The 11 Best Matte Foundations of 2021

Although some people are using these stay-at-home days to give their skin a break from foundation, at Allure, we’re using this time at home as an excuse to test new base makeup. If you’re wondering what we’re loving in the matte foundation category, lucky for you, we have a range of picks to share. These oil-free base products are often assumed to be drying or face-flattening, but that’s not always the case — especially if you pick the right matte foundation formula. 

According to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, it’s the silica powder in the oil-free formulas in matte foundations that makes them dry down with zero shine or dew. “Silica powder helps to absorb oil and is often used in foundation ingredient lists to give a matte appearance,” she says. “Some brands also use clay as a way to keep skin looking matte.”

Knowing that, matte foundations may be the way to go because many of them are also transfer-proof, meaning the product won’t smudge onto your mask. Plenty of non-dewy base products deliver a flawless finish, stave off shine all day, and disguise blemishes

New York City-based makeup artist Tommy loves to use a matte base on anyone with oily or acne-prone skin. “I always pull for a matte foundation when working on a client that wants to cover any blemishes,” he says. “I’ll apply small amounts at a time to the face to ensure nothing dries down before I blend it out with a large kabuki brush. If I need more — I add as I go.”

Here, we narrowed down what we believe are the best matte foundations. Every price and every skin tone is covered in this guide. We have $8 drugstore picks, like Nyx and CoverGirl, and $130 splurges (we’re looking at you, Clé de Peau Beauté) — we’ve got you, and your complexion, covered.  

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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