A Makeup Expert’s Review of Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation

Nars knows a thing or two about creating gorgeous foundations. I’m a huge fan of both its Natural Radiant Longwear and Sheer Glow Foundations because of the beautiful, dewy finish and buildable, medium-to-full coverage formula. But in early September 2020, the brand decided to switch it up a little bit with the release of its Soft Matte Complete Foundation

Unlike my two favorites from the brand, this foundation has a natural matte finish that looks like skin (but better) and comes in a squeezable tube, rather than a bottle with a pump. It promised enough coverage to hide my scars and any other discoloration, so I was very excited to test out the new formula.

I started off by prepping my skin with the Exa Jump Start Smoothing Primer and followed up with the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion in Dark to give myself a glow from within. I squirted a little bit of the foundation on my forehead, cheeks, and chin before blending it out with a foundation brush. Immediately, I was smitten with how beautiful the satin finish was — it gave me the perfect base for the rest of my full-face beat. 

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I typically avoid super matte formulas, so this finish was everything I wanted and more. It gave me the most flawless, even skin I’ve seen. Figuring out my shade was not too difficult since they are fairly consistent across the brand’s foundations, though some shades can run a tad lighter.  I use New Caledonia (which isn’t a perfect match for my neutral brown skin but the best option for me), which worked just as well for me in the soft matte version. 

Though I won’t be abandoning my dewy formulations anytime soon, Nars showed me how much much I missed the airbrush look of matte foundations. 

And according to markup artist Ashunta Sherriff, there are some benefits to choosing the velvety formula. “Matte foundation is great because it helps to maintain a flawless finish and control oil during wear,” she explains. “It also covers skin imperfections a lot better than a nude formulation.”  Sherriff says nude formulations are usually “lightweight, light- to medium-coverage” foundations that give “a skin-like finish.” Who doesn’t want that?

When applying these formulas, Sheriff says she prefers using a flat vegan foundation brush.(EcoTools Flat Foundation Makeup brush is a great option.) She likes to focus on the areas that typically need more coverage. “I begin in the inside of the face by cheeks and eyes and then begin to paint out toward the outside of the face,” says Sherriff. “Usually most of our imperfections we want to minimize are undereye circles, rosacea on cheeks, and blemishes on chin or forehead, so starting this way helps to cover the areas needing help most.”

For $40, you can get your hands on velvety, airbrush skin with the Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation at sephora.com

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