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Dewy skin seems to be the goal these days, but for those with oilier skin, a dewy glow isn’t exactly something you have to strive for—it’s the default setting. If you find yourself constantly blotting your t-zone or not getting enough coverage to blur the look of your pores, a matte foundation is the way to go. “The best skin types for matte foundations are combination skin, oily skin, or skin with larger pores," explains celebrity makeup artist Renee Loiz. "Matte foundations help the oil on the skin disappear and also smoothes over those large pores to hide them.”
Luckily, matte foundations are not the heavy, cakey formulas we once knew. Whether you prefer a classic powder or a creamy liquid, we’ve rounded up the best matte formulas to deliver a natural matte finish for velvety skin all day long.
These are the best matte foundations for every price range and skin tone.
Best Overall: Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Foundation
Can feel heavy on the skin
This new and improved matte formula is hard to beat for being practically everything-proof. We’re talking waterproof, transfer-proof, and sweat-resistant. It’s also non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores, and a little goes a long way. Users rave that this full-coverage formulate gets the job done in one or two pumps.
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 39 | Finish: Luminous matte | Size: 1.18 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Budget: NYX Professional Makeup Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation
Great for fairer skin
Reviewers note shades pull very yellow
Keep it matte without going flat with this full-coverage foundation. The mineral-enriched formula covers blemishes and uneven texture without giving skin a cakey or flat appearance. Those with fair skin especially sing its praises for catering to various undertones.
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 21 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1.18 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Drugstore: L'Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Longwear Foundation
Another Hallie Gould favorite, this oil-free foundation rivals some of its more expensive matte foundation counterparts. The demi-matte, natural finish delivers 24-hour shine control and buildable, medium coverage.
Coverage: Medium | Shade Range: 22 | Finish: Demi-matte | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Splurge: Armani Beauty Power Fabric Foundation SPF 25
This foundation is on the higher end in terms of price, but those who use it say it’s worth every penny. The luxurious formula has a rich consistency that provides full coverage while remaining lightweight and buildable. It gives skin a natural finish and most importantly, protects it with SPF 25.
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 14 | Finish: Velvet-matte | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Full-Coverage: Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation
For full-coverage formulas, you want to be sure that the product completely covers your skin but it still looks like skin—and this liquid foundation does just that. Byrdie associate editorial director Hallie Gould notes that this is one of her top picks for its long-lasting staying power and wide shade range.
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 37 | Finish: Velvet matte | Size: 1.01 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
"The product felt weightless on my skin, my dark spots were concealed because of its fantastic coverage, and the matte finish was natural and not too powdery looking." — Khera Alexander, Product Tester
Best Classic: Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup
May not be enough coverage for some
There’s a good reason why this oil-free matte foundation has been keeping makeup lovers happy year after year. The buildable, medium coverage formula absorbs shine, controls oil, and resists sweat for up to eight hours of wear.
Coverage: Moderate | Shade Range: 20 | Finish: Natural matte | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Liquid: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
A little goes a long way
May not be enough coverage for some
Our Byrdie editors can’t get enough of this long-wearing matte foundation, and makeup artist Renee Loiz also sings its praises. “I love it because it doesn’t give skin that 90s powdery matte foundation feel," she says. "It’s an updated and elevated foundation that works perfectly for those with oily skin, leaving skin with a soft matte look that still looks natural.”
Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 50 | Finish: Soft matte | Size: 1.08 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
“The oil-free formula evened out my skin, kept my T-zone matte, and the shade matched my skin tone seamlessly.” — Bianca Lambert, Product Tester
Many matte foundations contain oil-absorbing ingredients like clay and silica that will mop up any excess shine. This can cause the colors to change slightly in very oily skin. To keep your color truer, longer, use a mattifying primer to give your foundation a head start.
Best for Deep Skin Tones: Juvia's Place I Am Magic Foundation
Paraben- and sulfate-free
Reviewers note it transfers easily
This soft matte formula has a shade for practically everyone (so fair and medium tones, this is for you too!) but it especially shines with its perfect match offerings for those with deeply melanated skin. The full-coverage formula is great for evening out complexions, refining skin texture, and erasing blemishes.
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 42 | Finish: Velvet matte | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Buildable Coverage: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Foundation
A little goes a long way
Can be drying
All-day coverage? Check. Wide shade range? Check. Oil-free matte formula? Absolutely. After stealing this from my mother’s countertop one too many times, I decided to purchase it for myself. I love that the matte finish is natural and provides an even complexion that blends effortlessly.
Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 33 | Finish: Natural matte | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Shade Range: Uoma Beauty Say What?! Foundation
Can look cakey
When it comes to personalization, this innovative matte foundation is surely a frontrunner. It has 51 shades in six different unique formula categories, catering to the specific needs of each skin type. For example, deep shades have the Black Pearl formula created to control oil and brighten dull skin, while the White Pearl formulas combat hypersensitivity and redness. And of course, there’s something for everything in between. No matter your shade, this blurring foundation provides buildable coverage for natural skin.
Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 51 | Finish: Vibrant matte | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
“No matter your skin tone or type, the Uoma Beauty foundation can give you the customizable matte finish you've been looking for, all while wearing nicely throughout the day.” — Celeste Polanco, Product Tester
Best for Texture: Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation
Good for acne
Good for all skin types
Can feel heavy
This transfer-proof, oxidation-resistant foundation delivers a natural-looking, full-coverage matte finish for up to 16 hours. It hydrates while balancing sebum production and also protects skin from pollution and blue light damage. Users say that it does wonders filling in large pores and creates an even appearance on acne-prone skin.
Coverage: Full | Shade Range: 34 | Finish: Matte | Size: 1.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Powder: MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
Sweat- and humidity-resistant
Can be drying
This one-step powder foundation gives skin a smooth, ultra-matte finish with medium-to-full buildable coverage. The velvety, non-cakey formula still allows the skin to breathe and lasts for a full 12 hours. It’s sweat-resistant, humidity-resistant, and comes in an inclusive 53 shades.
Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 53 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.52 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Non-Comedogenic: Smashbox Studio Skin 24 Hour Oil-Free Hydra Foundation
This oil-free formula has 40 non-oxidizing shades that stay true to their color and won’t cause breakouts. It provides medium to full coverage while remaining breathable to avoid cracking and settling into pores. It also wins big for controlling oil and shine, being transfer-resistant, and also sweat- and humidity-resistant.
Coverage: Medium to full | Shade Range: 39 | Finish: Natural matte | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
If you’re looking for a full-coverage matte foundation that will stay put all day, we recommend Huda Beauty's #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Foundation. For medium, buildable coverage, look no further than Clinique's Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup—it absorbs shine and controls oil for eight hours. And for a budget-friendly, full-coverage option, NYX 's Makeup Stay Matte But Not Flat Foundation covers blemishes while delivering a natural finish that you’ll love.
What to Look For in a Matte Foundation
“For matte foundations, I like them to have a satin velvet finish so the skin still looks natural and soft," says makeup artist Renee Loiz. "I don’t like when the skin looks [when it's] too heavy or powdery from matte foundations.”
Not all matte formulas are made equal. Some boast 12- to 24-hour staying power while others promise eight hours of shine control. Keep in mind that the longer-lasting the formula, the more matte it'll be—which can be a major bonus or present a challenge, depending on the dryness or oiliness of your skin.
It’s important to know if you’re looking for a light, medium, or full-coverage look. For full coverage, you’ll want to apply with a very light hand, while you can be more generous and build on formulas with lighter coverage. Which formula you choose can simply be a matter of preference or if you’re going for an everyday look versus full glam.
Is matte foundation better than dewy foundation?
Each formula has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to select the right formula for your skin type and your desired finish. If you tend to get shiny throughout the day, a matte foundation can help to reduce an oily appearance, whereas dewy foundations reflect light, which can help dry skin look more glowy and luminous.
Should I use a primer with my matte foundation?
While matte foundations usually tend to be long-lasting on their own, you can certainly layer a primer underneath your foundation if you want to extend the wear or simply create a smoother canvas for your makeup.
Can I use matte foundation if I have dry skin?
You certainly can, but since matte foundation can have a dry appearance and often enhances any flaky areas, you’ll need to prep your skin accordingly. Be sure to layer on moisturizing products beforehand, and if you choose to use a primer, opt for a hydrating formula.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Kindra Moné has been creating fashion and beauty content since 2013. Whether contributing to some of the top women’s lifestyle magazines or working in-house with global brands, Kindra has collaborated with some of the most knowledgeable beauty professionals in the industry. When she isn’t writing or trying out Instagram recipes, she’s giving wellness tips and sharing fashion news on The StylingSOUL Podcast.