10 Sept 2012

MAC Face & Body Foundation

MAC Face & Body Foundation:
A huge 120ml bottle!

MAC Face & Body is that standard, simple, unfussy, workhorse foundation that I love and have been using and quietly recommending to anyone who will listen for years now.  It's not an exciting foundation that I rave about.  But it's the foundation that I recommend for most brides.  It's the foundation I'll usually use for photography work.  It's the foundation that most makeup artists (that I know) use on a reasonably regular basis.  It's the foundation that I recommend for most skin types.  It's the single most used (and useful) piece of my kit.  It provides consistently good results, every time, unfailingly.

MAC have actually just released a collection actually called "Face & Body" which features this foundation, among other products...  More on that after the jump.

This foundation is available (as far as I know) only in MAC Pro stores, although some MAC concessions will also carry it (eg Brown Thomas does stock it).  The point behind this foundation is that it is usable on both face and body, hence the name.  On the body, it dries-down once set and doesn't budge or rub off on clothes.  It's particularly great if, for example, a bride has some patchiness due to irregular pigmentation or fake tan on arms.  It's one of the foundations I absolutely always categorically will have, in all shades, in my kit.


This deserves a category of its own.   It's massive!  The "usual size" is 120ml, which is a whopper of a size.  Most foundations are less than half of this amount.  This means it's going to last forever and ever. So you need to safeguard this by keeping it in the fridge (more on prolonging the life of your foundation here and below!)


This is a very unusual foundation.  You will get anything from very sheer up to medium coverage, and depending on how you finish it, you can even push it to a "light-full-cover" or "heavy-medium-cover".

For example, I will use a damp sponge or a dual fibre brush to get a sheer coverage.  Or I will use fingers, or a dry sponge, or a foundation brush (see here for recommendations) to achieve a light coverage.

This is highly build-able, but allow it to dry and set for a minute in between applications.  It layers really really well with no difficulties whatsoever to get you to a medium coverage.

Finally, if I want a more full coverage finish, when my final layer (second or third) has set, I'll buff some MAC Mineralize Skinfinish over the top, with some MAC Studio Finish concealer (see here for more information on MAC concealers) to cover any problem areas.

Et voilĂ , four coverage options from one foundation.  I don't know any other foundation that can do this on its own, without addition of moisturiser to thin it out, say.

Finally, this foundation is also lovely as a "final step" foundation - so if you have a lady who prefers a lot more coverage, you can always use (and I do) something like MAC Studio Sculpt foundation (which is a satin (ie semi-matte) finish foundation), followed by a thin layer of MAC Face & Body to give that luminosity together with something that will be long-lasting and more full coverage.


The finish on this is luminous, natural and categorically very dewy.  Of course it can be powdered down to make it more matte, but you will need to take this into consideration;  oilier skinned ladies may need to powder a lot more (and/or a lot more frequently) if you want to avoid shine.  In general though it gives a nice natural sheen to the skin. 


Although this is water-based, it is a water-resistant foundation once it has set.  It's unlikely that it will survive a dunk in a swimming pool, but it should withstand perspiration, tears and rain with no difficulties whatsoever.

It is a standard enough foundation in terms of last-ability... on me, around about the four-to-five hour mark, I will have to powder it, around the six-to-seven hour mark, it will start to fade a little (depending on how much touching-up you've done during the day of course).  It tends to fade reasonably evenly however and I've yet to find a skin that this goes patchy on.

It doesn't feel heavy on your face, but it is a dewy finish, and on some oilier skins it can feel slightly tacky.  I don't really recommend it for any skin types past combination skin.


MAC essentially divides their Face & Body shades into cool (C) and warm (N) undertones (see here for more information on how to select a foundation tone and type).  Without getting into a discussion about what is "cool" and what is "warm", remember it this way:
  • Face & Body Cool (C) tones are yellow-based
  • Face & Body Warm (N) tones are pink-based

There are thirteen shades available overall, divided into seven C shades (C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7) and six N shades (N1, N2, N3, N5, N7, N9) and a further three shades only available in stand-alone Pro stores (White, C9 and N12).

Best Applied With

This is an easy one!  Whatever you like.  I find that it really can be applied with anything - fingers, flat brushes, buffer brushes, dual fibre brushes, sponges (either damp or dry)... really it's down to the type of coverage you like to achieve.

One caveat;  I find, as it's such a sheer, liquid foundation, that it's a good idea either to finish your face (before you powder down) with downward strokes of your flat foundation brush, or very light circular motions of your dual fibre brush, or (my recommendation) by pressing the palms of your hands all over your face... this helps the foundation to mesh with your skin a little better and gets rid of any brush strokes or raised hairs that can be more evident with more liquid formula foundations.


As mentioned, this is a water-based foundation.  It's very sheer, very liquid.  Make sure you give it a  quick shake before using it.  You'll find that over time, it will thicken up slightly, and oxidise slightly. So, keep it in the fridge, as mentioned before!

OxidationOxidation occurs in most foundations after a period of time, when oxygen in the air mixes with some of the ingredients in the foundation, and causes it to darken up slightly.  This can happen on your skin (with older foundations in particular) or in the bottle of a foundation that's opened and closed a lot for example.

Best Suited To

This is a dewy finish foundation and the only caveat I have is that it is not suited to all skin types - this just won't work on oilier skins; in time it will slip and it will look shiny.  On the other hand for sensitive, dry, normal, combination skin it's fine.  And for both younger and more mature skins, it's fine.

Skincare, Flashback, SPF, Price

I have yet to find anyone that reacts badly to this foundation, but anything is possible!

This has no SPF, doesn't flash back in flash photography, making it a wonderful choice for brides and for photography shoots.

The price point for this size foundation is around €36 in MAC/Brown Thomas, which is brilliant value as it's such a huge amount.

MAC Face & Body Foundation:
The smaller 50ml
MAC have released a smaller size foundation (50ml) in the recent Face & Body collection (this link is likely to function only as long as this collection is live) - this is around €31 which in my opinion is more than a bit daft (on the other hand, as far as I know, the plan is for non-Pro stores/concessions to carry this size).  My recommendation is to buy the bigger one for a fiver more (assuming you can), and buy a small bottle to decant into every couple of weeks for your daily use.  Boots, Muji, and a bunch of other places do small bottles you can use for this purpose (note that other than the size, the formulation, bottle and shades are exactly the same as the larger size).


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