and problem I always have – is how dry, flaky and cakey they can leave your lips. So here are some ways I’ve found, to avoid this happening throughout the day and give the smoothest finish. Although these tips might seem like a lot of prep work, once applied correctly, your lipstick should be set to last the day – and feel much more comfortable.


Exfoliating is one of the best things you can do for your lips. Even if they don’t look dry, exfoliating will remove invisible flecks of dead skin, leaving lips smooth and your lipstick with a better finish.

If your lips don’t appear particularly dry, just using a wet tooth brush will work wonders. However, if you’re like me and get really dry lips, it’s best to use a more thorough exfoliator – like a sugar scrub.

You can make your own quite easily by mixing some olive oil, sugar and honey together, but out of ease, I prefer to buy ready-made ones. My favourite is Lush’s Mint Julips Lip Scrub – it tastes like mint choc chip (it’s edible and can be licked off), plus its vegan friendly! I find doing this 2 to 3 times a week really keeps my lips in good condition. Just make sure not to over exfoliate!



Moisturising is key when using matte lipsticks. Matte lipsticks contain a lot less moisture than sheer, which is what gives it the matte finish – but also what makes it so drying. As a general rule, I always apply a thick layer of moisturiser to my lips when moisturising my face in the morning and evening. I let it sit for a few minutes. before rubbing it in.

Also, when I begin applying my make-up I put a generous layer of lip balm on my lips and let it sit there, until the rest of my make-up is finished. Once you’re ready to do your lipstick wipe off your lip balm with tissue.


To ensure you have the best possible base for your lipstick, it’s a good idea to prime them. I usually put a light layer of concealer over my entire lips. Then I blot it with a make-up sponge to ensure it is even and not too cakey. If you don’t want to do this, that’s fine, missing this step won’t make a huge difference to the effect of your lipstick – it just intensifies the colour.


I personally find using a lip liner creates a smoother finish and makes my lipstick last longer – but it is not essential! A lot of people use liners to prevent lipsticks from bleeding in to the skin around the lips, however matte lipsticks very rarely do this. If you’re not a fan of liner, or are pushed for time, skip this.


The best way to avoid the cakey look of matte lipstick is to not over apply throughout the day. To avoid this, you can set your lipstick thoroughly when you first apply it – making the chances of touch-ups throughout the day minimal.

When initially applying I do one coat, then blot with a tissue and reapply a second coat. I find this seals in the colour and makes it more durable.

Another tip for avoiding touch-up, unevenness and dryness is to avoid touching, rubbing or licking your lips throughout the day – although this may be obvious.


If you do need to apply another coat throughout the day, other than small touch ups, I find it is best to remove the lipstick all together and reapply it. Make sure to moisturise before reapplying!

If you’re pushed for time or aren’t able to fully remove your lipstick, dabbing lip balm lightly onto lips then reapplying lipstick reduces the risk of thick lipstick, however it does mean the matte effect is lessened.


This is kind of obvious, but if you want to stop your lips from drying out in the day, it is important to stay hydrated. Drinking water can stop lips excessively drying out and can help you avoid the slimy effect dehydrated matte lips develop.

These are just a few of the ways I keep my lipstick looking smooth when using matte colours.

Georgie tried out these tips for maintaining a magnificent matte lip. Here is her verdict:

‘I’m definitely a victim of very dry lips and obviously this is made worse by matte lipstick. Usually, after applying a colour, my lips become incredibly flaky within an hour or two and I remove the product out of frustration.

On Tuesday I tried Grace’s tips to see if they could make any difference. I began by exfoliating – I didn’t have any sugar mixtures at hand so instead I used put on a little moisturizer and rubbed my lips with a Q-tip, and this worked pretty well! I applied an extra amount of my day cream and let it soak in before using my lip balm. My NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream went on beautifully as my lips were smooth and moisturized. Although, predictably, the product dried out a little throughout the day, I didn’t suffer with any flaking and diminishing colour.

The tip that helped me the most was to stop touching and rubbing my lips. Although this was difficult as it is a bad habit of mine, the product was far more durable – it lasted around five hours without a reapplication, and I was drinking too! Grace’s tips made a vast improvement, I’ll absolutely be working a matte lip more often.’

I hope these are helpful, however remember what works great for some people, may not for others. If you’ve found a way that works for you that I haven’t mentioned, I’d love to know – so leave us a comment!

Thanks for reading!

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