Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Foundation

I was never really into liquid foundation. Despite the great coverage of liquid foundation, I was paranoid it would clog up my skin so I used mineral powder foundation which was meant to be better for the teenage explosions on my face. However, now that the golden days of puberty are long behind – I’ve started to experiment with foundations a bit more….

I’ve spent a lot of time getting acquainted with a variety of types – I found cream-to-powder too heavy, stick foundations too thick and mousse foundations too drying. Mineral powder foundation was a lovely middle ground, but only helped with coverage and coverage is only one of many many cosmetic concerns.

For those of you with normal/combination oily skin, you may have met our pal, MR SHINE. He starts on your nose, then works his shiny way around your t-zone and will always turn up uninvited in any photos of you taken with the flash on. Thanks Mr Shine.

To be fair, there are a whoooole load of products out there that address this but a lot of them are either a) terrible or b) really bloody terrible. I’ve been through mousse foundations, primers, mattify this, oil free that and, honestly, nothing has come close to the anti-shine effect of this foundation.

Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Foundation: £21.50

Is it good?

I’m going to make a statement – it’s mattifying power is phenomenal!! I walk to work every day – (well, when it’s not raining and when I’m not late) – okay so I walk to work sometimes, but WHEN I DO, my face often ends up resembling the coming of Noah’s flood. Same for whenever I get the Northern or Central Line during rush hour. Gross.

However, I put this foundation on and boom – sweat and shine be gone! It’s a mattifying foundation but I really think they should call it “tinted anti-perspirant for your face” which probably shows why I’m in finance, not marketing..

The finer details

The finish is certainly not as matte as mousse or powder foundations, but I actually prefer it because it’s the right side of dewy to look nicely natural. Shine-purists out there may want to quickly dust a light coat of powder on top.

Colour wise, there’s a wide range of shades out there which most Clinique counter girls are absolutely BUSTING to apply across your cheeks in stripes next to each other. Seriously, I looked like some sort of bizarre foundation zebra but it is a great way to pick the best shade for your skin.

The picture below proves why you should never pick a foundation based on the back of your hand! Always try the foundation on your face and not directly under those florescent lights they use to light up the make-up aisle.

I understand though that trying foundation on your face is not always possible. To be honest – battling a group of teenagers for a spot at the tiny mirror in the Boots makeup aisles can be rather trying on your self esteem – especially when they refer to “the Year 11 Prom” whilst trying the same lipstick as you.

FACE VALUE TOP TIP.  Bring a sample of your existing foundation/concealer on a piece of card – and then try the testers next to them. Obviously fold the card before you put it in your bag.

Final Thoughts?

For those of you prone to an outbreak, fear not, it’s oil free and non-comodegenic which is just the posh way of saying it doesn’t block your pores.

As you can see, post-foundation there’s been a big improvement in texture, but it’s still dewy enough to look quite natural. 

The coverage is perfect for daily use, but it’s not industrial enough to cover all beauty sins – extra concealer needs to be used for big blemishes.

But for me, this product is not about the finish or the coverage – it’s about the shine prevention!

This is definitely a great foundation for those who are prone to the shine monster, and for those who (like me) just can’t stop walking so bloody fast…


Zoe Bayliss Wong
Zoe Bayliss Wong

Zoe is a Forbes ’30 under 30′ finance pro, style writer, presenter and panellist, working for a fashion startup and trying to live that best life in the most IRL way possible.

Find me on: Twitter


  1. Hollie H
    December 23, 2012 / 10:41 pm

    LOVE Clinique foundation…I use Clinique 'anti-blemish solutions' range as I have really oily skin. Not as great for shine free skin (I use a Clinique powder alongside it) but really good if you're prone to a break out. I recommend applying it with a 'Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman' Stippling Brush for even coverage. Thanks for the foundation colour testing tip zoe – never thought of that!xxxx

  2. Zoe W
    December 23, 2012 / 11:32 pm

    Hollie, you found my site before it even launched – congrats for being my first EVER comment!Completely agree with the brush – I just got the Real Techniques expert face brush which is great for buffing the foundation into your skin!xXXXx

  3. TSOH
    January 20, 2013 / 7:00 pm

    Would you say it was worth the £21.50?

    • Zoe Dubs
      January 20, 2013 / 7:18 pm

      Oh yes! I've had it since Sept and still not finished. I understand it's difficult to part with that amount of cash on a review alone so head to the counter and ask to try it! I bought it after trying it in a magxXx

  4. Selene Galindo
    January 31, 2013 / 7:19 pm

    Great post! I was looking for a new foundation to try! I'm also a new follower of your blog :)Selene from

  5. Weiqian Gao
    April 14, 2013 / 7:25 pm

    I would definetely try this out! What shade you are using of this foundation

    • Zoe Dubs
      April 21, 2013 / 9:33 pm

      hiiii – it's 'Vanilla' But if you go to the counter they will pick the right colour for your skin tone 🙂 x

    • Weiqian Gao
      April 22, 2013 / 6:18 pm


  6. Karla Varinia
    May 15, 2013 / 10:04 pm

    Hi Zoe! I really loved your review! I'm getting married in August, and I'm doing my own makeup. The thing is that I have super oily skin and I usually use the Clinique Redness Solutions because of my rosacea but is so oily so I wanted to try something more matte for my wedding. I wanted to know if you think that Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup is a good foundation for that special day. I hope you can help me! Thanks a lot in advance and congrats on your amazing blog! (:

    • Zoe Dubs
      May 16, 2013 / 7:31 am

      Hey Karla – thanks for your lovely comments! I recommend that you pop to your nearest Clinique counter and request a sample! They're happy to try it out on you.If you don't like the foundation, maybe try a mattifyin primer under your normal foundation and then press powder over the top! Have a wonderful day x

  7. hafsa shak
    October 9, 2013 / 7:51 am

    Hey zoe! I loved the review it was really helpful. I m ordering this product online cuz we dont hav it in our area sadly 🙁 but i m v.confused abt wats the right shade for me my skin tone is exactly like urz plz tell me the shade n number ure using it ll solve a big problem of mine! I read its vanila but vanila seems to b too dark help! Thanks xoxo reply soon.

    • Zoe Dubs
      October 9, 2013 / 6:36 pm

      Hiya Hafsa, glad you liked the review! The shade is Vanilla but it is sliiiightly too dark for my skin normally – I bought this in the summer so it's my summer foundation :)It's very hard to match foundation to your skintone based on pictures but if you cant try it on and it ends up too dark for you, you can try lightening it with a bit of pressed powder (in a lighter colour) on top. xXXXx

  8. Anonymous
    November 18, 2013 / 11:27 am

    I love Clinique foundations, as a makeup artist I can say that they really work well in several skin types! Unfortunatly some products get discontinuated (I really can't understand…) but thanks to online shopping (thanks Ebay!) I've found some good deals. Lately I've bought from this seller

  9. Charlotte Searles
    January 3, 2014 / 12:09 am

    I seriously need to check this out, I struggle to find any foundation to stya put on my t-zone after a few hours as i get so oily 🙁 it's on my wishlist now!

  10. Clare Davies
    January 12, 2014 / 5:01 pm

    ooh this looks fab! i struggle to find something to help keep MR shine at bay! this seems like the perfect thing! will be keeping an eye for this on my next shopping trip! 🙂 x

  11. Kellyta
    January 13, 2014 / 3:39 pm

    This fundation looks great. I don´t have any clinique fundation. A months ago I tried a Clinique Body Bronzer and my body was too orange :O hahahMy best frien use one mosturazing cream of clinique and she love it.sorry for my englis, I´m from Spain. Kisses!

  12. Xandra
    January 19, 2014 / 12:01 pm

    i have combination to oily skin so i would love to try it one day…it looks great ^^!

  13. michiro_michi2000
    January 19, 2014 / 3:53 pm

    I never did try a Clinique product,I guess now I have to try it it looks really good and natural too!Love it!

  14. Zsuzsa Vámosi
    January 26, 2014 / 4:09 pm

    Your "after" picture is amazing :))

  15. Endless Summer
    January 29, 2014 / 7:12 pm

    Wow! It makes such a difference! I'm currently on the lookout for a good matte foundation, so I may give it a try.

  16. Svetlana L
    January 31, 2014 / 6:07 pm

    Thanks for this review cause my skin is combination/oily so for me it's a problem to find that "miracle" product which would allows me to feel nice for quiet long period of time… I think i should buy this one… Besides i have high opinion about Clinique products…. Those ones i've tried were really very good . Thanks

    • Zoe Dubs
      February 1, 2014 / 8:18 pm

      Glad you liked it! Definitely try it 🙂

  17. Ria Alemina Ginting Manik
    February 1, 2014 / 12:30 am

    Oh yeah yeah yeah, Clinique just as great and good as my expectation and after i read your review, i'm positively will buy this one. Had some problem with finding good foundation for my face >.<

    • Zoe Dubs
      February 1, 2014 / 8:20 pm

      Glad it helped cement your decision Ria – happy shopping! x

  18. Ha Tran
    March 3, 2014 / 11:28 pm

    Your skin looks moist and natural in the 'before' picture