Like farmer’s market finds and Netflix shows, makeup is seasonal. And if spring touted the festival look, and summer skin was all about a “Glazed Donut” finish, then fall calls for a sophisticated upgrade that will usher in the cooler months (and warmer clothes). It’s time to leave behind the punchy, fruity shades that popped next to sun-kissed skin in favor of more subtle tones with softer finishes. That’s where a softer, more matte look comes in for the new season.“Matte makeup is a good option for those with combination to oily skin who want more of a polished finish, whether it’s for everyday life, events or photographs,” explains Suzie Gerstein, celebrity makeup artist. “The good news is that many of the new matte formulas offer shine control without going ‘newscaster’ flat.”
Matte makeup does require a few more products to get it just right without looking super heavy or cakey compared to a highly dewy or glossy look, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. To create a perfect, clean slate for bold colors and velvety matte textures, Nicole Cudzilo, Vapour Beauty’s National Makeup Artist, says she actually opts out of an oil-free moisturizer for matte skin as it’s important to ensure that you skin is deeply moisturized (and some oil-free formulas offer a lighter dose of hydration) in order for your makeup to lay smooth.
A primer is also an important first step for matte makeup (although you can go without it if you’re really pressed for time) but if you choose to use a primer she has a trick to make the formula even more effective: “To avoid that dreaded cakey finish, consider dusting on a light coat of translucent powder after your primer but before foundation or concealer,” she says. “This will extend the longevity of any products you lay over top and will also combat shine.”
If you’re ready to try the matte makeup look this season, read on for all the ways to wear this fall-friendly trend.
The first step (especially if you have oily skin) should be a mattifying primer to help control shine and prevent excess buildup before applying any makeup. This will not only keep foundation in place, but will create a grease-free canvas for anything that comes afterward. “I like to use a matte primer on the forehead and down the sides of the nose and then leave the rest of the face alone,” adds Gerstein.
Another key component to the matte look is foundation, which of course comes in many different forms. Celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg recommends looking for a light serum with nourishing skin care benefits or a pressed mineral foundation because both are super buildable. “Take your time and apply with a stippling or blending brush and make sure to blend around the neck,” she says. She loves the Pur 4-in-1 Mineral Foundation for its lightweight texture and natural looking finish.
“For raised areas that can be trickier to cover, I recommend laying down a matte primer first and then applying the concealer with a small concealer brush in thin layers, then topping with translucent powder,” says Gerstein. Her favorite is Jillian Dempsey’s Spot Stick Concealer for its convenient stick and the dry texture because it’s easy to manipulate.
For cheeks, Cudzilo likes Rare Beauty’s Soft Pinch Liquid Blush as it applies like a liquid but dries down to a matte finish, making it perfect for those with combo-oily skin. “For the easiest application, place a dab of product onto a makeup palette or the back of your hand before picking it up with a brush,” she says.
Cudzilo stresses that it’s important to allow your skin care products to fully absorb in order to lock out shine. She also applies a tiny amount of shine control powder with the “press and roll technique” before foundation — after picking up a small amount of product, hold the brush close to the top, press the fibers onto the skin and then roll the brush as you lift it off. “Start setting the center of your face and work your way out,” she says. Her favorite is Vapour’s Perfecting Pressed Powder to neutralize unwanted shine.
Brittany Lo, professional makeup artist and founder of Beia, suggests lining lips with a soft matte liner prior to applying lipstick for a natural looking base. “For an even more matte look, dust some setting powder on lips to remove any shine,” she says. She likes Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain Satin Lipstick for its long-lasting tinting powers.
Matte lipliners tend to have the extra perk of being waterproof, so you can use them to fill in the entire lip for long-lasting staying power, adds Cudzilo. “For a professionally sculpted result, alternate between your pencil and a tiny angled brush to perfect and carve out your shape as you apply,” she says. “And always make sure to keep your liner sharpened to a fine point.” She likes Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil for its ability to gently wash over lips without any dryness.
“A matte eyeshadow serves as a beautiful base for lids,” says Lo. “Feel free to blend it up to the brows and add dimension with smudged liner or dark shadow along the lash line for more depth.” She likes Bobbi Brown’s Eye Shadow in Antique Rose. And don’t forget a lid primer to help your product stay put without any creases (the Urban Decay formula is a classic).