So much expert-recommended makeup prep can seem unnecessary -- and strictly speaking, sometimes it is. This is not one of those times.
When you're wearing a matte finish on your lips, prep work is not about achieving perfection. It's about achieving attractive. Cracks, flaking and even mild dryness are highlighted by matte lip color. So, unless you have perfectly smooth lips all the time, and we're pretty sure no one does, exfoliating is necessary.
As with any other part of your body, the goal in exfoliating your lips is to slough off that top layer of dead skin cells to reveal the smooth, hydrated stuff underneath. You can go out and buy a product labeled "lip scrub," or you can walk into your kitchen and mix up some sugar and oil. You only need a tiny bit.
With a wash cloth or cleansing sponge, wet and wipe your lips. Using your fingertip, lightly massage the scrub onto your lips, working in tiny circles. Wipe off the scrub, rinse well, and finish with a final swipe of the cloth or sponge to remove any remaining scrub or skin particles.
A toothbrush works well, too, if you don't want to bother with a scrub. Just wet your lips, lightly brush them in tiny circles, and rinse. This approach has the benefit of fitting seamlessly into your existing cleansing routine so you remember to exfoliate regularly instead of only before you apply lipstick. Lips always feel better all cleaned up.
Getting them smooth takes less than a minute. The second secret to looking great with matte lips is keeping them that way, and that takes a bit more effort ...