3 May 2013

MAC's new Mineralize Moisture SPF15 Foundation

New kid on the (MAC) block:
Mineralize Moisture SPF15 Foundation

This post was a labour of... well, just a labour really.  I started out writing up this review the same way as I usually do for foundations - trying to cover all the bases (coverage, finish, lastability, cost, skintype, application method etc) and I realised that, while I would still be doing this, I needed to add a bit of a rant to the top of the post.  So here it is:


So Here’s the thing.  I wanted to love this foundation.  I first saw this new foundation in action back in December and have been eagerly awaiting its release.  What this foundation tries to do – in terms of finish – is everywhere at the moment; that glowy, radiant skin look is the biggest 2013 trend going.  Aside from the fact that healthy glowy skin looks gorgeous, and apart from the fact that it’s coming into the summer and this tends to be a seasonal trend, this is a particular ongoing trend at the moment.

What I found was that it’s a blasted bugger of a thing to apply correctly.  It needed quite a lot of investigation into what would and wouldn’t work.  And when I found what worked (in terms of application), it didn’t necessarily last (in terms of wearability).  But dear God it was hard work getting there, and involved a multitude of different application methods, different finishing methods, different priming methods over a seven day period, even down to doing things one way on one side of my face, and another on the other side, to compare!  It involved a ten-minute earlier start all week to try get to the bottom of it (I’m looking forward to that extra time in bed next week :-))

Bottom line: now that I know how to make it work, how to use it, how to get the best out of it, I’m fine with it – in fact I absolutely love it.   But it’s still not a foundation for when you’re in a hurry.  It’s a needy-baby-greedy-baby foundation, to paraphrase The Big Bang Theory.


Anyhow, read on if you want to see how in the name of £$%@^ you can make it work…


Coverage is light-to-medium.  This is slightly buildable - but only to a point, at which case you will look like you're just wearing a layer of this stuff on your face.  This doesn't produce a "flawless" look - it's not a heavy enough coverage - and you will need concealer with it (I recommend the MAC Mineralize concealer with this foundation).

Light to medium coverage

That said, however, it contains a huge proportion of optical diffusers, so although you do need to conceal, you don't need a heavy coverage concealer, as the optical diffusers do their job of blurring your imperfections out, if not covering them up.

Coverage caveat?  You need to find the balance; you can build it to a point, after which it just sits on your skin, no matter what you do.

MAC Mineralize Moisture SPF15 Foundation
(featuring a very tired looking me)
No brow product, no concealer, no powder.
Not a bad finish for just raw foundation - dewy and luminous.

The finish for this is a funny one - MAC calls it a satin finish but it is categorically not - it's a dewy finish, but a new type of dewy;  it has that very mineralised, slightly "almost shimmery" appearance without being greasy or oily looking.  It's a definite nod to the radiant looking, fresh-faced, healthy skin trend of this season as I mentioned before.  In fact, it's the perfect foundation for getting that result - I can see why it was used so much backstage for SS shows.  It's perfect for that - for a certain period of time, at least.  Finish caveat?  None.  But reference "Wear" below.


This is a mineralised product that works reasonably well with dryer skins, but I don't recommend it for oily skin types;  quite a lot of buffing and powdering was needed to set it.

Which brings me to my next point: yes, it categorically and most definitely needs powdering, especially if you have oily areas of your skin - it can sit on top and slip a bit.  And it will transfer everywhere if you don't, with little or no provocation.  However, if you use a mineral/mineralised powder (I use MAC Mineralized Skinfinish) to set it, you'll still see that gorgeous luminosity through the powder, which is an achievement in itself.  Because mineralised powders don't work particularly brilliantly as blot powders, you’ll need to re-powder a bit more frequently than you might otherwise be happy with.

Once applied correctly it looks like a gorgeous foundation.  So what's the caveat on Wear?  It is a reasonably "standard" wear foundation - about six hours' wear, at which point you're going to notice that it has annoyingly bunched on dry areas, and separated-out on oily areas, it goes from hero to absolute yuck in those six hours.  Unless you use a finishing spray.  In which case it lasted me about twelve hours.  See "Best Applied With" below for more information.

Shades & Undertones

18 shades in NC and NW undertones
Colour-wise this comes in eighteen shades (NC15 being the lightest and NW50 the darkest, with eleven of these as cool toned/NC).  I haven't found this to oxidise, so the colour you apply is the colour it stays on your skin.

NC20 on me - nice and dewy looking

I'm using an NC20 at the moment and while it's a tiny bit pale, the NC25 was too dark for me (the swatch above is on the back of my arm).

Best Applied With

First and foremost, this needs a really well moisturised skin underneath.  And a primer is an absolute must.  I can't stress this enough.  And a finishing spray, if you want it to last and keep looking well.  If you spend time working your moisturiser into your skin, and then spend time on your primer, and then spend time working the foundation into your skin, and then spend time finishing it (powder + setting spray) you will wind up with a gorgeous finish.  But do you really want to go to all that hassle for just a base?

As I said at the outset, application of this foundation is a weird one.  I spent some time trying out different methods.  I didn't find a sponge (either wet or dry) worked particularly well - neither did a flat/paddle foundation brush.  A dual fibre foundation brush was too lightweight to be much use.  A dense buffing brush was too dense.  Fingers didn't work great on their own, but as a mechanism for getting most of it on, sure.  The best result I personally found was using my Shu Uemura #18 brush:

A match made in foundation heaven...

This is not a foundation for when you're in a hurry.  It sits on the skin a bit, you need to really do some work with this, and it looks best when you buff it in - comprehensively but gently if that makes sense - and as I've found, with a fluffy (natural fibre) brush.  Which is likely why the sponge/paddle/dual fibre brushes didn't work - this foundation is not a friend of synthetic fibres.

The only thing that I found with this foundation... moisturise (very well) first.  Then apply a primer.  I found that silicone based primers were not necessary, just any good primer (I am currently using and loving NARS Pro Prime, Cosmetics à la Carte Skin Veil).  Then whack the foundation on (fingers, flat paddle brush) and buff it in/out/shake-it-all-about with a brush as described.  Set it with a powder and then - and here's the bit that really stops it from bunching and separating later - spritz it with MAC Fix+.

This gave me the beautiful finish that I have seen in campaign visuals, and it lasted all day this way, no bunching, no crap.  Use a synthetic brush: doesn't apply well.  Miss out on the moisturiser or primer: harder to apply well, bunches and separates out later on.  Miss out on the powder: transfers like bejeezus.  Miss out on the finishing spray: bunches and separates out later on.  See what I mean?  Needy.

A fluffy dense brush with natural fibres and some give is the best bet...

Back to the issue of a the brushes - if you have something like the Shu Uemura brush I mentioned, or the Tom Ford equivalent, or even the MAC 168 brush; to work with this foundation, it will be fine.  It needs to be a fluffy-but-dense natural fibre brush.  Synthetic fibres won't work.  Buffing brushes won't work - the brush needs some "give" in it.  Otherwise, the foundation will just sit on the skin and look strange; like it's separated-out on your skin.


In terms of ingredients, it's a water-and-silicone-based formulation with a lot of minerals (77 I think is MAC's boast) and a bunch of good skin stuff including Shea Butter and Vitamin E, so it is quite moisturising.  It also contains optical blurring powders which really do their job.  It feels nice on the skin, and looks gorgeous.  Until it starts to bunch.  And separate.  Unless you do all the steps I set out.

Best Suited To / Skincare

Absolutely perfect younger skin.  Reference "wear" for pretty much all other skin types.  A definite no-no for oilier skins.  I have found that this can clog pores somewhat.  Not good.  A silicone-based primer will help out in that area.

Flashback, SPF, Price

This is around the €36 mark for 30ml and it has an SPF of 15 (titanium dioxide) - there is most certainly a small amount of flashback with this foundation.  Look here for more info on the MAC site.

I like the look of this foundation a lot, now that I know how to use it, I can say that yes, it's absolutely a beautiful one, but I can't in all conscience recommend it unless you have the correct tools to apply it - a decent moisturiser, MAC Fix+, the right brush, and a lot of time.  Why bother when you can use something like this one instead - a similar coverage/finish/price with much less hassle and effort.


  1. Been wanting to try this actually, so it's great to get such an in-depth review! May get a sample if I can to have a play around with it, and then see if I can spare the squids! :)

    1. Definitely recommend getting a sample. I've read lots of blogs which were extolling the virtues of this foundation, so I was inclined to think maybe the one I got was a dud, then after talking to the MAC sales assistants on-counter and in the store, I realised that no, they were all trying to figure the foundation out too... Weird!


Thanks for reading!


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