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What is a Matte Lip Pencil?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 17, 2024
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A matte lip pencil is a kind of cosmetic that is used to outline lips in a color that either matches or is complementary to the lipstick or lip gloss that has been used to coat the lips. The finish on this kind of lip pencil has little to no shine. Some kinds of lip pencil are formulated in such a way that they have a slightly glossy or shiny finish. This may involve including flecks of reflective material such as mica in the formula. Matte lip pencil, on the other hand, incorporates no such ingredient and has, as a result, a very flat finish.

Just as lipstick comes in a wide spectrum of colors, so does matte lip pencil. The pencil may be sold on its own or it may be sold in a kit that includes both the pencil and the matching or complementary lipstick or lip gloss. As with most kinds of lip pencil, a matte lip pencil is used to outline the lips and give them definition on the face. This effect can be equally useful for natural makeup looks as well as more dramatic makeup looks, the main difference being the shades of lipstick and matte lip pencil that are used.

Most beauty guides agree that matte lip pencil should be applied to the lips before lipstick or lip gloss is applied. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that if the lipstick color is rather dark, it can be difficult to see the natural edges of the lips after they have been coated in color. Another is that the lip pencil is less effective if the tip becomes covered in lipstick. This can happen quite easily as the tip of a lip pencil is rather fine.

There are a few kinds of matte lip pencil that are made to be used on their own without any lipstick or lipgloss. Instead of being used to simply feature the silhouette of the mouth, this kind of matte lip pencil is used to color the lips as a whole. These kinds of lip pencils are wider and have a thicker tip than the lip pencils that are used to define the outline of the mouth. Some people find that this kind of matte lip pencil creates a more velvety finish than matte lipstick. Matte lip pencil of this sort usually comes in very rich and deep colors.

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Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Sep 23, 2014

@Grivusangel -- Oh yeah. "Bleeding" lipstick is the worst. It ages a woman ten years when her lipstick bleeds over the lip line. A matte lip pencil definitely helps that issue.

The best thing about lip liner is that it's usually inexpensive, and a cheap drugstore brand works every bit as well as the premium brands. I use a $5 lip liner that comes in the exact shades I want, and because it's a wooden pencil, not a refill in a plastic tube, I get a lot more use out of it than I do the plastic kind. It's a much better deal for my money. The premium brands don't last a bit longer, so I just use the cheaper kind.

By Grivusangel — On Sep 22, 2014

I use a matte lip pencil that's nearly the color of my natural lips. I outline them, then fill them in with the pencil. I do this because it helps my lipstick stay on longer, and it doesn't "bleed" outside my lip line.

I personally think using a lip liner the same color as the lipstick is usually too intense, unless you're going to a club or something. It's much too "out there" for work or day wear.

A woman who wants to wear a matte lip liner and the cover it with gloss is usually fine. It's the combination of an intense lipstick shade over the lip liner that's too much.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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