12 Best Matte Foundations for Faking Smooth Skin

Fight shine and grease with these long-lasting formulas.


As someone with super oily skin, matte foundation always wins. As much as I like the healthy-looking glow of more dewy formulas, my chin and T-Zone look slick and shiny by noon if I attempt to wear them. I prefer not having to blot or pile on face powder every hour. With the right matte foundation, I don't need much touch-up. Makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, who has worked with Ashley Graham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, would like to add that with matte foundations, how you prep your skin beforehand is everything.


"If you're oily and using a matte foundation, use a gel moisturizer. If you're dry and using a matte foundation use a richer, creamy moisturizer," she says. Exfoliation is also key for creating a base: "Make sure not to leave any dry skin texture visible. Use a peel pad or physical exfoliator, or a flannel and cleansing balm is sometimes enough."


As far as application goes, Hughes recommends putting foundation first on the T-Zone then spreading it outwards as opposed to going from the outside in. "Applying matte foundation in the contours of the face, where we've got natural hollows and shadows, loses all the dimension in your face. You can build to canceling out those shadows but start in the T-Zone for sure," Hughes explains.


Her favorite matte formulas have "satiny velvetness that doesn't look dry and powdery." Seek out something that doesn't immediately cement to your skin and instead can glide (versus puling from dryness). Another tip? "Apply it with a small brush. I think it gives you the control. I think using a Beautyblender with a matte foundation is always good because it's going to make it not look as flat."


Now that you've got all the pro tips, keep scrolling for matte foundations that will make your skin look completely flawless. 

Like the product name suggests, your skin will look airbrushed with just a few pumps of this skin-perfecting foundation for those center stage moments in your life. It's sweat-proof, humidity-proof, and transfer resistant so you won't need to worry on it getting all over your clothes (or others') on a night out.
No caking. No fading mid-day. This matte foundation is built to last through your longest days (a full 24 hours, actually) and can cover up even the deepest of dark circles (with zero creasing). Whether you want spot coverage or a full face of foundation, this blends seamlessly with your skin.
I have never fallen as hard for a foundation as I have for this one. Its unique texture—solid, but creamy, full-coverage but skin-like and totally feather-light, is the best matte formula I've tried in years. It comes with a brush for buffing into your imperfections (for me, that's redness on my nose and cheeks and acne scars on my chin) and it makes them disappear with zero caking-on.
I went to Paris in the summer during a heatwave—temperatures hovered around 100 degrees for a week—and this foundation saved me from looking like a sweaty, sticky mess. It is medium to full coverage, so I just kept it in my purse to nix shine and redness on the spot. The last thing you want to do in heat is wear anything on your face, but I didn't even feel this powder one bit.
You can count on mega influencer Huda Kattan to come up with a foundation that is like a hard "reset" on your skin tone. Like spackle, (but way more comfortable), this truly full coverage foundation gets rid of any and all uneven color or texture on your skin without drying it out.

You already know about Rihanna's foundation—yes, it really is that good. Just think: If it can withstand Rih's performances under stage lights or the hot flashes of a red carpet, it can withstand anything life throws at you.
I'd be remiss to not mention the OG of matte foundations from Estée Lauder. There's a reason this cult-fave has had so much longevity. It not only stays put for up to 24 hours, sopping up any oil on your skin throughout the day, but also gives a soft-focus finish to your skin.
This classic drugstore is a favorite for those with acne (including yours truly) for its masterful way of covering up redness, spots, and scars from zits past. It's also more of a demi-matte finish, which reads more natural-looking than a more heavy-duty matte formula.
Perfect for travel, this vegan and waterproof formula is highly pigmented so a little goes a long way. The unique rectangular shape also allows for more precision and getting to those nooks on the face (like around the nose or corners of the eyes) so you don't miss a spot.
When all else fails, I always come back to this stick foundation. It is matte, with just the right hint of dewiness. It goes on silky-smooth and blends like a dream. I always wear it for big event nights, and when I look back at photos look like I'm glowing (not greasy!).
For the laziest among us (*raises hand*), this do-it-all foundation will be your saving grace. Who has time to prep, conceal, apply, and set? Get it all done at once with this sunscreen-foundation that feels like moisturizer but gives full coverage.
Few beauty brands have as much pro cred as MAC, and this stick foundation is no exception. Get a few shades lighter and deeper than your own to have them double as concealers and contour sticks.