There’s a fine line when it comes to knowing how to mattify skin the right way. Go just a bit too far and you border looking like you just got off an Instagram photo shoot. Here’s how to mattify skin without creating the “Instagram makeup” look.
Unicorn brows, giant sculptural nail art, neck contouring: Welcome to the world of Instagram trends that look cool on the tiny screen of your phone and grade-A crazy walking down the street. Not that we have anything against the concept of makeup-as-art-movement or showing off your skills; it’s just that there are some things that look better in a carefully curated, artfully lit, single-shot scenario.
See: the Instagram Face. You’ve seen it—major lashes, razor-sharp brows, face as matte and smooth as a porcelain doll. It’s impressive looking. It’s also wildly impractical in any setting where you’re not being followed around with your own personal lighting crew and glam squad. If you’re loving a matte look but you’re not committed to the full A-list diva routine, it’s okay, here’s how to mattify skin and keep it sheen-free all day, even if you don’t have paparazzi chasing you down.
Your base should be a good moisturizer
Matte doesn’t need to be synonymous with dry; in fact, for a look that lasts all day, dry is the last thing you want to feel. Phase one in your battle against midday grease should be moisturizer. Yes, even for oily types. Look for a deeply hydrating moisturizer that absorbs fast, like the Cosrx Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream, which will leave you with a soft matte finish after just a minute or two of soaking in.
Once your skin has had a chance to drink its fill, remove any excess product by lightly pressing a clean tissue over your skin, before you start applying your makeup (this will cut down on that foundation slip-n-slide effect post-lunch.) Follow that with a dot of primer in strategic spots and you’re ready for a velvet finish that will last all day.
Use your powder smartly
For a matte makeup look, powder (we like the Banila Co Prime Primer Finish Powder) is essential, but to avoid the Instagram effect you need to use it smartly. That means declaring your face a no baking zone. Yes, the trend of piling powder onto your face and letting it sit for minutes at a time for a completely matte makeup finish that hit it big a couple of years ago will leave you perfectly matte for a few hours, but it won’t be doing your skin, or your all-day look any favors.
See, hardcore powder application like that sops up every trace of oil, which in turn sends a signal to your skin’s natural moisturizers (AKA oil glands) that it’s time to kick into overdrive. That means you’ll seriously up your odds of being an oil slick by happy hour, while spending all of the hours in between with the cringe-inducing cake-face.
Instead, keep things light by buffing in a very fine layer of powder with a brush and only applying it to the areas you’re naturally shine-prone: For most people that means the forehead, around the nose, and on the chin. Fuse it all together with a quick spritz of the Enature Birch Juice Hydro Mist, which will tone down any lingering hints of powder and give everything a natural, freshly cleaned matte finish.
Master the art of the touch up
For a soft, not dried-to-a-crisp matte complexion, you’re going to need to touch up at some point throughout the day. That doesn’t need to be a hassle though. For ease of use, you can’t beat blotting papers like the Tonymoly Oil Control Film—just whip a sheet out, dot it over suddenly shiny spots and you’re back to matte. Or embrace the old school glam of a chic compact and mattify midday with a few quick pats from the Peripera Oil Capture Pact. Voila! Perfectly matte without looking intense, all day long.