Let’s face it, matte looks sexy and most women prefer this look. However, it’s surprising that many people know very little about this type of foundation. In this post, I will go over all the details you need to know about matte foundations. I will also show you the best matte foundations that I have used and tested. Are you ready? Let’s get started!


Our Picks For the Best Matte Foundations

Foundation NameKey Features
Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation- Lightweight, Easy to Blend
- Hides Pores Well
- Very Affordable
- 12 Shades
L'Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation- Lightweight
- Long Lasting
- Buildable
- 10 shades
N.Y.C. New York Matte BB Creme Foundation- Lightweight
- Long Lasting (14 hours)
- BB Cream and Foundation in one
- 10 Shades
NYX Cosmetics Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation- Light Coverage
- Good Oil Control Powder
- 30 shades

What is Matte Foundation?

Matte foundations are the type of foundations that does not have any shine to it. They are the preferred type of foundation for people with oily skin. This is because matte foundations are designed to absorb the oil on the skin and reduce shine.

Matte foundations often come in powder form. As you might have guessed, powder is an excellent oil absorber which is why they make great matte foundations. You will also be able to find matte foundations in liquid form. Here is how matte and liquid foundations compare:

Matte Powder FoundationMatte Liquid Foundation
- Ideal for Oily Skin
- Less chance to block pores
- Less coverage than matte liquid foundations
- Feels lighter than matte liquid foundations
- Ideal for Normal to Oily Skin
- Good for blemishes but may cause breakouts
- Easier to blend
- Coverage is buildable

How do you know which one is best for you? To check, simply wash your face and leave it without makeup for about 2 hours. When the time is up, go check up in front of a mirror and observe the following:

– How much oil did you produce?
– Do you have a lot of redness, acne or other trouble areas that need coverage?

If you see that you had produced a lot of oil in the 2 hours but you don’t have obvious trouble areas that need special coverage, then choosing a matte powder foundation would work best for you. The powder will absorb your oil. You will need to monitor your coverage from time to time and pad on more powder during the day if the oil comes back.

If you see that you have produced a lot of oil and have large areas on your skin that require coverage, then selecting a matte liquid foundation would work best. Since the coverages provided by liquid foundations are buildable, you can control your coverage and only apply as much as you need to cover blemishes. Matte liquid foundations may cause breakouts, this does not happen in all cases and it really depends on the product that you are using.

If you do choose a liquid matte foundation, keep in mind that they may settle into cracks and fine lines. As matte foundations are designed to have a dryer finish, they may dry up quickly in cracks, forming wrinkle-like patterns. To combat this, consider using a moisturizer underneath the foundation. This may reduce the matte look, but at least it looks better than wrinkles right?


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Do Matte Foundations Dry Your Skin?

Yes, matte foundations will dry your skin. Matte foundations will usually have some form of silica which helps to absorb oil. Unfortunately, for people who have dry skin, this is bad news.

In general , I don’t recommend people with dry skin to use matte foundations. This is because matte foundations will usually leave a caked-on appearance on dry skin. As discussed at the American Academy of Dermatology, skin without moisture ages faster. If you have dry skin, try to stick with a non-matte, dewy liquid foundation instead.


I Have Dry Skin, But Want To Use Matte Foundations, What Should I Do?

In my opinion, the matte look is pretty sexy. But how should you wear matte foundations if you have dry skin? There are a couple of options that you can try:

Use a BB cream – If you don’t require a lot coverage, you can wear a bb cream and then “matte” it with a matte powder foundation. The BB cream will provide great nourishing benefits for your skin. If you are not comfortable with a powder foundation, you could try to use a matte setting spray.

Use a matte foundation designed for dry skin – Yes! This one seems obvious but I have mixed feelings about this. It’s not my favorite option, but I decided to include it into this list. It’s difficult to find the right matte foundation that works well on dry skin. I know I can say this for pretty much any foundation but this is especially true for matte foundations.

Use a hydrating primer and top it with a matte foundation – This is my favorite trick. Hydrating primers will provide a protective layer, allow your foundation to be applied on easier and make your foundation last longer.


Will Matte Foundation Make your Skin More Oily?

So you have picked your matte foundation and applied it perfectly. At first you noticed that everything seems fine. But as the day goes on, the oil begin to seep through again. What should you do?

The above scenario is pretty common. Most people don’t realize here that the matte foundation is actually NOT making your skin more oily. Instead, it’s the new oil on your face mixing with the foundation. I see this a lot on my clients who have really oily skin. Their skin is so oily that wearing a matte foundation can only provide temporary control of the oil (Usually  2-3 hours).

However, this is actually a pretty easy fix. Try using an oil-free primer together with your matte foundation. A lot of people forget the importance of applying primers as part of their makeup routine. Primers in my opinion, should not be skipped.


Final Recommendations

Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Powerless Foundation

For a drugstore foundation, this one packs a punch! I highly recommend this one for daily use as it is lightweight and provides a great poreless matte finish. It is not long lasting but it will last you most of the day (around 6 – 8 hours). If you feel that your skin becomes shiny again after a few hours, all you need to do is to pad it down with a bit of powder and you are good to go. The product blends decently and doesn’t look cakey after the application.

One thing about this foundation is that it simply does not work for everyone. It’s either you really love it or you really hate it. I have had clients who broke out because of this product. However, that was only 1 case in around 10 so it may not happen to you. As always, proper testing of the product is the way to go. Now that I have told you it’s flaw, I still would recommend this to others simply because it’s a really good foundation for the money. You just gotta make sure it works for your skin.


NYX Cosmetics Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation
NYX Powder Foundation
If you would rather opt for a BB cream and then matte it with a foundation (as I have suggested above), you might want to give this NYX Matte Foundation a try. It provides a great matte effect and is lightweight. It only provides a light coverage but hopefully your BB cream will take care of the rest.

One great thing I love about this foundation is the number of shades that you can choose from. As I’m working with a lot of clients with different skin tones, I was always able to find the right tone that fits with the color of my clients’ skin. As it is powder form, it provides great oil control and you can simply use it to pad down any oil patches throughout the day.

The packaging isn’t the best as the lid would sometimes open in my makeup bag and then powder leaks out all over the place. However, just keep it inside a ziplock bag and you are good to go.