A new release from NARS is always noteworthy. The beauty brand just knows the recipe for a cult-favorite beauty product, from its universally-loved Orgasm blush to the makeup artist-approved Creamy Radiant Concealer. The latest to join their range of vanity-worthy foundations is The Soft Matte Complete Foundation, a full coverage dream that pretty much checks all the boxes on our ideal full-coverage foundation wishlist. Clocking in with 34 shades, the comfortably matte foundation promises coverage that not only looks and feels like a second skin, but also stays put even under a mask.
How to Apply Nars Soft Matte Foundation
NARS Lead Makeup Artist Niko Lopez led us through the foundation in a Zoom masterclass, explaining that the formula promises transfer-resistant, shine-resistant wear that doesn’t oxidize. He warmed up the mattifying foundation and applied it with his hands by smoothing it onto the skin, then lightly tapped excess product into the skin like a concealer in areas that needed extra coverage. He explained that the powders in the foundation formulation actually help to absorb excess oils that cause oxidation, prevent that shiny t-zone we dread by the end of the day, and—our latest beauty concern—keep us from finding most of our makeup on our masks instead of our faces.
We decided to put the new Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation to the 12-hour wear test. Did it keep our oiliness at bay? Was it truly transfer-resistant? Keep scrolling for three editors’ honest reviews.
Nars Soft Matte Foundation Review #1: Faith
Skin Type: Combination
“I have to admit, I'm not usually a fan of matte makeup, so didn't quite know what to expect with Nars new Soft Matte Foundation. I do, however, passionately love the Nars Soft Matte Concealer, so I approached this test with both eagerness and apprehension. The texture of the Soft Matte Foundation is velvety, and it's certainly very, very matte. I recommend using a primer with it so it applies smoothly--otherwise if your skin has dry patches, it can pill a bit. I was impressed with the filter-finish--I've been breaking out around my mouth (maskne! ugh) and along my forehead, and it was comforting to have such a blurring, high-coverage product on hand to hide my bumps. I also like that it instantly blurred out the larger pores I have around my nose. My skin looked smoother and Photoshopped, albeit very matte.
I wore the foundation out on a sweaty, windy day in NYC, and was surprised to see that by the end of the day, barely any product had transferred to my mask (the foundation boasts that it's transfer-resistant, not transfer-proof). More importantly, it hadn't melted off my face in the slightest. In fact, I was totally in love with the way my skin looked at the end of the day--a little dewier than the start (partly due to sweat, and partly due to my Dr. Barbara Sturm Hydrating Mist). I haven't owned a full-coverage, matte foundation until now, but now can't imagine not having the Nars Soft Matte Foundation in my arsenal--it feels like a security blanket for a good skin day, no matter what state my skin is actually in.” — Faith Xue, Editorial Director
Nars Soft Matte Foundation Review #2: Jaz
Skin Type: Normal
“I’m a huge fan of Snapchat’s filters, so much so that taking a selfie without one these days feels weird to me. But after applying the Nars new Soft Matte Foundation, no filters were necessary— I looked airbrushed IRL and not just on camera. I usually prefer more dewy-looking skin this summer, but since ‘dewy’ can quickly turn into ‘sweaty,’ I can appreciate this matte formula. The product doesn’t skimp on coverage, but at the same doesn’t feel like I’m wearing a lot. I only used a few drops to get my desired converge, so a little goes a long way.
Now, I’ve actually been skipping foundation altogether this summer because we’ve had to wear masks and it’s a waste of product when half it winds up on your mask anyway. I had just the teeniest bit of transfer, mostly from the bridge of my nose and my jawline where the mask hugs. That’s a significant difference from other face makeup I tried to pair with my mask early-on in quarantine.. I’m still keen on no face makeup with my mask, but if the occasion calls for it, I’ll be using Nars’ Soft Matte Foundation.” — Jazmine A. Ortiz, News Editor
Nars Soft Matte Foundation Review #3: Chinea
Skin Type: Combination
“It’s been a while since I’ve applied foundation for anything outside of a Zoom call but I jumped on the opportunity to try this new formula. As far as foundations and concealers go, NARS always knocks it out of the park—I’m on my hundredth tube of their Radiant Creamy Concealer and the Luminous All-Day weightless is my go-to foundation, so I was excited to say the least. I have combination skin that’s usually pretty oily by the end of the day but I tend to shy away from matte foundations in favor of more luminous formulas that tend to look more natural to me. As per their recommendation, I skipped the primer and quickly applied a very thin layer to start, hoping to build coverage in the areas where I needed it most, but it wasn’t necessary. One layer had covered the hyperpigmentation and discoloration on my cheeks and chin area and the coverage was natural—a true soft matte that didn’t dull any natural radiance in my skin or need a ton of powder to set.
I went about my day, mask and all, to put it to the test. One thing I noticed was that it didn’t feel like I was wearing foundation even with the heat and mask, which is a huge plus. After a few hours, the first thing I did when I got home (after washing my hands) was check the mirror. I was prepared to see an oily t-zone and a mask-shaped indentation, only to find my makeup had withstood a day of errands, including laundry. While there was some transfer on the mask, the rest of my makeup remained intact and still matte.” — Chinea Rodriguez, News Writer