Reviewing Nars Soft Matte Foundation

Many who wear makeup have raved about Nars Soft Matte Foundation, a luxury product with devoted users of all ages. This soft matte foundation is a staple in the Nars Cosmetics line. It combines the best in dewy and matte, having enough oil-fighting ingredients to keep skin matte and enough hydrating elements to add a healthy glow.

Matte formulas often provide a long-wearing effect. The questions you need to ask — and we hope we can help you answer — are: Does Nars Soft Matte strike the right balance and color payoff? Is the price in your range? Is Nars Soft Matte Foundation the perfect formula for you? 

Nars Cosmetics: History of the Brand 

Francois Nars began his eponymous brand in 1994 with only 12 lipsticks, which are known as The Original Lipsticks. Travel-themed shades like Trans Siberian, Jungle Red, Shanghai Express, and Casablanca inspired wearers to be bold in their makeup choices.

As the world-renowned makeup artist and photographer once said, “Play and try to be a little bit daring — break the rules.” 

Nars’ line soon expanded to include color cosmetics such as blushes, foundations, and powders. The legendary cult classic, Orgasm, a pinky-peach with golden flecks, is the most popular blush in the line’s history, still attracting new customers since its debut in 1999. This celeb-approved blush is considered one of the universal blush shades on the market because it works with a multitude of hues and complexions.

Nars quickly became a cosmetics powerhouse and a go-to choice for celebrity makeup artists and women who desired haute couture, fashion-forward, and high-quality makeup. The line later added eye makeup, glosses, highlighters, liquid blush, and faux lashes.

 Nars is now one of the largest beauty brands in luxury cosmetics, with millions of loyal customers worldwide.

Nars lipsticks
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Nars Soft Matte Foundation and Skin Types 

The website states that Nars Soft Matte Foundation is suitable for all skin types. Its matte formula effectively reduces the oiliness and shine of those with oily, combination, or acne-prone skin. Nars Soft Matte Foundation features oil-absorbing powders to inhibit sebum production and mattify skin. 

Normal skin also benefits from a foundation with enough hydrating ingredients to prevent settling into fine lines. Bi-hyaluronic acid leaves the skin moisturized and comfortable while maintaining a transfer-proof matte finish. 

Oily Skin and Matte Formulas Are Besties 

Oilier skin will appreciate a matte foundation’s coverage and mattifying ability regardless of the brand. Almost any matte foundation includes ingredients that limit oil production and greasy breakthrough that turn foundations into uncomfortable oil slicks. This is why oily and combination/t-zone wearers flock toward matte as their finish of choice.

Nars Soft Matte Foundation provides the matte finish that oily skin craves and a comfortable 16 hours of sebum-proof coverage. 

Nars Soft Matte Foundation in bottle
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Dry Skin and Matte Foundations Are Not Great Friends

Dry skin doesn’t benefit from a regular matte foundation as much because it does not produce much oil. Unless the user wears a great hydrating primer beneath a matte for a smoother canvas, it may limit the skin’s radiance.

At worst, matte foundations highlight fine lines or wrinkles by getting trapped in crevices and pores. Those with dry skin concerns such as flaking, wrinkles, or fine lines should look for a dewy finish or satin and matte products instead.

A great option would be Nars Sheer Glow Foundation. These foundations are more forgiving and include more hydrating ingredients. 

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation
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Problem Skin and Matte Foundation 

Problem skin — such as uneven tones, acne scars, or hyperpigmentation — will appreciate the Nars Soft Matte formula for its full coverage. Matte foundations usually offer the highest level of pigmentation of any other formula. They have an opaque, thicker quality that helps mask areas that need to be concealed and uneven skin tones. Full coverage, with the addition of dewiness, offers a lighter approach to matte without a cakey appearance. 

Nars Soft Matte Foundation: Is It Expensive? 

Nars Soft Matte Foundation is considered a luxury cosmetic item. It is sold in higher-end department stores and designer beauty stores such as Sephora, which tend to be more expensive choices than drugstore options such as Maybelline, Revlon, or Cover Girl.

The retail price of a tube of Nars Soft Matte is $40 for 1.5 ounces. This is on par with other luxury brands such as Fenty Beauty, Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder, and Laura Mercier. Comparatively, it is less pricey than La Mer, Giorgio Armani, or Cle De Peau. It may be feasible if your budget allows for an annual overhaul of foundation. We recommend you toss the old one after a year.

Nars Soft Matte Foundation: Is It Transfer-Proof? 

Nars Soft Matte Foundation states on its website that it’s a transfer-proof formula that should last at least 16 hours. 

Transfer-Proof can be defined as the ability of a cosmetic product to completely resist transferral from one surface to another,” it notes. A foundation that lasts without apparent changes to the texture of the product or melting off is a very desirable item for any makeup bag or makeup artist’s tool kit. 

Many celebs spend hours under the glaring bright lights and cameras, so makeup that needs fewer retouches is also a dream for film and modeling campaigns. However, regular people also have busy lifestyles that can have them going from work to the gym and then on to shopping. Their makeup often works overtime. They would also welcome 16 hours of wearability without the need for reapplication or spot touch-ups.  

Nars Soft Matte Foundation’s promise of long-lasting wear that won’t stain blouse collars, cell phone screens, or pillowcases is goal-worthy, but does it truly do what it claims? 

Nars Soft Matte Foundation shades
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Oil Absorbing Powders Help Reduce Excess Sebum  

Regarding oil control, matte makeup is the gold standard for reducing shine. Oily skin or combination skin is not only shinier but greasier. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sebum as “the fatty lubricant matter produced by sebaceous glands of the skin.”

Nars Soft Matte Foundation uses “superior oil-absorbing powders” to trap naturally occurring moisture on the skin inside the powder and wick it away from the surface. This allows the wearer to showcase their natural, even-toned, smooth skin. These oil-absorbing powders assist the foundation in staying on the skin for extended periods, such as Nars Soft Matte’s quoted 16 hours. 

Transfer-Proof and Makeup Setting Spray Use 

Most makeup wearers already use some form of makeup setting spray to maintain the just-put-on look of their color cosmetics. It prolongs wear when used and helps the foundation adhere to the skin. Nars Soft Matte Foundation’s natural transfer-proof quality will be more dependable when used with a makeup setting spray.

Several popular makeup setting sprays currently sold on the market include Urban Decay’s The All-Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray and MAC Prep+Prime Fix +Primer and Setting Spray.

Urban Decay's The All-Nighter sephora
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How to Best Remove a Transfer-Proof Makeup 

Transfer-proof and resistant makeup is sometimes quite stubborn to remove after a long day in the life of the wearer. When it is finally time to take off your beautiful smooth application of Nars Soft Matte Foundation, using a makeup remover product is recommended. 

These products tend to have oils that break apart the hold of cosmetics with little pulling or rubbing of the skin. They also do double duty for the sensitive areas around the eyes. Use a tissue, cotton ball, or your fingers to apply to the skin and a moist cloth to wipe away any excess product. 

There are many choices of makeup removers today, such as Clinique’s Take The Day Away or Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm. Nars also makes a makeup remover, Aqua-Infused Makeup Remover Cleansing Water.

Aqua-Infused Makeup Remover Cleansing Water.
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Does Nars Soft Matte Change Color or Shift While Wearing? 

Nars Soft Matte Foundation makes claims to be oxidation resistant. 

Oxidation is the chemical change of foundation shade from external factors that turn the product darker. The skin’s natural reaction to environmental factors causes color shifts and changes in skin pH levels, as well as most foundation ingredients. Before the wearer knows it, they no longer have on a matching shade but something with off-tones, muddy tones, or reddened. 

The effect of oxidation is highly undesirable and dreaded. It is embarrassing to the wearer and looks like someone made a mistake in color selection. As a luxury cosmetics brand with cutting-edge techniques and ingredients, Nars answered this specific need for foundations in its Soft Matte formula with exclusive anti-oxidation formula. 

Oxidation happens in any cosmetics brand, from the affordable to the more aspirational expensive brands. Nars’ unique formula keeps makeup pigments true from first application to removal. With the inclusion of this proprietary ingredient, Nars Soft Matte is less likely to change or shift shades while wearing it.

What Ingredients Prevent Oxidation?

If you use a product that does not decrease oil production or inhibit sebum secretion, your skin is more likely to experience changes that encourage foundation oxidation. To make non-matte foundations maintain a true color, adding a silicone-based primer to your routine is essential. Primers not only offer a way to soften any imperfections or lines on the skin but also reduce the look of pores for a smoother application. The buffer the primer creates between the skin’s surface and the foundation itself may alleviate any oxidation concerns. 

A few highly rated primers include Smashbox Photo Finish Smooth & Blur Oil-Free Foundation and Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. 

Smashbox Photo Finish Smooth & Blur Oil-Free Foundation
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Nars Soft Matte Doesn’t Cake

Some people shudder at the sound of the word “matte.” In general, it means a flat look or an opaque or fully covered appearance that doesn’t let in any light. Nars Soft Matte Foundation has pigments that make it full coverage without the caked-on/dried-out appearance that washes out the skin’s natural radiance. 

Adding bio-hyaluronic acid as a moisturizing element sets Nars matte foundation apart. Hyaluronic acid plumps skin and helps it draw moisture from the air as a humectant. In short, it doesn’t leave skin looking devoid of life and energy.

Matte doesn’t always have to mean “moisture-zapper,” as long as it is both oil-free and includes a hydrating ingredient. The balance of skin-loving ingredients and botanicals fulfills the desires of those who need more than another matte formula and one that offers a healthy skin look. 

Nars Soft Matte Foundation Pairs Well With a Regular Skincare Regimen

Nars Soft Matte Foundation has plenty of good skincare ingredients. These include a bio-hyaluronic and a microalgae complex. It is an added perk to using this foundation. It does not have harsh or harmful ingredients, such as phthalates, sulfates, or formaldehyde. Any product that replaces bad ingredients with healthier ones is probably a great cosmetic to add to the makeup bag. 

However, Nars Soft Matte Foundation is not a replacement for a skincare regimen. Before using this or any other foundation product, it is best to begin with a fully prepped face, cleansed and toned, and skin type-appropriate serum or moisturizer. It is always better not to place the foundation on unmoisturized skin since it is less effective on a less-than-smooth canvas. 

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation on arms
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Nars Soft Matte vs. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place 

When two top luxury skincare and color cosmetics brands are matched up side by side, comparisons are likely to occur. 

Estee Lauder’s contribution to the matte foundation space is Double Wear Stay-in-Place. This bottle of face foundation is sold in high-end department stores globally and on the Estee Lauder website. Estee Lauder color cosmetics and skincare tout a huge fan base of all demographics and have consistently been a top seller for nearly 80 years. 

Since both of these foundations are long-wear, they have some commonalities. However, they are also quite different products. 

Nars’ Soft Matte is geared toward normal to oily skin, while Estee Lauder’s formula is listed as being ideal for all skin types. Nars is a darling of the makeup artist crowd and luxury line aficionados, while Estee Lauder continues to attract all skill levels of makeup wearers — from young girls to elderly great-grandparents. Estee Lauder can still be found in small-town cosmetics counters, upscale department stores, and higher-priced retailers. Both matte foundations claim long-lasting wear for their customers. 

double wear
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Estee Lauder Stays Put for 24 Hours

If you need coverage that won’t budge for a complete revolution ’round the clock, Estee Lauder is a longer-wearing option than Nars Soft Matte. Estee Lauder boasts 24-hour wear without fading, creasing, or caking. Nars only offers 16 hours at best, which is a fair amount considering that part of this period is spent sleeping, and we have always been encouraged not to sleep in makeup. 

Nars will get the average wearer through a workday shift and after-hours cocktails, but Double Wear takes you to the following day and a wake-up cup of joe. 

Nars Soft Matte vs. Estee Lauder for Dry or Mature skin

Nars Soft Matte Foundation is not the best choice for regular use by someone with mature skin concerns. The extreme drying powders may take out more moisture than most mature skins would like to lose or highlight the absence of natural moisture in the skin. Nars Soft Matte may leave mature clients with a less than satisfied makeup application and overall experience. 

Estee Lauder Double Wear is a friendlier formula for mature and aging skin. It glides over the surface while remaining true to tone. It doesn’t settle into wrinkles and small lines but rather covers imperfections with a full coverage finish. 

Nars Soft Matte Foundation: Is It a Good Deal?

Compared to other foundations in the same luxury color cosmetics category, Nars Soft Matte Foundation is close in pricing to most competitors. It comes in at $40 for a 1.5 oz plastic bottle on the Nars website and A direct competitor, Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place, is on the pricier side for $48 at 1 oz for a frosted glass bottle.

Another similar matte finish color foundation is Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, which costs $38 for 1.08 oz.

When it comes to luxury and higher quality cosmetics, value isn’t always measured solely on cost alone. Nars Soft Matte is sold in a larger bottle than most foundations at the same or similar price point. That means the product may last slightly longer and provide more applications per bottle. 

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
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Nars Soft Matte Foundation is a luxury foundation in a fairly new soft matte category that reduces oil while showcasing a natural shine-free finish. It’s a go-to for professional makeup artists and celebs who want streak and oxidation-free, humidity-proof wear that lasts up to 16 hours.

It’s a decent value for the money and one of the most highly rated matte foundations on retail beauty websites. It comes in a full range of 34 shades. Despite being an oil-free formula, it offers some hydrating benefits.

For a full coverage matte foundation, Nars soft Matte Foundation is well worth a try.

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