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The Best Matte Foundations

Clare Holden
Written by Clare Holden
Side view of a professional make-up session where make-up artist is checking finishing steps of a natural gorgeous look.

It may seem as though matte foundations have taken a backseat to dewy bases in recent years, but when it comes to an everyday look that you can depend on not to transfer or turn greasy, matte is the way to go.

Unlike shimmer or dewy options, matte foundations don’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles or start to appear shiny within hours of applying. This universally-flattering finish works with all skin types and complexions, and with many options now infused with skin-enriching ingredients, adding one of these bases to your makeup collection will provide the tools you need to keep your skin looking fresh on a consistent basis.

After combing through the wide variety of options on the market, getting expert recommendations and testing out the offerings on various skin types, we made this list of the best matte foundations currently available. Read on for how to upgrade your makeup bag below!

15 Best Matte Foundations to Shop Now

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Finding the Best Matte Foundations

We all need a matte foundation in our makeup collection. Unlike dewy or shimmer finishes, matte is the only one that never goes out of fashion. Whether you like to team it with a classic red lip or give it a contemporary twist by rocking it with a gloss or metallic eye, finding a matte base which works for you is essential, as it’s something you will use over and over again.

There are options out there for every skin type and budget, and we have created this comprehensive list to ensure that you make the best choice for your skin type and complexion. Check out all the things you need to know to set you on your way to creating a timeless matte base.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Matte Foundations

Skin Type

Matte foundation can work for any skin type if you choose the right product. Those with oily skin should look for an oil-free option, while those with dry skin will find a matte foundation that contains glycerin or other hydrating ingredients will prevent their skin from drying out.


Matte foundations are a timeless classic, which have evolved over the years to now also contain skincare ingredients and have an improved more lightweight feel. Drugstore brands such as NYX, e.l.f, L’Oreal and Maybelline all have amazing affordable options. If you are looking to make an investment NARS, Armani Beauty and Dior all have gorgeous matte bases.


No matter what your complexion, there is a matte foundation out there for you. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r and L’Oreal’s Infallible both have huge shade ranges. If you are looking to get even more specific, Estee Lauder’s Double Wear has 3 different undertones to choose from.


Matte foundation is available in sheer, medium and full-coverage finishes. If you alternate between both light and heavier coverage, then go for a buildable base which will allow you to create a variety of finishes depending on your mood.


Before you make a purchase, think about whether this is a foundation you want to wear daily or just one you will use on special occasions. Drugstore brands are a great option for daily wear. If you apply makeup during your commute, compacts are a handy and mess-free way to create a base in a hurry.

What are the Different Types of Matte Foundations?


Liquid is the most common and popular type of matte foundation. It creates a more complete finish that covers any pigmentation, blemishes and redness. It comes in sheer, medium and full coverage, and is a bonafide makeup bag staple.


Compacts work for those looking for an easy and convenient way to apply their makeup. They are quick, come with a mirror and can be used anywhere.


Tinted foundations hit the sweet spot between skincare and makeup. While their coverage is lighter than full foundations, they are the option to reach for if you love a no makeup makeup look or prefer a natural looking base.


Best Overall: Armani Beauty Power Fabric + Foundation


  • Luxury finish
  • Contains SPF
  • Easy to blend


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Some shades sell out

This foundation from Armani Beauty stands head and shoulders above the other offerings in the category due to its superior finish and blendable formula. The extra smooth liquid foundation melts into the skin to immediately create a flawless base which elevates any makeup look.

This foundation is a firm favorite of celebrities for red carpet events, as its silky matte coverage hides any imperfections without ever looking or feeling cakey and heavy. It is my personal favorite, and one which I have been repurchasing again and again for years.


Best Drugstore: L’Oreal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear 24 Hr Liquid Foundation Makeup


  • Silky feel
  • Wide shade range
  • Long-lasting


  • Might not work for those with oily skin
  • Not everyone may like the fragrance

Despite being from the drugstore, the formula of this foundation from L’Oreal more than holds its own against those from higher-end brands. In fact, the first thing you notice when applying this product is just how luxurious and velvety the texture is.

This foundation glides on like a dream and creates a natural-looking full coverage base which works for both day and night looks. It also contains SPF 25 for anyone looking for an extra dose of sun protection.


Best Budget: e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation


  • Affordable
  • Huge shade range
  • Lightweight feel


  • Basic packaging
  • Some shades sell out

E.l.f is the creator of some of our favorite drugstore makeup. Not only is this foundation a beauty bargain coming in at just $6, it also manages to provide the perfect satin matte finish that is neither too shimmery nor too dry looking.

Slightly softer than a full matte finish, this foundation works with all skin types to provide a light-to-medium coverage which illuminates the skin and lasts all day.


Best Splurge: NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation


  • Oil-free
  • Sweat and transfer proof
  • Oxidation resistant


  • Some shades sell out quicker
  • Not as widely available

If you are looking to invest in a high-quality matte foundation to either wear daily or on special occasions, you can’t go wrong with this classic matte liquid base from NARS. The formula has been expertly created not to oxidize or transfer and is also free from oil — making it the perfect option for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

The full-coverage color is long-lasting so works great if you don’t have time for touch-ups throughout the day, and as it is infused with hyaluronic acid and micro-algae extract, it maintains the skin’s hydration while also reducing excess sebum.


Best for Sensitive Skin: Physicians Formula Butter Believe It! Foundation + Concealer


  • Weightless feel
  • Infused with skin-nourishing ingredients
  • Buildable coverage


  • Smaller shade range
  • Needs to be shaken before every use

If you have sensitive skin, this is the foundation to reach for. As with all Physicians Formula products, it has been created without any harsh ingredients to ensure your delicate complexion avoids any unnecessary irritation.

Infused with a trio of hydrating Amazonian butters, this foundation works to nourish your skin while you wear it, while also feeling lightweight and breathable.


Best for Oily Skin: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation Makeup


  • Great price
  • Contains SPF
  • Wide shade range


  • Might not work with very dry skin
  • Doesn’t have a pump dispenser

Drugstore favorites Maybelline have created a matte version of their bestselling Fit Me foundation, and it is the perfect option for anyone with oily skin looking to create a flawless finish. Most importantly, the formula is oil-free so it won’t result in excessive shine throughout the day.

This medium coverage liquid base has been dermatologically tested, and in addition to creating a smooth color-matched base, it also provides SPF 18.


Best Shade Range: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation


  • Huge shade range
  • Available in various sizes
  • Suitable for all skin types


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Some shades sell out

If you are looking for a base that will keep your skin looking flawless no matter what the situation, then look no further than this pore-diffusing climate-adaptive foundation from Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty.

The paraben- and phthalates-free formula uses innovative technology to tackle heat, sweat and shine while also providing a full-coverage matte finish which leaves your skin looking smoother and more even.


Best for Dry Skin: Milani Screen Queen Foundation


  • Cruelty-free
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Has a blue light filter


  • Might not work as well with acne-prone skin
  • May not be full coverage enough for some people

If you have dry skin and are worried that a matte finish will make your base look cakey, this foundation from Milani has a smooth texture which feels lightweight and won’t settle into any dry patches on the face once applied.

It is also the perfect product if you live in an area with a lot of pollution or spend your days in front of a computer, as it contains both nasturtium flower extract to ease oxidative stress and boasts a blue light filter for protection.


Best for Combination Skin: NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop 24hr Full Coverage Foundation, Matte Finish


  • Non-comedogenic
  • Cruelty-free
  • Long-lasting


  • Some may prefer a lighter coverage
  • Packaging could be better

It is easy to see why this foundation quickly became a bestseller. It is an all around skin savior which provides a full-coverage color that lasts all day. Both water and sweat-proof, nothing is moving this base until you decide to remove it at night.

A true matte foundation, it controls oil to maintain your skin’s shine-free appearance, and with 45 different shades to choose from, you are bound to find your perfect skin match.


Best for Everyday: Revlon ColorStay Full Cover Longwear Matte Foundation


  • Light, mousse-like texture
  • Transfer-proof
  • Sweat-resistant


  • Smaller shade range
  • Some may prefer more sheer coverage

If you are looking for an everyday matte foundation, this affordable option from Revlon goes on like a liquid, but the whipped mousse formula prevents it from ever feeling too heavy on the skin. Heat, sweat, and humidity-resistant, this base is extremely comfortable to wear despite having a full-coverage finish.

The tube packaging makes it easy and quick to use, making it a great option to carry in your bag for applying while on the move.


Best Long-Lasting: Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation


  • Wide range of shades
  • Fragrance free
  • Oil-free


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Doesn’t have a pump dispenser

Available in over 55 shades, this foundation is famed for its lasting abilities. If you have been searching for a base that doesn’t budge, then this is the option for you. Whatever the weather or conditions, you can rely on this color to keep your skin looking matte and even without transferring.

Each shade comes in three undertone versions enabling you to get super specific with color-matching. Choose between cool, warm or neutral to ensure your makeup looks like a second skin.


Best Compact: Guerlain Parure Gold Skin High Perfection Matte Compact Foundation


  • Easy to apply
  • Made in France
  • Contains 24-karat gold


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Not everyone may like a powder formula

This compact is pure luxury. From the engraved packaging that looks more like a jewelry box, to the 24-Karat gold infused formula and its luminous matte finish, everything about this product is a level above the competition.

This powder compact fuses skincare and makeup by combining white peony extracts to enhance the complexion with micro-pigments to create a velvety texture that leaves the skin looking radiant.


Best Sheer Coverage: Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation


  • Contains SPF
  • Feels breathable
  • Infused with glycerin for hydration


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Some may prefer a more full coverage

Minimalist makeup lovers will love how this foundation enhances your natural skin through a combo of skin-nourishing ingredients and lightweight pigments that will make you forget you are even wearing makeup.

Suitable for all skin types, the shine-combating duo of marine sugarcane algae extract and natural mineral powders keep oil under control, while glycerin maintains the skin hydration and prevents your base from looking parched.


Best for Medium Coverage: Dior Forever Matte Skin Care Foundation SPF 15


  • Comfort wear
  • Smoothes skin
  • Contains SPF 15


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Some may prefer a lighter coverage

This dreamy foundation from Dior will have your skin looking better than ever through its skincare first formula, which relies on a mix of floral ingredients and a medium-coverage color to improve the appearance of pores and smooth out uneven texture.

Not only does this foundation give you a radiantly matte finish, it also stands up against the elements with its heat, humidity and transfer-resistant abilities.


Best for Full Coverage: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Longwear Foundation


  • Cruelty-free
  • Skin nourishing ingredients
  • Flawless coverage


  • Might not work for very oily skin
  • Slightly more expensive

Having created looks for countless runway shows, red carpet events and magazine covers, no one knows the importance of having a timeless matte base in your beauty bag more than legendary makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury.

Even though her airbrush foundation provides a full-coverage experience, it never feels heavy and is actually incredibly breathable on the skin. It is also infused with anti-aging agents and hydrators to keep your skin in peak condition.

People Also Ask

  • Q: How do I prep my skin for matte foundation?

    A:Always apply matte foundation on a clean face which has been prepped with moisturizer. You can also add in the step of a primer before to improve texture or control shine.

  • Q: How do I apply matte foundation?

    A:Matte foundation can be applied by using your fingertips, brushes, a beauty blender or a combination of all three. It is always best to start lightly and build up the coverage instead of starting with a heavy amount of product.

  • Q: How much should I spend on matte foundation?

    A:Whether you want to treat yourself to a more luxury option or need a budget-friendly foundation to wear regularly, our list has a tried-and-tested base for every price point.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Clare Holden

By Clare Holden

Beauty and style writer Clare has been a fan of makeup and fashion ever since she was a child. While studying for her degree in Journalism and Communications, Clare worked part-time on cosmetic counters. After graduating she went back and trained as a makeup artist after falling in love with beauty and skincare. She now splits her time between writing about all things makeup and running her own womenswear brand White Night.
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