The very best matte foundations for an airbrush finish (2023)

Matte foundation doesn't have to be a cakey affair.

If you've got oily skin you might completely FREAK OUT at the thought of a dewy foundation, so dw, we got you with these ultra-mattifying foundations.

These days, matte foundations are far from the drying, clumpy pastes we used to use in the 90s. You know, the kind that could only be used by those with the oiliest of skins? Yep, nowadays, a matte foundation can create a silky smooth look with no shiny T-zone in sight - perfect for oily AND combination skin types.

Matte foundation still might not be the best choice if you have dry skin buuut, if you maximise on your moisturisers, facial oils and primers before hand, you could still make it work. Just look for matte foundations with hydrating properties, like the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter one with added raspberry leaf extract to hydrate and moisturise (and if you're still unsure, why not check out our guide to picking foundations...).

There are matte foundation options for all budgets, skin types and even lifestyles (hey, vegan readers 👋) from a £9.99 drugstore classic to luxury brands like Hourglass and Giorgio Armani.

So go on hun, blot that T-zone.

Check out the best matte foundations for every skin type

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.

Where to shop the best matte foundations

1. L'Oréal Infallible 24H Matte Foundation

The very best matte foundations for an airbrush finish (1)

The very best matte foundations for an airbrush finish (2)

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This drugstore classic is an old fave and always welcome in our makeup drawer. It has a demi-matte finish which is perfect if you like a more natural finish, and it's obviously an absolute BARG.Pros: Waterproof but still light enough that you won't lose the depth to your complexion. Cons: Not the best choice for concealing acne/redness and doesn't sit well on dry patches.Customer review: "I've been searching for a product that stays on my face all day; this is close! I have to apply a powder after about 3pm to freshen up the look but overall good product."

2. Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup 30ml

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This is a matte foundation that truly delivers. It comes in 15 shades (14 on Look Fantastic) and has medium coverage with a silky soft finish. Plus the tip gives out just the right amount of foundation you need, so no more excess. Yippee.Pros: It can withstand heat and sweat while maintaining a more light-medium feel.Cons: Reviews claim lighter shades aren't as light as they seem in the online swatches, so maybe pick a lighter shade than usual if you're fair skinned. Customer review: "I have really oily skin and have been using this foundation for years because it really is the most mattifying and long-wearing formula I've come across. I've tried other brands now and again but always return to this because I know I can count on it. I have to apply powder maybe 2/3 times per day to keep it matte but it doesn't slip or fill in lines. It's also got a very lightweight, natural finish and the colour actually matches my pale skin!"

3. Fenty Beauty PRO FILT'R Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Quite frankly, we're raving about this matte foundation. It can pretty much withstand anything you throw at it and it's under 30 quid. Plus, over 100 people bought this on the Boots website in the last 25 hours - pretty impressive, right?Pros: Best. Shade. Range. Ever.Cons: If you have even a touch of dryness, you'll need to make sure your skin is adequately moisturised before you start. Customer review: "I have combination skin which can be quite difficult to manage as I can be oily in some areas and very dry in others. I opt for matte foundations as hydrating foundations will turn my skin into a hot mess and this foundation works so well for me! I use it with the primer and setting powder and that helps keep the oil at bay without drying out my dry areas. I still get the dewy glow I enjoy. Lasts a fairly long time too and is easy to take off at the end of the day."

4. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation

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Would this be a makeup article without a mention of THE CT? No. As it says on the tin, this foundation gives an airbrushed finish and is sweat, oil and humidity proof. Pros: Cruelty-free and excellent for summertime with Aircool technology (97% of men and women - out of 311 - agreed that it made their skin feel cooler after use).Cons: Can become a tiny bit caky if you're trying to build up coverage in certain areas.Customer review: "My staple foundation for healthy looking skin. I adore this foundation as its long lasting and actually stays on my face all day."

5. Too Faced Born This Way Foundation 30ml (Various Shades)

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This foundation gives medium to heavy coverage without you even FEELING it on your skin. Perfect for heatwaves or just day to day. Pros: Don't be fooled by its ultra-light finish, it's moisturising too and contains coconut water for super thirsty skin. Plus, it's cruelty-free and vegan.Cons: Reviews say you'll need to pair it with a powder/touch up for oily skin types.Customer review: "This foundation works great, I have dry sensitive skin and struggle to find foundation that doesn't irritate my skin. One thing I have noticed is when I don't wear a primer under the foundation it does crease a little after an hour or so, however would buy again and again."

6. ESTEE LAUDER Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10

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We can't not mention the OG matte foundation trusted by millions - Estee Lauder Double Wear. There's a reason why it's a firm favourite, it reliably soaks up any oil and gives a lovely non-drying finish for 24 hours.Pros: Great shade range a truly full coverage. Cons: Apply with a primer if you want to blend other products on top - it really won't want to budge once it's on.Customer review: "Love this foundation, definitely worth buying a pump for it though or it dries out and you end up using way more than needed. Goes on best with a brush rather than sponge."

7. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

It might be on the spenny side, but this foundation has a lot going for it that might just make it worth the splurge. It's vegan, waterproof and the perfect size for travelling. Pros: Excellent shade range and the shape of the stick is great for getting in all those facial nooks and crannies.Cons: Not much product and not ideal for dry skin types as it clings to dry patches.Customer review: "This foundation works amazing with my combo skin and my changing needs of coverage - it can be light to full without looking cakey at all. Love it!"

8. Huda Beauty #Faux Filter Foundation

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Huda Beauty is a brand you can trust to come through with a matte foundations that's got alllll the bells and whistles. This one gives pretty heavy coverage without drying out your skin or looking like you've emptied a pot of dream matte mousse on your face.Pros: Waterproof, sweat-proof, fade-proof, transfer-proof AND fragrance-free for sensitive skin types.Cons: Some reviews claim it sinks into pores.Customer review: "This gave me nice coverage but it doesn't look cakey and it stayed for quiet a long time. It doesn't have a scent. The foundation has a creamy texture and small amount of the foundation is enough to cover the whole face. Highly recommend it."

9. No7 Beautifully Matte Foundation 30ml

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If you have sensitive skin then this matte foundation could be the velvety answer to your makeup prayers. Almost 100 were bought on the Boots website in the last 24 hours and it covers pores, spots and red patches with ease - go on, hun.Pros: It's hypoallergenic for sensitive skin and it's a bit of a bargain, if you ask us. Cons: Poor choice of darker shades.Customer review: "When first applied I was surprised at how well this covered my dark circles and fine lines, I'm 26 so only just getting into the ageing business. The finish was 100% medium matt coverage and looked pretty flawless. Felt soft and silky to the touch and dried quickly, only needed a little translucent setting powder."

10. NARS Cosmetics Velvet Matte Skin Tint 50ml

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We've always been HUGE fans of the NARS creamy concealer, and this foundation is making it's way up there too. It leaves a velvety, blurred finish and the squeezy tube is so much easier to manage than those darned pumps. Pros: Contains loads of antioxidants to protect against environmental damage.Cons: Not a good choice for people with dry or flaky skin. Customer review: "This is perfect it's ticked all my boxes and more. It blends quickly and evenly, it covered amazingly well with surprising little product and you can build the coverage. I haven't used any other they foundation since. Because it's so natural looking you can dress it up or down. It doesn't flatten your features and it lasts all day without going greasy, comes off easily and is generally a pleasure to use."

11. MAC Studio Fix Soft Matte Foundation Stick (Various Shades)

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MAC have long been at the top of the foundation game, so it's no surprise they have a top-notch matte option. The shade range is pretty good and you can even use it as a contour/highlight stick if you get it in a few shades lighter/darker.Pros: Easy to blend (though some reviews advise using with a primer) and won't take up space in your make-up bag.Cons: Hard to build coverage so ideal for someone looking for a light-medium build. Customer review: "Blends so easily and the colour is amazing. I feel like a cooler toned shade would be fab for contouring too!"

12. bareMinerals Matte SPF15 Foundation - Various Shades

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(Video) Airbrush Flawless Foundation + Finish + Matte Revolution Lipstick #BestOfCharlotteTilbury

If you've got oily skin, you'll love this powder foundation. It soaks up any excess oil and gives a non-dry, natural finish. Pros: It's super buildable AND contains SPF, the holy combo of foundation traits if you ask us.Cons: Reviews claim it can look a little cakey at first but, for oily skin types, it becomes more natural and dewy throughout the day.Customer review: "Love this on my combination skin, I already love the original, but the matte version means the end of day shine is kept at bay!"

13. Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation

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The very best matte foundations for an airbrush finish (15)

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Another slightly expensive option, but this designer foundation is the ULTIMATE natural matte. It has a gorgeous creamy formula and has SPF 25 to protect your skin from the winter sunshine.Pros: It comes with its own pump and promises full coverage without the heavy feel.Cons: Some reviews claim it sinks into fine lines and pores.Customer review: "I bought this along with the primer as my skin has started to get oily during the day. It feels as though I'm wearing no foundation at all, blends in so well and looks so natural!! Completely love it!!"

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What to look for in a matte foundation...

Matte foundations are traditionally powder based, but technology has brought us gorgeous matte finishes in a liquid formula, praise be!

They have a soft and creamy texture and instead of feeling dry and tight after application, this new breed of foundations are hydrating and oil-absorbing.

Clay and silica are classic oil-absorbing ingredients you'll find in lots of matte foundations, and they've totally changed the game.

You can achieve a smooth matte look without dryness AND in a liquid formula, honestly we're obsessed.

Do you need to set matte foundation?

This depends on your skin type AND the foundation finish you've chosen.

According to Max Factor, if you've opted for a powder matte foundation, then you won't need to set your base with another powder.

If you have combination skin, and only experience excess oil in your T-zone, then you'll probably only need to set your foundation in that area.

If you have oily skin and, by the end of the day, you're usually experiencing shine from your forehead down through your chin, we'd probably recommend dusting a little powder across your whole face.

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If you think you've powdered a little too much, don't fret, just spritz your face with some setting spray or a hydrating mist and you should be able to correct the damage.

In essence - only set your foundation in areas you're likely to get oily, sweaty or wet (so, along that vein, perhaps powder before a hot day or a gym sesh, too).


What is the best foundation for airbrushed look? ›

A matte foundation is usually your best bet because it reflects less light, which makes pores less obvious and gives your skin a smoother look. It also cuts down on shine, so your makeup will look smooth and flawless as long as possible. If you have dry skin, you may prefer a demi-matte or satin finish foundation.

Which foundation is the best for matte look? ›

The best matte foundation you can buy in 2022
  1. KVD Good Apple Skin perfecting foundation balm: Best full coverage matte foundation. ...
  2. Second Skin: Best budget matte foundation. ...
  3. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r: Best all-round matte foundation. ...
  4. OPV Stick Foundation: Best buildable matte foundation.
7 Sept 2022

What foundation do most makeup artists use? ›

  • Pat McGrath Labs. ...
  • It Cosmetics. ...
  • Shiseido. ...
  • Giorgio Armani. ...
  • Fenty Beauty. Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation. ...
  • Maybelline. Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation Makeup. ...
  • Physicians Formula. The Healthy Foundation With SPF 20. ...
  • Neutrogena. Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup Foundation.
18 Mar 2021

How do you get the airbrush look with foundation? ›

Always like to go and get the eyelid. And if you want to add a little bit of pop of contouring. You

Which is the best foundation in the world? ›

Best Overall: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

The iconic formula first launched in 2000 and has remained wildly popular ever since. Credit the lightweight texture and, true to the name, silky finish that delivers just the right amount of coverage while still leaving skin looking like skin.

How do I get full coverage without looking cakey? ›

Applying foundation in thin layers can give you more coverage without making your skin look cakey. It also helps prevent any creasing of makeup throughout the day so that your face always looks fresh and natural. This technique will give your skin full coverage that lasts longer.


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