The best matte foundations for flawless, long-lasting coverage

Finding the best matte foundation can take serious trial and error, but there's no going wrong with these foolproof formulas

a composite of the best matte foundation by Lottie London, Fenty, MAC against a pink background
(Image credit: Lottie London, Fenty, MAC)

The best matte foundation is a staple in any makeup collection, providing an airbrush smooth finish that keeps your skin looking flawless all day long. However, finding the right matte formula to suit your skin type without causing any cakiness is no mean feat.

We think that the best foundation is one that you can rely on to both sit comfortably on the skin and also stay put throughout the day. After all, there's nothing worse than checking your reflection halfway through the afternoon to find that your foundation has cracked or melted off your chin. Thankfully, the best matte foundations can help you to avoid these all-too-common mishaps. So whether you prefer the look of the best full-coverage foundations or want something a little more natural, a reliable matte foundation will provide the smooth base we all crave.

"As a general rule, anyone with oily or combination skin can use a matte foundation," says Denise Rabor (opens in new tab), Make-Up Artist and Founder of Wow Beauty (opens in new tab). "A good matte foundation will help to camouflage large pores and provide a smooth finish to the skin. Matte foundations are also great to use in hot and humid conditions, and in this instance could be used by those with ‘normal’ skin types," so there really is a matte foundation for everyone. Our pick of the 10 best matte foundations on the market go from the drugstore right up to high-end brands, so there is a pick for every budget and taste.

How we tested the best matte foundations

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

a range of matte foundations from different brands lined up against a plain white background

A selection of the matte foundations we tested for this guide.

(Image credit: Amelia Yeomans)

We tested a wide range of matte foundations with various different formulas to find out which gave the best results and could really be trusted to last all day. We paid close attention to how each foundation applied, how it lasted throughout the day, whether the finish stayed truly matte, and if it caused any dryness or cakiness. We also looked at the shade range - how well it matched various skin tones, and how inclusive the variety of shades offered is. Finally, we looked at the all-important price point and whether or not the foundation offered good value for money.

With all these factors in mind, we have rounded up our top 10 picks that will give you a long-lasting flawless matte finish that we're sure you will love.

Best matte foundations, chosen by our beauty team

fenty beauty pro filtr foundation bottle

(Image credit: Fenty Beauty)

1. Fenty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Foundation

Best matte foundation overall

Specifications

RRP: $39 / £33
SPF: No
Shades: 55+
Coverage: Medium to full
Skin type: All

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable wear
+
Good coverage
+
Great shade range 

Reasons to avoid

-
None!

This Fenty foundation somewhat broke the beauty industry when it first launched, as the impressive range of 50+ shades was the first of its kind. We tried this foundation years ago when it was fresh on the shelves, and after consistent wear, we can safely say that this is the best matte foundation to suit everyone. For a finish that is truly matte but not at all chalky or cakey, you can't get much better.

If you struggle with working out how to find your foundation shade and can never quite seem to get the right match, you need to give Fenty a try. We're yet to discover a foundation that matches as well to both complexion and undertone. When testing, as well as the impressive color match, we also loved the feeling of this product on the skin. Not too heavy but still with enough coverage to conceal blemishes, it is just right. To top it all off, Pro Filt'r Matte is also sweat and humidity resistant, as well as non-comedogenic. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, this is bound to become a staple in your makeup collection.

Read our full Pro Filt'r foundation review to learn even more about this game-changing base product.

Vanish™ Seamless Finish Foundation Stick packaging

(Image credit: Hourglass)

2. Hourglass Vanish™ Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

Best solid matte foundation

Specifications

RRP: $48 / £45
SPF: No
Shades: 32
Coverage: Full
Skin type: All

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Easy to apply and blend
+
Foundation and concealer in one

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes some time to get used to the formula

The best foundation sticks are still underdogs in the makeup world, but we're here to tell you that they are worthy of your attention. A cult favorite among those in the know, this Hourglass foundation provides a light yet flawless base that blends easily and lasts well throughout the day, and it is also great for use on the go. Thanks to the packaging and stick applicator, there is no mess involved - a plus for those who travel a lot. 

When testing, we found that it did take us a minute to get used to this formula and figure out how best to apply it to work with our skin, but after some experimenting, we were hooked. The formula works with the heat of your skin to provide seamless blending, making for quick and easy application. It has a similar texture to a powder once blended, with the same light and soft appearance. The finish is also gorgeous, providing that lit-from-within look that we always yearn for. We would recommend this as one of the best foundations for combination skin, as the formula and finish sit somewhere between glowy and true matte, so will work particularly well for those who want something that is neither drying nor dewy.

lottie london velvet skin tint foundation packaging

(Image credit: Lottie London)

3. Lottie London Velvet Skin Tint Foundation

Best affordable matte foundation

Specifications

RRP: $13.80 / £9.95
SPF: No
Shades: 8
Coverage: Low
Skin type: Dry

Reasons to buy

+
Great price
+
Provides a healthy glow
+
Little goes a long way

Reasons to avoid

-
Small shade range

Despite the price difference, affordable foundations can pack just as much of a punch as high-end names - and no foundation proves that better than the Lottie London skin tint. The best matte foundation is one that still gives a healthy look, and we certainly found that with this product. Simultaneously matte and luminous, it provides the ultimate natural glow and doesn't feel (or look) at all heavy. One of the best foundations for dry skin thanks to its hydrating formula, it is an ideal pick for those who want a product that will enhance and nourish your natural skin. However, be aware that if you want to hide blemishes, you will probably need to use a concealer as well. 

The first thing we noticed when testing this foundation was how soft and lightweight the formula is; it applies beautifully and a little goes a really long way. Though it appears on the shinier side at first, it quickly mattifies as it dries down, making for a smooth yet glowy finish. If you prefer the truly matte look, we recommend using this with a setting powder, as it still looks just as gorgeous when layered with powder products. Our only gripe is that it could definitely do with a larger variety of darker shades as there are only two 'deep' tones. The Velvet Skin Tint Foundation comes in eight shades in total, which is a relatively small range. However, due to the sheerer formula, each shade is fairly adaptable and easy to work with.

guerlain parure gold skin matte foundation bottle

(Image credit: Guerlain)

4. Guerlain Parure Gold Skin Matte Foundation

Best luxury matte foundation

Specifications

RRP: $78 / £65
SPF: 15
Shades: 18
Coverage: Medium, buildable
Skin type: All, but especially dry

Reasons to buy

+
Flawless finish
+
Completely transfer proof
+
Nourishing feel on the skin

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey

For the price tag, we were expecting big things from this foundation - and it really delivered. We found that it has a very watery texture when first pumped out, however after a few seconds of seamless blending it had completely dried down to form a flawless, matte base. Plus, it doesn't require any setting powder or sprays to become totally transfer-proof. What's not to love?

If you struggle with getting truly matte foundations to still have that natural effect, this is the foundation to try. When testing, we were struck by how well it settled into the skin while also providing buildable coverage, perfect for natural makeup looks. We also noticed that the skincare-based ingredients provide a nourishing feel on the skin, making for long-lasting and comfortable wear. When applying this product, be sure to give it time to dry between each layer of makeup to let it really work its magic. Not at all chalky or drying, it is definitely one of the best foundations for oily skin that will work to balance out any excess shine. 

charlotte tilbury airbrush flawless filter foundation bottle

(Image credit: Charlotte Tilbury)

5. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation

Best matte foundation for a flawless finish

Specifications

RRP: $46 / £39
SPF: No
Shades: 44
Coverage: Full
Skin type: All

Reasons to buy

+
Pore blurring
+
Comfortable wear
+
Sweat proof and transfer resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Can cling to dry patches

Charlotte Tilbury makes some of our all-time favorite foundations, and the Airbrush Flawless foundation is undoubtedly the best matte foundation if you are looking for a flawless and pore-free finish. When testing, we loved how even and healthy our skin looked after application, and we found that it lasted well throughout the day. Rivaling the best powder foundations in terms of mattifying capabilities, we would definitely recommend this formula for those who want to combat oily skin. 

We loved the smooth texture of this foundation that is easy to blend out, meaning it also layers well with other complexion products. Using MossCellTec and REPLEXIUM technologies to nourish the skin and add hydration, this is a foundation that is great for those who also want to give their natural skin a boost, and we did notice that our skin felt comfortable and hydrated when testing. As with a lot of matte foundations, if you have very dry skin you may notice some clinging in certain areas, however, this is easy to combat with the right skin prep. 

Read our Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation review to hear our full thoughts on this cult product.

mac studio fix fluid matte foundation bottle

(Image credit: MAC)

6. MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation

Best matte foundation for acne-prone skin

Specifications

RRP: $39 / £30
SPF: 15
Shades: 63
Coverage: Medium-full buildable
Skin type: All

Reasons to buy

+
Great shade range
+
Non-acnegenic
+
Doesn't cake or crease

Reasons to avoid

-
None!

MAC is probably one of the first makeup brands that most of us tried back in the day, and we're pleased to say that their products are just as good as we remember. The Studio Fix Fluid in particular comes in an impressive 60+ shades, and the smooth matte finish and buildable coverage mean that this is a product that can work for absolutely anyone. Expect a naturally flawless look that keeps skin looking like skin, without any cakiness on drier patches or creasing in fine lines.

When testing on acne-prone skin, we found that not only did this foundation effortlessly cover up all blemishes, but it also felt lightweight and breathable - something we always look for to ensure comfortable wear. The coverage is buildable and can definitely suit both natural and glam looks, making for a great multi-use product that we loved playing around with. A true all-rounder product, this foundation will work brilliantly for all skin types to give a smooth and even base that doesn't look overly makeup-y. Undoubtedly the best matte foundation for problem skin, we will always have this product in our roster. If you're looking for a lighter foundation though, other MAC foundations might be better - see our MAC Face and Body review if you're looking for a sheer formula that's well-suited to all skin types. 

L'Oréal Infallible 24H Matte Cover Foundation tube

(Image credit: L'Oreal)

7. L'Oréal Infallible 24H Matte Cover Foundation

Best drugstore matte foundation

Specifications

RRP: $13.80 / £9.99
SPF: 18
Shades: 19
Coverage: Full
Skin type: All, but best for oilier types

Reasons to buy

+
Anti-shine
+
Transfer-proof and waterproof
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for those with very dry skin

L'Oréal makes some of the best drugstore foundations in terms of quality and price point, and the Infallible range delivers on both those points. When testing we loved the high coverage that this foundation provided, and we noticed how well it lasted through a long and slightly sweaty day. Due to the easily blendable texture of this foundation, we also found that a little goes a long way - as with a lot of matte foundations.

"Matte foundation works well when applied with a brush," advises Rabor. "Remember less is more, so don’t overload your brush with product. Start from the center of your face and work outwards." Using these tips is essential with true matte formulas like these to avoid any product build-up or excess texture. If you have very dry skin you may find this foundation slightly too matte for your liking, however, it is a great affordable option for those looking for high coverage and strong staying powers.

YSL all hours foundation bottle

(Image credit: YSL)

8. YSL All Hours Foundation

Best glowy matte foundation

Specifications

RRP: $56 / £36
SPF: 30
Shades: 40
Coverage: Full
Skin type: All

Reasons to buy

+
Infused with hyaluronic acid
+
Glowy without being shiny
+
Weightless feel

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best for those with oily skin

If you are looking at foundation vs bb cream and can't decide which is best for you, we found that All Hours sits somewhere between the two. It has the coverage of a foundation with the light texture of a bb cream, providing the perfect everyday base to suit any makeup look. This product has recently been reformulated to be more lightweight and luminous, and we have to say that although we loved the original, this new edition is far superior. Retaining its matte quality but adding a more natural and healthy look, it is a great option for all skin types.

When testing, we found this foundation to be very easily blendable, and it settled quickly into the skin with a hydrating feel. Not at all chalky, it is a matte for those who want a natural but enhanced complexion. When it came time to remove it, we found that despite how well it lasted, it was also easy to wash away with the best cleansing balms. This is always an added bonus, as it avoids tedious scrubbing before bed. 

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Oil-Free Matte Foundation bottle in shade deep

(Image credit: LookFantastic)

9. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Oil-Free Matte Foundation

Best matte foundation for mature skin

Specifications

RRP: $44 / £33
SPF: 40
Shades: 9
Coverage: Full
Skin type: All

Reasons to buy

+
Skincare ingredients
+
Great coverage 
+
Reduces shine and oiliness

Reasons to avoid

-
Small shade range

A rival to the best bb creams, this color correcting foundation is one of the best on the market for skin that needs a little extra boost, whether that be help with acne scarring and pigmentation or extra hydration. When testing, we found that despite the very full coverage finish, this is a very comfortable foundation that retains a matte finish without being at all drying. 

It is a great option for oily skin, as it contains detoxifying charcoal, colloidal clay to absorb oil, plus tea tree to help with blemishes. It is also our top pick for mature skin that could benefit from extra moisture, thanks to the hydrating formula. We also love makeup that includes SPF as this removes an extra step from our routine, and the impressive SPF40 in the CC Cream means that it will also work for summer makeup looks. One of the best lightweight foundations for everyday wear, it combines a range of beneficial ingredients that will give you a flawless complexion in one simple step.

huda beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Foundation bottle and swatch

(Image credit: Huda Beauty)

10. Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Full Coverage Liquid Foundation

Best matte foundation for oily skin

Specifications

RRP: $42 / £36
SPF: No
Shades: 39
Coverage: Full
Skin type: Oily

Reasons to buy

+
Fragrance free
+
Super mattifying 
+
Smooth finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite drying

If you are on the hunt for the mattest of the mattes, you've met your match. When we first tested the #FauxFilter foundation, we noticed how thick the formula is compared to the other foundations in this guide. This definitely gave the most mattifying effect of all the foundations we have tried, ideal for those who don't want to have to use powders to set their base. If you struggle with how to apply foundation, it is worth experimenting with both brushes and sponges when using this product, as it does take a little bit of work to fully blend out. However, once applied, this did give one of the most healthy and smooth finishes we have tried. 

We were impressed by the flawless finish that this foundation gave, and it is definitely a product we would turn to for more glam looks or special events when we want everything covered. However, we would mainly recommend it for those with oily skin who want to combat excess moisture. "If you have dry skin, attracting and keeping moisture is your challenge, as well as maintaining a healthy glow," says Rabor. "A matte foundation will ultimately make your skin look drier and won’t feel comfortable sat on the skin." For this reason, anyone who struggles with dryness should probably steer clear, but it is certainly the best matte foundation for oily skin types. 

Read our Huda foundation review to get the full low-down.

Who should use a matte foundation?

 “Although many people opt for a matte foundation, they are usually the most suitable for those with oily skin as it helps to control shine and moisture throughout the day," says Sarah Fogg, Permanent Makeup Artist and founder of Brows By Sarah (opens in new tab). "A matte foundation is also usually long-lasting, therefore it is perfect for someone who needs a full day of makeup." 

You will find that many matte foundations, including most of the ones in this guide, are also fully transfer-proof. This is great for those who struggle with foundation rubbing off throughout the day, particularly around the chin or neck. "Matte formulas are sometimes fuller coverage as well, therefore if you’re looking for a full glam look or a heavier base, it is perfect for you."

 What’s the best way to apply a matte foundation? 

“After properly prepping your skin for matte foundation with effective moisturising products such as serums and primer, use either a makeup brush or your fingers to apply," says Fogg. "I recommend using your fingers or a firm makeup brush as they offer the best coverage. However, you must ensure that your hands are clean beforehand to avoid getting dirt on your skin. A brush also creates a more seamless finish and prevents patchiness," she says.

"One of the most common mistakes that I always see people make is applying their foundation over their eyebrows. This instantly makes your makeup appear cakey and heavy and also ages you by making your brows look light and thin. Avoid your eyebrows at all costs when it comes to foundation."

How can I stop my foundation looking cakey?

"The main factor that prevents cakey makeup is moisture," says Fogg. "I recommend using a moisturizer that has been formulated for your skin type, and when using this, focus on the particularly dry areas." Take the time to find the best face moisturizer for you and reap the benefits when it comes to makeup application. "Using a primer is another great way of hydrating before foundation. Always allow the primer a few minutes to set until you start applying any makeup. You may also find this means you can apply less foundation, offering a more natural ‘no-makeup’ look," she says. 

Rabor agrees, also noting the importance of taking care of your skin. "The key is to make sure that your skin is well prepped i.e. effectively cleansed. And let’s not forget the importance of exfoliation a couple of times a week to remove dead skin cells thus creating a smooth base," she says. 

How can I achieve a flawless finish with my foundation? 

"A flawless finish is all about the preparation; cleanse, exfoliation and hydration with an oil-free, nourishing product," says Rabor. No foundation will look smooth if your skin isn't appropriately prepped, so it is worth taking the time out of your day to ensure you are readying your skin for makeup application. This includes using a good moisturizer, as well as an SPF.

"Starting the day with an SPF moisturizer will keep skin protected all day," says Rosi  Chapman (opens in new tab), Beauty Veteran and Founder of Transformulas. "It's a sure way to get the natural glow you're after while also making sure you're safe from the sun's rays. Makeup on top will sit for longer and the skin stays protected."

Amelia Yeomans
Staff writer

Amelia joined woman&home after graduating with an MA in Magazine Journalism from City University in 2022. She specialises in lifestyle journalism and throughout her undergraduate degree she wrote for a variety of student publications, where she developed a love for all things style, beauty and sustainable fashion. She has previously written for titles including OK! Magazine, New! Magazine and Notion before she started her career as a lifestyle journalist with woman&home after completing an internship with the brand.