Matte vs. Dewy Finish - Foundation Guide

From dewy-looking makeup to natural matte foundation, discover my guide to foundation finishes and find your favorite.

The magical world of foundation brings different ingredients, formulas and levels of coverage to explore, and today we’re talking finishes! From glowing, dewy-looking finish makeup to demi and natural matte finishes, there’s a foundation for everyone from Charlotte’s magical makeup collection. Discover them below for flawless-looking face makeup for every occasion!

Natural Matte Foundation

A natural matte finish foundation gives a seamless, matte look that still appears natural on the skin. Perfect for every day or a red-carpet-ready makeup look, wear a natural matte foundation to cover imperfections and blemishes; the full coverage foundation formula will leave you with a gorgeous, flawless-looking complexion!

Choose Charlotte’s Airbrush Flawless Foundation for a natural matte finish that still looks and feels fresh on the skin. Airbrush Flawless Foundation is where makeup magic meets skincare science; the full coverage, natural matte formula contains Charlotte’s magic matrix of ingredients including REPLEXIUM® to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 22%* , and MossCellTec™ No. 1 for boosted skin hydration levels by 216%*!

Top tip: Amp up your flawless and use this natural matte foundation with Charlotte’s Magic Vanish color correctors and Airbrush Flawless Finish setting powder to magically conceal the appearance of redness, acne, hyperpigmentation and more!

*tested on 30 men and women

Natural Matte Foundation model image with airbrush flawless foundation

Natural-Looking Finish Foundation

A natural-looking finish foundation sits in-between dewy, glowy foundation and natural matte. If you’d like a satin, demi-mate, skin-like finish that provides natural-looking coverage and a hint of glow, choose a demi-matte foundation.

Charlotte’s Beautiful Skin Foundation is the perfect foundation for a flawless-looking complexion with a demi-matte finish and natural, healthy looking glow! With a buildable, medium coverage and long-lasting formula, you’ll LOVE Charlotte's Beautiful Skin Foundation for every occasion. It flawlessly conceals the look of blemishes and an uneven complexion, while still allowing your skin’s gorgeous natural radiance shine through in the satin, natural looking finish!

Top tip: apply with Charlotte’s Magic Complexion Brush, starting from the centre of the face and blending outwards for a beautiful look!

Beautiful Skin Foundation 11 Warm model shot

Sheer Finish Illuminator

Glow lovers prefer a complexion with a luminous finish that helps the face to look naturally radiant. Charlotte created her legendary Hollywood Flawless Filter as an illuminating beauty elixir that gives skin the most magical luminous finish that looks like a real-life beauty filter! She was inspired by the flattering flash of Hollywood lights and the perfecting properties of retouch filters to create a radiant beauty elixir with a light-coverage, silky-smooth, skin-like finish, bottling the Hollywood glow that celebrities and stars can’t get enough of.

Hollywood Flawless Filter model shot

Charlotte Tilbury Foundation FAQs

What is the most popular Charlotte Tilbury foundation?

All of Charlotte’s foundations are expertly formulated with kind-to-skin ingredients, combining the powers of colour and science to create your dream complexion. Charlotte has created gorgeous light, medium and full-coverage foundation options, so that everyone, everywhere can find their favourite!

Charlotte's Foundations still life

The most recent formula to join Charlotte’s complexion collection, Charlotte’s Beautiful Skin Foundation, has become popular with celebrities and stars, being worn on red carpets and runways around the world. The medium-buildable formula is perfect for giving skin a healthy-looking glow while drenching it with the goodness of skincare powerhouses like hydrating hyaluronic acid and brightening-effect golden vitamin C, delivering instant complexion perfection while helping to improve the look of skin with every wear.

Airbrush Flawless Foundation is astoundingly popular with makeup lovers that adore a full-coverage makeup look. The formula smooths effortlessly onto the face, delivering full, flawless-looking coverage that feels weightless while hydrating the skin and providing long-term, skincare benefits that reduce the look of wrinkles. Charlotte’s full-coverage foundation is beloved for its instant beautification, helping to create an even-looking canvas that looks airbrushed and flawless!

For glow lovers, Hollywood Flawless Filter is a must-have makeup step! This iconic glow booster is a social media sensation, helping everyone, everywhere to get their Hollywood glow on! Enriched with moisturising, radiance-boosting ingredients that unlock the gorgeous, red-carpet glow of your dreams, this light-coverage formula smooths onto the skin to give your complexion the most flattering, luminous finish that mirrors the effects of social media filters and Hollywood lights!

In Charlotte’s foundation wardrobe, there’s a formula with the finish and coverage you love in your perfect shade!

What is the Difference between Charlotte Tilbury Magic and Flawless Foundation?

Charlotte’s Magic Foundation and Airbrush Flawless Foundation are both beautiful foundation options, but they have some key differences that should help you decide on the perfect finish for your skin type.

Airbrush Flawless Foundation still life

The world fell in love with Charlotte’s original Magic Foundation, with beauty lovers everywhere becoming obsessed with its medium-buildable coverage and flattering, demi-matte finish. Magic Foundation is now ONLY available if you’re signed up to Charlotte’s Loyalty Programme in her Magic Members Shop - log in or sign up here to shop, darling!

Then, Charlotte created her Airbrush Flawless Foundation as her first full-coverage foundation option that makes skin look and feel poreless and flawless! It’s expertly designed to feel weightless on the skin while providing instant full coverage with a natural-looking matte finish, giving skin an airbrushed effect that stays all day.

Charlotte’s Magic Foundation is perfect for anyone that prefers a medium-buildable foundation formula that they can slowly build up to perfect the look of their complexion, whereas Airbrush Flawless Foundation is a perfect choice for those that want a full-coverage look that lasts. As for finish, Charlotte’s Magic Foundation is described as a demi-matte finish that sits between matte and dewy, whereas Airbrush Flawless Foundation is a natural-matte finish that’s matte-not-flat and looks like skin. Whichever you choose, your complexion will look gorgeous!

Is Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation worth it?

Darlings, you need to try the magic that is Airbrush Flawless Foundation for yourself! Charlotte created her full-coverage, natural-matte foundation as an INSTANT AIRBRUSH FIX, giving the face full coverage in a flash to create a perfect canvas for the rest of your makeup.

Fifi Airbrush Flawless Foundation model shot

The formula is a beautiful blend of colour and science, delivering full, flawless-looking coverage that hydrates, smooths and blurs the look of skin, while applying with a weightless feel for a comfortable, long-wearing finish. It’s also expertly formulated with powerful skincare ingredients that provide the skin benefits of a potent serum, with REPLEXIUM™ forming 2% of the foundation to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 22% in 8 weeks!*

With its high-performance wear, porcelain-like finish and powerful skincare benefits, Airbrush Flawless Foundation has cemented itself as a must-have foundation for beauty lovers around the world!

Is Hollywood Flawless Filter worth it?

Hollywood Flawless Filter is the original glow booster, darlings! Charlotte invented the glow category with this iconic formula, bottling the skin-perfecting properties of social media filters and red-carpet lights to give everyone, everywhere her ultimate Hollywood glow secret!

Hollywood Flawless Filter still life

Formulated as a multi-use illuminator, Hollywood Flawless Filter can be used 3 ways: it’s a gorgeous glow primer to apply before foundation, it can be mixed with foundation to add luminosity to your favourite formula, or it can be used as a radiant liquid highlighter.

Giving the skin a Hollywood glow like no other, Hollywood Flawless Filter is a radiance-boosting blend of smoothing airbrush polymers, finely milled powders, glossy oil and brightening porcelain flower extract. It moisturises while smoothing and blurring the look of skin, generating a flawless-looking, red carpet-worthy glow that’s known and loved in Hollywood and around the world! Darlings, Hollywood Flawless Filter is an essential step in any glow lover’s makeup routine! Want to try Charlotte’s globally loved glow booster? Select your free sample card at checkout and you’ll immediately become obsessed!

What foundation goes best with Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter?

Hollywood Flawless Filter wears beautifully with all of Charlotte’s foundations! Whether it’s applied before foundation as a luminous primer, after foundation as a glowing liquid highlighter, or even mixed with your favourite foundation, Charlotte’s iconic glow booster is universally loved!

Sofia Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter model shot

Charlotte recommends pairing Hollywood Flawless Filter with Airbrush Flawless Foundation, her airbrush-effect foundation for flawless, poreless-looking skin. She loves to pair the full-coverage, long-wearing properties of her Airbrush Flawless Foundation with the gorgeous luminosity of Hollywood Flawless Filter to give the natural-matte formula her signature Tilbury glow! This skin-perfecting combination is the secret to airbrushed, flawless-looking skin with a head-turning Hollywood glow!

More Foundation FAQs

Unisex Healthy Glow model shot

Foundation vs Tinted Moisturizer: What’s the Difference?

Tinted moisturizers are light-coverage options that give skin a natural-looking finish with a tint of complexion-lifting colour. Usually, tinted moisturizers have a dewy-looking glow, combining the hydrating, nourishing feel of a moisturizer and the complexion-perfecting pigment of a foundation. These lightweight formulas have less coverage than a foundation and are more suited for minimal and barely there makeup looks. You can use a tinted moisturizer like Unisex Healthy Glow to give skin a sun-kissed, lifted look, or mix your favourite foundation with Charlotte’s Magic Cream to create your own custom tinted moisturizer.

Is Tinted Moisturizer Enough Coverage?

Wearing a tinted moisturizer will create a light-coverage makeup look that appears natural and glowy. Tinted moisturizers have lighter coverage than a foundation, so if you are looking for a medium to full-coverage look, reach for a foundation like Charlotte’s Beautiful Skin Foundation instead. If you would like to wear a tinted moisturizer but are looking for greater coverage in specific areas like under the eyes and on top of blemishes, you can use a concealer to add extra coverage without reaching for a foundation. Once you’ve applied Unisex Healthy Glow to create a light, glowy base, dot Charlotte’s Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer onto any areas where you want to conceal and correct.

Do You Wear Tinted Moisturizer on top of Moisturizer?

When applying tinted moisturizer, it’s important to prep your skin in the same way that you would when applying foundation. First, apply a moisturizer like Charlotte’s Magic Cream or Charlotte’s Magic Water Cream to create a smoother-looking, hydrated canvas for your tinted moisturizer to blend into, then apply Invisible UV Flawless Primer to prime the face while providing important broad-spectrum SPF50 sun protection. After moisturizing and priming the skin, your skin is ready for a smooth, lightweight application of tinted moisturizer.

BB Cream vs CC Cream vs Tinted Moisturizer

There are many alternatives to foundation that can help to perfect the look of skin, but what is the difference between a BB cream, a CC cream and a tinted moisturizer?


What is Tinted Moisturizer?

A tinted moisturizer is the mid-point between your moisturizer and your foundation. Tinted moisturizers offer light, natural-looking coverage while helping to hydrate your complexion and creating a flattering glow.

Finish: Moisturized complexion with a sheer glow.

When to reach for a tinted moisturizer:

On ‘no makeup’ makeup days

On holiday and during hot weather


What is BB Cream?

Also known as beauty balms or blemish balms, BB creams are light-coverage options with slightly higher coverage than a tinted moisturizer. BB Creams are generally formulated with hydrating ingredients and have a radiant finish, making them favourites with dry skin types and makeup minimalists.

Finish: Hydrated complexion with natural-looking radiance.

When to reach for a BB cream:

To cover blemishes

Light-coverage, minimal makeup looks

When skin feels dry and dehydrated


What is CC Cream?

CC creams – or color-correcting creams – are designed to help even the appearance of skin tone. Generally, CC creams have a lighter texture than a BB cream and may help to reduce the appearance of facial redness and hyperpigmentation.

Finish: Even complexion with a skin-like finish.

When to reach for a CC cream:

When skin looks red or discolored

When skin looks tired or dull

Do BB Creams, CC Creams and Tinted Moisturisers Look More Natural Than Foundation?

You can create natural-looking makeup using a foundation, darlings, but BB cream, CC cream and tinted moisturiser can often look more natural and undetectable on the skin. These foundation alternatives are formulated to be lighter than foundation and so can appear less noticeable on the skin. They also have lower coverage than foundations, allowing freckles and blemishes to peek through for a more natural appearance. If you want to create a higher-coverage look that still looks natural and flattering, reach for one of my skincare-infused foundations to create a flawless-looking canvas that still looks like skin.

Charlotte’s Best Foundation for Large Pores

If you experience larger-looking pores and are trying to reduce their appearance with the foundation you wear, Charlotte recommends using a full-coverage formula like Airbrush Flawless Foundation. Larger pores can have a harder time gelling with glowy complexion products; Charlotte recommends using a matte formula with smoothing, pore-blurring effects that help pores to appear less prominent. Also, having larger pores can make you prone to excess oil production, so using a long-wearing, stay-all-day formula is the best choice for long-lasting coverage.

Flawless Poreless Skin Secrets packshot for blog

Airbrush Flawless Foundation is resistant to humidity and sweat, applying evenly to reduce the appearance of pores and creating an airbrushed-looking canvas that wears beautifully throughout the day. Once you’ve applied this full-coverage foundation, pores look instantly blurred and the complexion looks airbrushed and flawless!

Airbrush Flawless Finish is the perfect partner for your Airbrush Flawless Foundation. Formulated with smoothing, pore-blurring ingredients, Charlotte’s award-winning pressed powder helps to set foundation and concealer in place while perfecting the look of skin. Tap this beautifying powder onto porous areas such as the T-zone, cheeks and around the nose to disguise the appearance of pores and unlock long-lasting, flawless-looking complexion perfection!