5 Full Coverage Matte Foundations for Fair Skin
I’ve recently rediscovered my love for full coverage foundations when my skin decided to surprise me with worse than usual hormonal breakouts. It’s kind of my fault that happened, though. September was my Birthday month, so I way overindulged on sweets. Every time I went out with friends or family, I would have a sweet treat, because it’s my Birthday. In addition to that, I would eat a lot of sugary treats at home, too, so a massive breakout was pretty much inevitable. Luckily, I still had my secret stash of trusted full coverage foundations to lean on, so I dusted them off and gave each one a nice test ride. I figured I’m not the only one who likes to wear these, either daily or occasionally, so I decided to write a short post with brief mini-reviews of each foundation [including non-toxic and cruelty-free options], and of course, some comparison swatches.
1 // Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup Foundation in 1N1 Ivory Nude ($42 for 1 oz) – This is my summer shade when my face finally gets a little bit of color. It’s a very classic foundation that’s been a fan favorite for many years, and rightfully so. It’s very long-lasting even when I don’t set it with setting powder. If you have oily or combo skin, the initial matte finish will get slightly dewier by the end of the day, but it will still look good. The formula is fragrance-free and oil-free. I had equally good results applying this foundation with a sponge and with brushes.
Cons: Can accentuate dry patches, so it’s best used by people with oily and combination skin for that reason. The product needs to be shaken out of the bottle.
2 // IDUN Minerals Norrsken Liquid Foundation in Jorunn ($33 for 1 oz) – This super pale neutral nude is my winter shade, when the summer ‘tan’ fades away. Mineral formula is considered green and non-toxic, but the consistency is a little heavier than I like. I usually mix it with a little bit of moisturizer or primer to thin it out, which doesn’t affect the coverage much. The finish is ultra matte and can look a bit flat, so I usually contour subtly to avoid looking like a porcelain doll. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if that’s the look you’re going for. 😉 The formula is fragrance-free, talc-free, bismuth-free, contains lingonberry oil. IDUN Minerals recommends applying it with a brush, but in my experience that always resulted in streaks and uneven finish. I think a dampened sponge is the best for this one.
Cons: Easy to over-apply, may settle into deeper lines if not set, looks a bit flat on the skin.
3 // MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation in NC10 ($29 for 1 oz) – Just like Estee Lauder Double Wear above, this is another cult classic foundation that a lot of people seem to love. The range of shades it comes in is truly impressive, and the comfortable matte finish looks good even on people with dry skin. NC10 happens to be my perfect match, so it looks very natural. The formula can be easily sheered out for medium coverage or built up to full. Love that it never looks too flat and dry despite being a matte finish, and it can be worn as medium coverage or built up to full. Fragrance-free and photo-friendly, contains silicones for skin-blurring effect. Whether I use a brush or a sponge, the result is always great.
Cons: Never fully sets on its own, so it can easily transfer to clothes and smudge off when you touch your skin. Needs to be set with a setting powder or a spray. Also, the bottle doesn’t come with a pump, so you have to shake out the product.
4 // Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless Liquid Foundation in 110 Porcelain ($7.99 for 1 oz) – Another close match for my skin tone, and probably my favorite drugstore foundation for combination/oily skin. It’s one of the few foundations that don’t budge in the summer heat, and I’ve tested it times and times again. The formula sets with a powdery, ultra matte finish and will. not. budge. It’s a thicker foundation that you can sheer out slightly with a little bit of primer to adjust the coverage for your needs. I prefer using a dampened sponge to apply this one, but a large foundation brush seems to work well too. The formula is oil-free but contains parabens.
Cons: Can accentuate dry patches, and needs to be shaken out of the bottle.
5 // Urban Decay All-Nighter Foundation in 1.0 ($40 for 1 oz) This is the newest foundation in my stash, and the shade is something between my winter and summer skin tone. Let’s call it a transitional shade! The formula is by far the thinnest of the bunch, and it’s packed with pigment. UD says that a little goes a long way, and it’s definitely true for this one. I think I use maybe a grain of rice worth of product for my entire face, and it provides perfect full coverage throughout without looking cakey or flat. Best applied with a standard dampened makeup sponge. Because the formula sets extremely fast I wouldn’t recommend dotting it all over your face to start with. Just work with small areas and only apply when you’re ready to blend.
Cons: Despite being advertised as a 24h foundation, it actually starts separating after 6 and revealing deep cracks on the skin. Requires touchups for that reason.
Swatches Top to Bottom: Urban Decay All-Nighter Foundation in 1.0, Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless Liquid Foundation in 110 Porcelain, MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation in NC10, IDUN Minerals Norrsken Liquid Foundation in Jorunn, Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup Foundation in 1N1 Ivory Nude.
Matte full-coverage foundations are a great way to mask skin imperfections, and often I don’t even need to double up with a concealer. I don’t like using a lot of makeup in the first place, so the less products I have to apply to my face the better. Out of these five my absolute favorite for everyday wear is MAC Studio Fix, because it offers buildable, flexible formula that looks like second skin. For looking good in photos it’s a tie between Estee Lauder Double Wear and UD All-Nighter, they really give the skin that perfect, airbrushed finish without looking flat and dull.
Do you wear matte full coverage foundation or do you prefer dewy finish? What’s your favorite foundation right now? Let me know in the comments below!