It's been almost five years since Too Faced launched its bestselling Born This Way Natural Finish Foundation, a medium-to-full coverage foundation that promised to do everything you want a foundation to do but without looking visibly makeup-y. Since then, the brand has launched a complementary concealer, tapped Jackie Aina to help extend the shade range, created a powder version, and all to great acclaim. Now, Too Faced is expanding the range further with the introduction of the Too Faced Born This Way Matte Foundation, which launched on its website today.
There are a lot of similarities between the Born This Way Matte version and the original. The formula offers the same medium-to-full coverage, contains the same key ingredients (coconut water, alpine rose, and hyaluronic acid), and remains oil-free. The Matte Foundation still comes in 35 shades and features the exact same names, so if you're Hazelnut in the original formula, you're probably still going to be Hazelnut in the matte one.
The difference between the two is down to the finish and the wear time. Whereas the original Born This Way Foundation offers a "natural," ever-so-slightly luminous finish that mimics the texture of natural skin, Born This Way Matte is well, like the name suggests: matte. It's not a heavy-duty or dusty-looking, though. I have combination skin, and the formula is great at mattifying the oily bits along the centre of my face, without making the dry areas look even drier (although, I can imagine if you have very dry skin, this formula is not going to provide the moisture or luminosity you need).
Left photo: Me without makeup. Right photo: Me wearing Too Faced Born This Way Matte Foundation.
I wouldn't call the formula velvety, either (a common beauty editor word often used to describe matte base products). It's even softer than velvet, perhaps like the marble of an ancient Greek statue — soft, smooth, dimensional, but it's not reflecting light in a strong way. Don't get me wrong: it's definitely still matte — it doesn't make your skin look dewy or radiant in the least — but your skin still looks like skin, just a lot less shiny.
After trying it (I'm shade Nude), I'd have to guess that the Matte Foundation's supremely natural looking matte finish comes down to the texture of the liquid. It's the silkiest, lightest matte foundation I've tried. It blends very, very easily, and you can layer it from medium to full opacity without it starting to look like cake batter. I prefer to use my Beautyblender to apply all of my foundations and especially with this formula but tried applying it with a brush. The result? Full coverage instantaneously.
As for longevity, the brand promises 24-hour with the Born This Way Matte Foundation, which I was not willing to put to the test (nor do I think anyone should really be wearing foundation for that long). That being said, I'm pretty impressed with how long this formula lasts for how lightweight it feels.
For the past week, I've applied this around 7 a.m. and have been surprised to see how fresh my skin looked at around 3 p.m. during the workday — and that's without topping it off with any setting powder (I do like to set it with a spritz of the new Huda Beauty Glow Coco Hydrating Mist, $35, though). Because my skin errs on the oily side, it does a really good job of breaking up foundation around midday. Granted, I'm working from home and haven't put this to the real test — going on the tube, being in a packed pub, running around London for meetings — but I'm quite confident it would stand up to those things, especially if I layered a bit of powder on top.
This formula also plays nicely with other makeup. I find that with some matte foundations, it's hard to layer certain products over it without them getting streaky or splotchy. But with Born This Way Matte, I could seamlessly apply cream or powder blush on top. All in all, while I'm not usually a matte foundation wearer — I prefer formulas with a natural or slightly dewy finish — this is actually one I can get behind.