Foundation Review: Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation

soft matte complete, caracas, swatches, comparisons

This post is not sponsored. All opinions on the product are my own.

The Nars Soft Matte Complete foundation is the newest release from the brand that compliments the concealer of the same name. Nars is one of my favorite brands and I was super excited to see this. From the foundation to the concealer to the blushes, they don’t miss for me. It’s a lot of info in this post so let’s get right to it.


nars soft matte complete foundation, Caracas
Image source: sephora.com
nars soft matte complete foundation
Image source: sephora.com

Name: Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation

Cost: $40

Size: 1.5 oz/45 mL

Best Skin types to use it (per the packaging): Normal, combination, and oily

Finish: Matte

Number of shades: 34 (fair, light, medium, medium-dark, dark, deep, very deep)

Undertones available: 10 (yellow, pink, neutral, golden, peach, subtle peach, rich peach, olive, rich olive, red)

Fragrance: No

Shelf life: 24 months

Packaging: Outer packaging is a non-excessive cardboard box. Foundation comes in a clear, squeezable plastic bottle with a soft matte (okay branding!) black twist-off top.

Claims (per the packaging): Full, natural-looking coverage, true color oxidation-resistant, transfer-proof, shine-proof

First five ingredients: Water/aqua/eau, dimethicone, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, trimethylsiloxysilicate, glycerin. Check full ingredients list on the packaging as well as the brand’s website to determine potential allergens.

Where to purchase: Nars.com and Sephora.com


Shade selection

I watched a few reviews and saw most people were saying that the shades seemed to be a bit lighter in this formula compare to the other Nars foundations so I went into Sephora to compare. I normally choose the shade Macao but it’s too dark for me right now thanks to quarantine. Since we’re still not able to swatch for ourselves, the rep put drops of the foundation shades on a clear palette and laid it over my arm.

Nars soft matte complete, swatchesNars soft matte complete, swatches

They are all described to be medium-dark to dark but in this formula Caracas has peach undertone, Belem has red, and Macao has olive. To me, Belem was too red & Macao still looked too dark (and a bit yellow) so I went with Caracas.

Existing Foundation Shade Comparisons

Here is what the Nars Soft Matte Complete foundation looks like compared to others in my collection. Keep in mind that the inside of my arm is much lighter compared to my face so everything on my arm will probably look too dark in the photo.

foundation shade comparisons, deep skin, nars soft matte, caracas
From top to bottom: Cover FX Power Play in N90, Milk Makeup Flex Foundation stick in Maple, Nyx Born to Glow in Mahogany, Dior Backstage Face & Body in 5N, Nars Radiant Longwear in Macao, Nars Soft Matte in Caracas, Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation in 430 Cedar

My Thoughts

The squeezable packaging to be okay. It allows for me to control just how much I’m squeezing out. The foundation consistency isn’t as thin as Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish but it’s not as thick as Nars’ Radiant Longwear.

The Soft Matte Complete foundation is best applied with a damp sponge. It dries down pretty fast so I found it best to work in smaller sections. Upon first application it blends right into my skin without accentuating the texture along my jawline and the foundation looks very smooth on my skin. Nice.

I didn’t apply much concealer under my eyes since the foundation did a pretty good job in that area. The foundation doesn’t really need to be set but I chose a lightweight powder just for good measure.


Wear test

In the pic below I applied the foundation around 7:20am and washed it off when I got home around 6:00pm. I used the Milk Hydro Grip primer, Sephora Micro Smooth pressed foundation powder, and the Morphe Continuous Mist setting spray.

soft matte complete foundation, caracas
Eyeshadow: Melt Cosmetics Rust palette. Lipstick: Maybelline Superstay in Mocha Inventor w/PML Gloss in Faux Real.

You can see the difference in how it looked when I first applied it and how it looked after a few hours. My t-zone gets oily and you can see in the 2nd picture how the foundation held up around my nose. It started around the 3 hour mark and stayed like that until I washed it off.

nars, soft matte complete foundation, caracas
The sun decided to shine brighter and wash me out a bit. 

All in all, I love the coverage and finish and it’s been in my foundation rotation since I purchased it. While it didn’t control my oil as well as I’d like, it still wore well throughout the day. If you’re looking to purchase this foundation my advice is to watch as many reviews as you can for shade comparisons if you can’t get into the store to see for yourself. I initially thought I was going to get Macao but ended up with a completely different shade than expected.

Let me know if you purchased it and how you like it. Stay tuned to see more reviews and swatches for other foundations. Check out my foundation reviews here and here.

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