The 11 Best Matte Foundations For A Smooth, Shine-Free Finish

Although some people are using these stay-at-home days to give their skin a break from foundation, others are using this time at home as an excuse to test new base makeup. If you’re wondering what people are loving in the matte foundation category, lucky for you, there’s quite 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.”

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation

This liquid foundation is an anti-shine person’s dream. The Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation comes in 56 shades and creates an even skin tone if you’re trying to cover up blemishes. Keep in mind, it’s full coverage, so if that’s not your jam, you can use it as a spot cover-up because it’s also great for that.

$42 (Shop Now)

NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation

The NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation is a great pick if you want a matte finish but sheerer coverage. “This hydrating formula has a way of just appearing like real skin, just better,” says Tommy. I believe that the hydrating hyaluronic acid in its formula explains why. Just one drop is enough to cover your entire face with whatever application tool your heart desires.  

$40 (Shop Now)  

UOMA Beauty Say What?! Foundation

Yes, UOMA Beauty’s Say What?! Foundation is matte, but it’s spiked with hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated throughout the day. Its creamy texture is a medium-coverage finish in 51 shades — no wonder it has received a Best of Beauty Award.

$39 (Shop Now)

NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation

The NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation is oil-free, so have no fear of it clogging your pores. Its hydrating, water-based formula is packed inside a squeezy tube, making it a mess-free dream and allowing you to get every last drop of it.  

$8 (Shop Now)

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation

The L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation is a great pick because it’s affordable, and the coverage is incredible. Apply a pea-sized amount to your forehead, cheeks, and chin, and buff it out with your favorite sponge, brush, or even your fingers. You’ll have a smooth, even base in no time.   

$13 (Shop Now)

Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Fluid Foundation Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen

“The Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Fluid Foundation is a great splurge because it gives you an even base with its luxurious texture,” says makeup artist Nam Vo. The luxe liquid is infused with SPF 20 and illuminates skin while keeping it shine-free in all the right places.   

$130 (Shop Now

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation

If you have oily skin, this one’s for you. The Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation provides a soft, velvety finish for an ultra-smooth base. It also has oil-absorbing powders in it to keep you completely matte for a full day of Zoom meetings.  

$38 (Shop Now)

CoverGirl Full Spectrum Matte Ambition All Day Foundation

The CoverGirl Full Spectrum Matte Ambition All Day Foundation is the perfect base to wear under your mask. It’s comfortable, soft on the skin, and it’s so full coverage you may want to even skip concealer. Plus, it won’t leave foundation marks on your mask.  

$12 (Shop Now)  

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

When Rihanna dropped the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation it paved a way for beauty brands to become more shade inclusive. It also has an insanely good formula that’s never cakey and doesn’t let any shine come through. Tommy suggests applying this formula in dots around the face a blending it out with your favorite foundation brush.

$35 (Shop Now)

HUDA Beauty #FauxFilter Full Coverage Matte Foundation

The HUDA Beauty #FauxFilter Full Coverage Matte Foundation is commerce writer Angela Trakoshis’s favorite foundation ever. “With just one pump, this thick foundation does exactly what its name reads: creates a filter for your face,” she says. It’s matte, it’s lightweight, and those dark spots you want to conceal? They disappear with just one layer of this stuff.  

$40 (Shop Now)  

Clinique Stay Matte Oil-Free Foundation 

The Clinique Stay Matte Foundation is an oil-free formula that keeps your skin looking crease-free all day long. It’s also buildable, so layer it up with your favorite beauty sponge for a more full-coverage effect.  

$31 (Shop Now

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The Best Face Scrubs Under $20

I feel as though physical exfoliation is one of the most satisfying skin-care practices because of the instant gratification it can provide (hello, immediately refreshed skin). Not only does exfoliation feel amazing and leave skin instantly more luminous; a good face scrub paves the way for the serums and moisturizers to follow, according to board-certified dermatologist Jeannette Graf.

“Exfoliating can help skin-care products penetrate 20 percent better,” she tells Allure. But here’s a word to the wise: As with most things, there is such thing as too much of a good thing in the case of scrubbing your face. You can avoid over-exfoliation by capping your scrub sessions to a maximum of three times per week.

Whether you need something that’s extra gentle for sensitive skin or want a scrub with a little extra oomph for perpetually clogged pores, I’ve got you — and your wallet — covered. Happy scrubbing, folks.

Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub

It’s not ideal to use a face scrub every day, according to dermatologists — so if you’re going to kick up your exfoliation, use the most gentle scrub possible to prevent damage to your skin barrier. The daily scrub from Cetaphil is packed with pH-balancing glycerin, so it hydrates while it sloughs away dead skin cells.

$10 (Shop Now)

Bioderma Sebium Exfoliating Gel

If you’re prone to acne, dullness, and hyperpigmentation, here’s a prime pick for you. The itty-bitty granules in Bioderma’s Exfoliating Gel physically exfoliate until they burst with salicylic and glycolic acid, which chemically exfoliate away impurities. With this formula, you’re getting twice the exfoliation in one product.

$15 (Shop Now)

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefuit Exfoliating Scrub

Dermatologists love the Best of Beauty-winning Pink Grapefruit Facial Cleanser from Neutrogena, and the scrub version is full of all the same clarifying ingredients, plus tiny microbeads that give an added boost of physical exfoliation.

$11 (Shop Now)

No7 Radiant Results Revitalising Daily Face Polish

No7’s Daily Face Polish contains ginseng root, which, all by itself, comes with a multitude of skin benefits. According to dermatologists, ginseng contains all sorts of antioxidants and vitamins that prevent fine lines, acne, and even hyperpigmentation.

$9 (Shop Now)

Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub

You can always count on an Aveeno product to be gentle on even the most sensitive skin types, and its Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub is no exception. With antioxidant soy extract, gylcerin, and jojoba oil, this scrub exfoliates just as much as it soothes and nourishes.

$12 (Shop Now)

Bliss Micro Magic

Just like the treatments available at Bliss Spa locations, the Micro Magic scrub will leave you feeling totally refreshed. It’s basically a gentle, at-home version of a microdermabrasion that sloughs away dirt and oil with volcanic pumice while its aloe vera soothes and de-puffs.

$13 (Shop Now)

La Roche-Posay Ultra-Fine Scrub

If sensitive skin plus physical exfoliation sounds like a recipe for disaster, let the Ultra-Fine Scrub by La Roche-Posay change your mind. Super-fine pumice particles — suspended in a cooling gel formula — provide just the right amount of grit without feeling scratchy. Plus, this stuff leaves skin with a quenched suppleness you might expect from a water-based gel moisturizer.

$18 (Shop Now)

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Scrub Nourish & Soften

This L’Oréal Paris sugar scrub is everything a sugar scrub should be — but better. The Pure-Sugar Scrub is infused with not one but three different types of sugar, suspended in a creamy mixture of coconut oil and cocoa butter. The skin-softening formula isn’t overly abrasive, yet it leaves skin visibly glowing after one use. As you probably guessed by the ingredients, the formula smells like baking batter — but just like real batter, you definitely shouldn’t eat it. That said, it does doubles as an excellent lip scrub if you’re compelled to use it near your mouth.

$10 (Shop Now)

Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub

Oily-skinned folks, listen up. The creamy white exfoliator from Simple contains rice powder to absorb excess oil, and the gentle silica particles — a replacement for microbeads — work to manually slough off dead skin, leaving you positively glowing.

$8 (Shop Now)

Yes To Coconut Energizing Coffee 2-in-1 Scrub & Cleanser Stick

In case you prefer toting your cleansers around in stick form, consider this portable scrub by Yes to Coconut, which makes exfoliating way easier than ever. Not to mention, Yes To’s coconut and coffee combo smells amazing.

$10 (Shop Now)

Olay Micropolishing Cleansing Infusions Facial Cleanser with Crushed Ginger

This micro-polish cleanser from Olay reminds me of formulas that are five times its price. The tiny granules feel pleasantly sandy and break down into a creamy consistency as you cleanse, leaving skin visibly glowy post-rinse. Plus, the formula has a zingy scent that smells like summer and happy days, thanks to crushed ginger and citrus.

$10 (Shop Now)

St. Ives Energizing Coconut & Coffee Scrub

Fun fact: This concoction from St. Ives was born after the brand asked fans which scrub they’d like to see next on shelves. This enlivening coffee and coconut combo won. Fans of the (albeit, controversial) Apricot Scrub will love how this provides the same level of super-deep exfoliation (thanks to an infusion of crushed walnut) with the added benefits of skin-softening coconut and circulation-promoting coffee.

$5 (Shop Now)

Yes To Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub

Citrus scents in the shower are a pick-me-up as much as they are a wake-me-up. The grapefruit extract in Yes To’s citrusy scrub is naturally high in vitamin C (so it boosts collagen production and helps reduce hyperpigmentation), as well as lycopene, which naturally aids in protecting skin from UV damage.

$7 (Shop Now)

Bioré Charcoal Pore Minimizer

The beaker-like nozzle of Bioré’s Charcoal Pore Minimizer makes you feel like you’re in chemistry class every time you use this black scrub. The charcoal powder pulls out oil and pollutants like a magnet, and it all rinses away with the gel.

$10 (Shop Now)

Mario Badescu Kiwi Face Scrub

The super-creamy formula, which features kiwi seeds and alpha-hydroxy acids (which you can read more about here), leaves your skin smoother than ever — and yet it’s astonishingly nonabrasive. The pearlescent mint-green color is so stunning!

$15 (Shop Now)

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The Best Winter Moisturizers for Every Skin Type

Best Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin: Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer

“Less moisture in the air causes skin dryness,” says Dr. Nussbaum. “If your skin’s natural moisture barrier isn’t properly hydrated, it’s not as equipped to fight off acne-causing bacteria.” If you deal with constant blemishes, look for an oil-free, water-based lotion or gel that will moisture skin without clogging pores. This Boscia gel offers a soothing formula, rich with calming tea tree extract that will minimize breakout-induced redness.

Buy at Sephora $50

Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin: Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer SPF 15

If your skin leans on the sensitive side, Dr. Nussbaum recommends avoiding moisturizers with “irritants such as fragrances, dyes, lanolin, parabens and formaldehyde.” This drugstore staple checks off all the boxes. Aveeno’s moisturizer is light, fast-absorbing, and is formulated with skin-calming botanicals. Bonus: It also serves as a second layer of SPF protection. 

Buy at ULTA $19

Best Moisturizer for Hyperpigmentation: Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++

Whether your uneven skin tone is the result of a bad breakout or caused by sun damage, a vitamin C-infused moisturizer will help brighten dark spots while simultaneously hydrating skin. But don’t forget the sunscreen. “Moisturizers containing SPF will reduce the oxidative damage of the sun,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. That’s exactly what this Murad tube is made to do.

Buy on their website $65

Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream

Fun fact: Hyaluronic acid is an all-star moisturizing ingredient, because it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. That’s what makes Neutrogena’s gel-based, HA-packed moisturizer ideal for oily skin types. Instead of a heavy cream, this lightweight water-based product pulls in moisture without clogging already congested pores.

Buy at Walmart $14

Best Moisturizer for Combination Skin: The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

The Gemini of skin types, finding the right moisturizer for combination skin can be tough because it has to jive with both oilyness and dryness. That’s where The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors comes in. The lightweight, non-greasy cream includes dermal lipids to protect the outer skin layer, hyaluronic acid to draw in moisture, and amino acids to hydrate. It’ll moisturize the right areas of the face without making oily spots shinier.

Buy at Sephora $6

Best Moisturizer for Aging Skin: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer

Important PSA: The sun can still cause oxidative damage in the winter, which can lead to photoaging. That said, Dr. Nussbaum suggests looking for a moisturizer that’s packed with antioxidants to counteract the harmful effects of UV/UVA rays. What else should an anti-aging moisturizer include? Retinol, along with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and moisture-sealing ceramides. “Certain moisturizers will contain a form of retinol that increases skin cell turnover,” she says. “The shedding of the dead skin cell layers also enables increased absorption of moisturizers.”  Look no futher than this Dr. Dennis Gross jar, which is formulated with both retinol and ferulic acid, a powerful antioxdant.

Buy at Sephora $99

Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin: Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream

“Ceramides are lipids that help form the skin’s natural moisture barrier,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. “In dry, cold weather, your skin’s ability to naturally produce ceramides may be compromised, leading to dry, dull skin.” If your skin is extremely dry year-round, go with a ceramide-rich moisturizer for winter, like Dr. Jart+’s cult-favorite cream. The lipids will strengthen the skin barrier so less moisture gets out.

Buy at Sephora $63

Best Moisturizer for All Skin Types: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Face Moisturizer 

If your skin doesn’t fall into one particular category, Dr. Nussbaum is a fan of Olay’s Sculpting Cream because it’s a rich, nourishing cream that works well for balanced skin, but also targets dryness and aging. “It contains niacinamide (vitamin B3), a hard-working ingredient which regenerates surface cells and strengthens skin’s natural moisture barrier,” she says. “It also contains amino-peptides, known to boost collagen production and improve skin’s elasticity, smoothness and firmness as well as hyaluronic acid & glycerin.”

Buy at Walmart $23

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8 Moisturizers That Won’t Piss Off Even Super Sensitive Skin

It’s a tale as old as time for anyone with sensitive skin: One of your favorite brands has come out with a new moisturizer. The ingredient list? Intriguing and full of potential benefits for your skin. The packaging? Ridiculously cute and would look great alongside the products in your medicine cabinet. So, you add it to your cart.

For sensitive skin, finding staple products for your routine that are effective, fun to use, and non-irritating can feel like an impossible feat — especially since sensitivity manifests itself in a few different ways and there are multiple causes of it.

Dr. Morgan Rabach, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of LM Medical in New York City, says “skin that reacts strongly to most stimui, including environmental and temperature, products, skin with a decreased barrier function, and allergic skin (like ezcema which also has a decreased barrier function),” can all be categorized as sensitive skin.

To top it off, not all skincare products are created equal. But figuring out what type of sensitive skin you have is the first step to finding a moisturizer that won’t result in instant irritation such as redness, burning, itching, which can be followed by peeling or a breakout.

“Look for a moisturizer with few ingredients and with active ones including ceramides, which help seal the outer layers of skin, and hyaluronic acid,” says Dr. Rabach.

She also recommends avoiding formulas with fragrance, preservatives, and dyes, which are all common triggers for sensitive skin. Isopropyl alcohol, exfoliants like AHA acids, retinol, and added sunscreens (especially chemical ones) can also cause irritation.

With so many potentially irritating ingredients to look out for, finding a moisturizer that isn’t going to piss off sensitive skin can feel like a full-time job.

Here are 8 super hydrating moisturizers that are gentle enough for sensitive, reactive skin.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Ultra-Gentle Facial Moisturizer

This wildly affordable, gentle moisturizer is safe for reactive skin, and anyone who prefers a lotion over a cream. With zero fragrance, oil, and alcohol in the formula, there’s no need to stress over potential irritation or greasy residue.

Buy on Amazon $10

Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Centella Cica-Cream

Don’t underestimate this little tube, it packs a serious dose of moisture. In addition to leaving the surface of the skin soft and smooth, Kiehl’s hypoallergenic, fragrance, and alcohol-free moisturizer repairs the skin barrier to prevent future dryness and helps reduce visible redness and fine lines.

Buy at Nordstrom $44

Obagi Hydrate Facial Moisturizer

With an allergy-tested formula, Obagi’s Hydrate Facial Moisturizer is even less likely to cause irritation. Powered by hydromanil, a super nourishing plant-based ingredient, this moisturizer retains hydration while simultaneously improving the appearance of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.

Buy at Dermstore $52

Shani Darden Weightless Oil-Free Moisturizer

For oily, acne-prone skin that also leans on the sensitive side, opt for a lightweight oil-free moisturizer that won’t further clog your pores or leave a greasy film on your face. Shani Darden’s fragrance-free, oil-free moisturizer has a silky serum-like texture that quickly absorbs into skin with a shine-free finish.

Buy at Sephora $48

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer

While retinol is commonly touted as *the* holy grail of anti-aging ingredients, the skin-renewing ingredient can be too harsh for reactive skin, and those with conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. That’s where peptides, the hero ingredient of Drunk Elephant’s rich moisturizer, enter the picture. Peptides are the building blocks of proteins, such as collagen and keratin, which help keep skin firm and smooth. Plant-derived antioxidants and nutrients round out the formula to improve skin texture and tone.

Buy at Sephora $68

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Don’t want to spend a ton of money on a moisturizer that won’t set off your sensitive skin? Look no further than CeraVe’s tried-and-true cream, available at any drugstore. Formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid and skin barrier-strengthening ceramides, it seals in moisture, which is key for preventing reactions and flareups of skin conditions such as eczema. No wonder this moisturizer has earned the National Eczema association’s seal of approval.

Buy on Amazon $19

EltaMD Intense Moisturizer

Most heavy-duty moisturizers are thick, rich creams that never fully absorb into skin — meet the exception. Known the “melting moisturizer,” this EltaMD formula soaks into skin and maintains hydration for up to 12 hours, plus it relieves redness and irritation. Consider it a foolproof pick for sensitive skin types that also suffer from excessive dryness.

Buy on Amazon $13

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer

On top of hydrating skin with a mix of nourishing and soothing colloidal oatmeal, avocado oil, and shea butter, this lightweight moisturizer leaves skin smooth like a primer, which makes it ideal for wearing under makeup.

Buy at Sephora $26

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