NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation: “I tried NARS’ new oil-absorbing foundation on my very oily skin. Here’s what happened”

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Known for its iconic foundations, NARS has launched Soft Matte Complete Foundation, a new mattifying foundation. Here’s what happened when senior beauty writer Hanna Ibraheem gave it a go.

From its iconic Sheer Glow foundation, which Australian beauty retailer Mecca declared the bestselling foundation of 2019, to its incredibly popular Radiant Creamy Concealer, NARS Cosmetics knows how to do base products.

It makes sense – François Nars, the brand’s founder and creative director, believes that a good base is the most important part to any beauty routine. Speaking to, he says: “Complexion is key. Think of it as the canvas for your make-up. I believe your skin mirrors your lifestyle. Eating well, drinking water, and exercising are as important for your skin as cleansing, exfoliating, hydrating, and moisturising.

“But of course, a good foundation can make a big difference and can give you an impeccable canvas to create beautiful make-up, even when your skin may not be at its best.”

It’s no surprise then, that NARS has extended its foundation portfolio with a new addition: Soft Matte Complete Foundation, £28.


A big sister to NARS’ cult Soft Matte Complete Concealer, the new foundation is a matte formula that aims to give skin full coverage while still looking natural. It has been carefully formulated to avoid oxidisation (a natural occurrence in with oxygen in the air can darken your foundation). As for ingredients, it contains clever additions that will actually benefit your skin, including micro-algae and bio hyaluronic acid to keep it hydrated and oil absorbing powders to keep your skin matte and shine-free.

Available in 34 shades spanning a range of skin tones and undertones, this foundation also contains antioxidants to help protect skin against pollutants, free radicals and blue light damage – all of which usually contribute towards a shinier face.

While I’ve been dabbling in lighter formulas while staying at home (tinted moisturiser has become a particular love of mine), I have always been a matte foundation girl, thanks to a very oily nose, forehead, cheeks and eyelids, and so I had to give it a try.

Matte is a perfect finish for someone who is looking for a foundation with long-wearing benefits and excellent coverage,” explains Nars. “While it is a great finish for all skin types, people who have an oily or combination-to-oily complexion will definitely benefit from it. Regardless of your skin type, a matte finish will create an impeccable appearance.”

Hanna with no-makeup (left) and wearing only the NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation (right).

I opted for the Soft Matte in the shade Syracuse, which has been created for medium to medium-dark skin with golden undertones.

Matte foundations are typically associated with heavier formulas, so I was surprised when a fairly runny formula dispensed from the NARS tube. One little squeeze left me with a minuscule puddle on the back of my hand.

Hanna wearing a full face of make-up.

I picked up the foundation with a beauty sponge but left like it was absorbing some of the formula, so I picked up a densely-packed foundation brush instead. This allowed me to really buff the foundation onto my skin.

I was actually amazed when the hyperpigmentation left behind by bouts of maskne disappeared with one simple brush stroke.

Once it was applied, my skin looked smoother, healthier and evened out but yet, it still looked like my skin. As the day went on, I got compliments on Slack and Zoom calls and was pleased to see the formula held true to its no-oxidisation promise. It also felt very comfortable to wear and forgot I was wearing foundation altogether.

My usually-oily skin maintained a fairly matte appearance throughout the day. Some oil on my nose did poke through around five hours into wearing it but a quick smattering of face powder swept any shine away.

A lightweight, matte foundation that keeps shine at bay and stays put? Genius.

NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation, £28, comes in 34 shades and is available now.

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Main image: Hanna/NARS Cosmetics

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