Shun shine and go retro glam with a totally of-the-moment matte lip

The modern approach to matte at Joy Cioci and Jason Wu, and on Taylor Swift

The modern approach to matte at Joy Cioci and Jason Wu, and on Taylor Swift

She may be a little biased, but Lipstick Queen founder Poppy King admits she’s happy to see lipstick making a comeback this year. And this season more than ever—as evidenced on the spring runways of Jason Wu, Milly, Mandy Coon and Joy Cioci—it’s being worn with a matte finish. “It’s definitely back, but in a new, modern way; look at how Taylor Swift does matte red. I think matte lipstick is great if you really want to make a fashion statement,” says the lipstick designer. “It is so strong and shows how serious yet glamorous you are. I love it worn with jeans—so chic.”

Not only does a matte lip spice up any everyday outfit, “it has a retro-glam aspect that links you to the golden years of Hollywood. It shows a strength and conviction to style and drama—think Mad Men,” King adds. But how does one get the sophistication that shine-free lips evoke without looking dead or dry? Says King, always make sure to apply lip balm before application, “to get all the benefits of matte lipstick while keeping moist.” Additionally, because in its very nature matte lipstick offers advanced staying power and is “much better at achieving that neat, perfect lip line because it is easier to control and not as slippery,” lip liner is not a necessity. Although, for those women who like the extra comfort it affords, King recommends Lipstick Queen’s Invisible Liner, an ingenious clear silicone-based liner that corrals any shade, banning bleeding.

King suggests the best way to apply matte formulas is straight out of the tube, followed by a little blotting and the addition of a light coat on top. For beginners, Rose Sinner is a good place to start, King offers, and to be more subtle, you can also use it as a stain by dabbing it on the lips and spreading it with your fingers. As for selecting the right shade, the lipstick guru says her favorite is—absolutely—red, adding that anyone can really make matte lips work, it just depends on styling. “My general rule is that nude and pastel mattes look best with smoky eyes, whereas reds, wines and roses in matte look best with minimal eye makeup—just some mascara and eyeliner.”