This week’s fab or flub pits two makeup giants against each other via the matte foundations they claim can put an end to even the oiliest of faces.
In one corner is Nars Cosmetics’ Sheer Matte foundation. In the other, Make Up For Ever’s Mat Velvet + foundation. On paper, both foundations are very similar. Available at Sephora, both claim to keep oil away while producing a fresh, flawless complexion. They offer multiple shades and promise daylong lasting power.
About the only variance is the price: Nars’ foundation comes in at a hefty $45, compared with Make Up For Ever’s cool $36. Other than that, the abundance of similarities meant there would be no favorite going into this competition.
In terms of product packaging, the Nars and Make Up For Ever foundations are completely different. Housed in a 1-ounce glass bottle, Nars Sheer Matte Foundation does not have a pump. Or should I say, it does have a pump, but you have to purchase it separately online. For those who forgo the pump purchase (like me), this means you have to be super careful when pouring out the foundation in order to avoid spills. Not terribly problematic, but it did seem an avoidable inconvenience.
Make Up For Ever’s Mat Velvet + doesn’t have a pump either, but with its product design, it doesn’t need it. The 1.01-ounce plastic bottle is squeezable and features a pointed tip that dispenses just the right amount of foundation each time you use it. I’d rate its packaging as the better of the two.
Formula-wise, the foundations stack up pretty evenly. Both are lightweight and both gave my face a very fresh, natural look (or as natural a look as you can get when wearing makeup). The Nars foundation applies sheer, but is buildable for those who want fuller coverage. Make Up For Ever’s, on the other hand, gives full coverage with just the tiniest amount of its formula.
Other things worth noting: Neither had a funky fragrance and both did a great job of evening out my skin tone.
Fab or flub?
After putting both foundations to the test for several weeks, I’m happy to report that there were no flubs. There was, however, a clear winner (fab) and a sort-of loser (flab).
As the first foundation I tried, the Nars Sheer Matte started out great. Not only did it give me a glowing finish, but I liked that it was lightweight and had a natural-looking appearance. Unfortunately, after a couple weeks of use, it seemed clear that it wasn’t really a matte foundation. As with other products, I was left with shiny T-zone that had to be touched up with blotting sheets more than once a day.
Not one to waste foundation (especially one that is $45), I continued using the foundation until I was entirely out. Because I hadn’t bought the pump, as time went on, getting the foundation out of the bottle became a problem. Eventually I got to the point where I had to leave the foundation turned upside-down and let gravity do its work. Memo to Nars: Add a pump free of charge.
While the results with the Nars foundation were lacking, what I got with Make Up For Ever’s Mat Velvet + foundation made up for it. A true mattifying formula, it kept the oil at bay all day. In fact, I didn’t need to use my blotting sheets as I’ve regularly done with other foundations.
Mattifying abilities aside, I was very pleased with the natural look the foundation provided and with its staying power throughout a long work day. So if you’re in the market for a matte foundation, I highly recommend this one.