Going to the matte


For what seems like forever, women have been chasing a youthful glow with satin-finish creams, illuminating powders and moisturizing misters. Matte seemed like a dirty word for powders that could settle into and, possibly, accentuate wrinkles.

So what’s to be done now when fall’s new beauty buzz words are “matte finish”?

For answers, we first turned to makeup artist Francois Nars, creative director of NARS Cosmetics, whose fall collection focuses on matte textures and who created the matte beauty look on the Marc Jacobs fall runway.

“A hyper-saturated, matte look feels modern, not trendy,” he says. “I’ve always thought there was something incredibly sophisticated about a matte finish.”


Addressing that age-old, powder-settling-in-the-wrinkles question, he says, “A matte finish should be incorporated whenever you want a little more coverage. ... My rule of thumb is always to consider lightness ... and a ‘less is more’ approach.”

Makeup artist Pat McGrath, who describes the trend as “velvet brilliance,” created the look at 14 fall shows, including Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino, where the beauty inspiration was Vermeer’s youthful portrait, “The Girl With a Pearl Earring.” She sums up the process this way: “Skin is highlighted, then lightly powdered to give a radiant, ethereal, matte finish.”

This year there have been several new matte makeup launches. As creative advisor to Dolce & Gabbana’s beauty line, McGrath was integral to the launch of the brand’s Perfect Matte Concealer and Foundation in February. The latest matte product to join the Dolce & Gabbana stable is the Matte Nail Coat top lacquer that instantly transforms any nail color to a velvety matte finish.

Lipstick Queen debuts Velvet Rope lipsticks this month in five rich, matte colors, inspired by ‘40s-era Hollywood stars. MAC’s new Retro Matte collection of eight lipsticks and eight lip pencils launches Sept. 12. And Dior recently unveiled its Diorskin Airflash Matte Touch, a finishing mist in a universally flattering shade that sets makeup with a shine-free finish. In other words, that cakey powder problem has just been solved.