July 14, 2018

The Best Foundation for Summer: MAC Face & Body Review

When most people talk about Las Vegas weather, they describe it as being a “dry heat.” This is true for most of the year, but come July, not only do we have temperatures between 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit on a daily basis, our humidity soars up to 40-90% thanks to summer thunderstorms. In other words, summer in Vegas feels like living in a sauna. As you can imagine, keeping makeup on in this weather is a challenge, but I’ve finally discovered a foundation that can handle the heat. MAC Face & Body is the best foundation for a hot, humid summer.

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored. I purchased this product myself with my own money. This post does not contain affiliate links.

There’s a lot to love about MAC Face & Body, but it’s a product that not everyone is going to love. I’ll make it simple for you, and throw out a few things that may be definite deal-breakers for some of you. Then, I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of it for those of you who are interested enough to keep reading.

  • It’s a light coverage foundation.
  • It can be too dewy for oily skin types, but there are ways to make it work for oily skin. I’ll get into all of my tips for using this foundation toward the end of the review.
  • It works best when it’s applied with fingers. Brush is doable. Sponge is useless.

So, with that being said, here’s everything else you need to know about MAC Face & Body.

MAC Face & Body Shade Range

MAC Face & Body shade range

Credit: MakeupAlley

MAC Face & Body is available in 13 shades. While this is a pretty skimpy shade range, it’s a little more forgivable with this formula because it’s on the sheer side. This means one shade can work for a greater variety of skin tones. However, there isn’t enough variety in depth or undertone in this range, so some people may struggle to find a shade that works for them. MAC also makes a white mixer to lighten up a shade that’s the right undertone but too dark.

MAC Face & Body swatches

Credit: KarlaSugar

My skin is light, slightly warm muted olive and the shade I use is C1. It’s a little too dark for me in the winter, but other than that, it’s a pretty good match. I almost always have to mix my foundations, so I don’t have a single shade that matches me in any other ranges to give you a reference point. MAC NC15 is a little too light and not olive enough, NW20 is about the right depth, but too pink. Rimmel Lasting Finish 100 Ivory is a little too green and too dark, same for Make Up For Ever HD Foundation 225 (liquid version). Stellar Limitless Foundation in S1 is a pretty close match, but just a hair too dark and too pink.


mac face & body review

MAC Face & Body is packaged in a plastic squeeze bottle with a twist-off cap. It’s very travel-friendly and durable. It’s user-friendly and easy to control the amount of foundation that comes out of the bottle. The one thing I don’t like about this packaging is that it’s a little bit messy. The foundation leaks out the top of the hole, but it doesn’t leak out from under the cap. I can travel with this and know it won’t leak out on to my clothes, the leaking is just a little annoying for those of us who are sticklers for neatness.

MAC Face & Body Ingredients

  • Water/Aqua/Eau Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Butylene Glycol, PVP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Talc, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange), Fusanus Spicatus Wood Oil, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Polysorbate 20, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.


This foundation is a lot thinner than most foundations. Whereas most foundations have a creamy feel to them, this foundation feels like water, which makes sense because it’s a water-based foundation. Keep in mind that because this is a water-based foundation, you’re going to get the best results from this by using a water-based primer, or no primer at all. Silicone primers can cause the foundation to separate or slide around.

mac face & body c1 swatch

This water-based formula is thin, lightweight, and hydrating. If you struggle to find a foundation that looks good on your dry skin, meet your new best friend. Also, be advised that this foundation does oxidize slightly. When choosing a shade, you may want to go a shade lighter or purchase the white mixer to adjust for oxidation.

Part of what sets MAC Face & Body apart from other foundations is that it uses a film-forming technology to lock the foundation into place and make it water-resistant. This is a large part of why it holds up so well in hot, humid weather.

Coverage & Finish

The coverage level of this foundation is enough to cover up mild acne and redness, and to create a more even skin tone. It will mute, but not completely cover freckles and more severe acne or rosacea. It also has a slight blurring feature, which helps to give skin a more perfected look. This foundation layers really well and can be built up to a nearly medium coverage, but that’s as much coverage as you’re going to get out of it. It’s very much a “my skin but better” foundation in the sense that it doesn’t look like you’re wearing much of anything, but it makes it look like you have naturally beautiful, even, hydrated skin.

The finish is glossy/dewy. Even when it’s set with powder, there’s still a radiance to this foundation. This is, by far, the most skin-like foundation I’ve ever used. It’s nearly undetectable on the skin and it photographs beautifully, which is why you’ll find it in nearly every makeup artist’s kit. I get compliments on my skin all the time when I’m wearing this foundation, even when I have a bad breakout. The compliment is usually followed up by “Are you wearing foundation?” because it’s that undetectable.

MAC Face & Body review

MAC Face & Body, no primer, powdered, after about 4 hours of wear during the summer. This is the point where I would probably use a blotting sheet. As for coverage, you can still see some redness from my acne poking through, especially on my chin.

Wear Time

The wear time varies a bit depending on your skin type and the weather you’re dealing with. I generally have normal to dry skin, but my skin gets oilier in the summer. Plus, the sweat and humidity can make the foundation start to fade in places. Under these conditions, the foundation lasts between 8-10 hours, but it does get very shiny. I’m talking what would be unacceptable levels of shiny by most peoples standards, so unless you’re into a very dewy look, you’ll want to blot and/or powder every 4-ish hours to prevent this from happening.

In cooler and less humid weather, MAC Face & Body lasts around the same time, but it takes longer for it to start becoming oily. The wear time is also about the same whether it’s set with powder initially or left unset. Whether you decide to set it with powder or not really comes down to what finish you prefer and the texture you prefer. Let me explain what I mean by that. Leaving it unpowdered is not only going to make it more dewy, it can also leave the foundation feeling slightly tacky. I would advise against doing this on a windy day if you have long hair because your hair will stick to your foundation. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. Yes, it was annoying AF. Also, in case you’re wondering, leaving it unpowdered doesn’t cause powder products to blend unevenly over this foundation.


This foundation is available in two sizes: 1.7oz and 4oz. I have the 1.7 oz bottle. Using it about 2-3 times per week (I don’t wear makeup every day, and I’m often testing other products) this bottle has lasted me about a year. Because of how thin this foundation is, it lasts a lot longer than most foundations do.

1.7oz for $30 at MAC

4oz for $39 at MAC

Final Thoughts

I always thought I would hate this foundation because of how light the coverage is. Most of us with acne want nothing to do with light coverage foundations because we’re looking for something that’s going to cover up what we see as “problem skin.” As you can imagine, I was pretty surprised when I fell in love with this foundation. What’s even more surprising is that this is my go-to foundation on a regular basis, especially when my skin is having issues. Because of the hydrating, skin-like finish and the smoothness of the pigment in this foundation it sits well over healing breakouts and dry patches. Can you still see that I have a breakout? Yeah, but it eliminates that gnarly, crusty effect that I would get from trying to use concealer or a higher coverage foundation over it. That’s just one of many reasons why this has become my favorite foundation of all time. Yes, seriously, MAC Face & Body is my favorite foundation of all time.

It’s also worth mentioning that I do think this foundation is worth splurging on *if* you find value in the good qualities of this foundation. I know a lot of people will think that a sheer foundation isn’t worth the money, and if that’s how you feel, this foundation might be able to change your mind. I think it’s definitely worth it to go to MAC and test it out if you’re able to.

Honestly, I could easily write another 300+ words about how much I love this foundation, but nobody wants to read that. Instead, I’ll just sum up my thoughts on the pros and cons of this foundation and who I think it’s good for. Then, we’ll dive into my tips for using this foundation.

You’ll Probably Like This If…

  • Undetectable foundation is important to you. You don’t want anyone to be able to tell you’re wearing foundation.
  • Heavy-feeling makeup drives you bonkers.
  • You prefer a lighter coverage foundation. You either don’t have much to cover up or you prefer to let your skin show through.
  • You’re looking for something that’s going to wear well in hot, humid weather. The film former in this foundation is amazing for keeping foundation on and in-tact during the summer.
  • You have normal to dry skin, or you have oily but like a dewy finish. This foundation works best for normal to dry skin because of the dewy finish and the way it wears throughout the day. With powder and blotting sheets, it’s possible for oily skin to wear this foundation too without becoming a complete oil slick. Buuuut you still have to be into a dewy look. This foundation is never going to be matte for more than an hour or two, no matter what skin type you have. It’s just not designed to be a matte foundation, period.
  • You’re really sick of the way other foundations look over your healing breakouts. This is one of the best attributes about this foundation for me personally. I absolutely loathe the way most foundations look over a healing breakout, it just makes it look so much worse and draws attention to it rather than hiding it.
  • This is also a great foundation for people who have texture issues with their skin, whether it’s dryness or fine lines, etc. Because the pigments in this foundation are so fine and the texture is so thin, this foundation doesn’t sink into lines or emphasize texture nearly as much as most foundations do.

Skip This If…

  • Your opinion on foundation is “make it matte or GTFO”. This will never be a matte foundation, no matter what you do to it. There’s no sense in buying something that you already know you’re not going to love.
  • You’re disgusted by the thought of applying foundation with your fingers. Fingers really and truly are the best way to apply MAC Face & Body. A flat foundation brush will work ok, but you won’t get the maximum benefits of the film forming technology, which is best activated through rubbing. Additionally, a brush or sponge is going to soak up a lot of product because the foundation has such a thin, watery consistency.
  • You’re in the #CakeFaceOrDie crew. You will never be able to achieve a full beat Instaglam look with this foundation. If you’re wanting a completely blank, even canvas that only a full coverage foundation can give, and you never have days where you want a lighter coverage, I don’t think you’ll be happy with this foundation.
  • A sheer foundation has no value to you. This is really similar to the last bullet point, but I’m phrasing it this way because it’s not so much about the look you’re trying to achieve as it is about your concept of what makes a product worthy of spending money on. Some people don’t see value in sheer lipsticks, and I’m sure that’s true of sheer foundations too. If you feel that way, this foundation may not be for you.

My Tips

  • Blotting sheets are your friend. I rarely bother with blotting sheets because most foundations either take so long to get oily on me or only get oily to the point of looking dewy, so there’s usually not much of a need for blotting sheets. With this foundation, blotting will significantly improve the appearance and wear time. Trust me, if you’re going to wear this foundation, blot. These are my favorite blotting sheets.
  • Learn to love applying this with your fingers. A sponge or brush will soak up too much product, but beyond that, to get the most out of this foundation, you really need to be rubbing it into your skin. (it rubs the lotion on its skin… uhh, sorry, wrong blog post) Seriously though, the friction is what changes the texture of the foundation and helps to create a stronger film to repel water. It also makes the foundation build better. Yes, I know having foundation on your fingers is an annoying feeling, but trust me, it’s worth it. Suck it up, Buttercup.
  • Use a water-based primer or no primer at all. Using a silicone primer with a water-based foundation can cause the foundation to separate or slide around. My favorite primers to use with this foundation are Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer and Becca Backlight Priming Filter.
  • Use a light coverage concealer unless you’re tryna rock that reverse panda vibe. If, like me, you typically use a full coverage concealer, switch to a medium or light coverage concealer. A full coverage concealer will look really out of place next to the light coverage of MAC Face & Body. Any blemishes you’re trying to hide will look like spots of unblended concealer, and under eye circles will end up looking like albino panda eyes (yes albino pandas are a thing). I like Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer the best with MAC Face & Body.
albino panda

DON’T LET THIS BE YOU (this bear is hella cute tho)

  • Get rough with it. No really, I’m not trying to be cute. For best results, you really need to work this foundation into the skin. When Mary Greenwell did a guest appearance on Lisa Eldridge’s YouTube channel, people were horrified to see the way she rubbed MAC Face & Body into the model’s skin. She actually demonstrated the perfect technique to use with this foundation. She’s a world renowned makeup artist for a reason, y’all.
  • Work quickly. Because this foundation sets itself and forms a film, it’s important that you work in smaller sections and work the foundation into the skin before it sets. I like to do one cheek at a time, then my chin, nose, and forehead.
  • If you wanna be the most radiant motherfucker alive, layer this over top of Becca’s Backlight Priming Filter. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Thanks for reading!



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If you enjoyed this post, you might also like Glossier Generation G vs. ColourPop Blotted Lip Review + Swatches

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  • Alyssa Thomas

    I stumbled across this review when looking into this foundation and I have to say this is probably the best review I ever read for a foundation! I love how you gave application tips and included bullet points for why someone may or may not like this foundation. I’m very impressed! I have bookmarked your blog and can’t wait to read more posts from you! <3

    March 28, 2019 at 11:07 am Reply
    • Cristine Crawford

      Thank you so much Alyssa! Your comment totally made my day!

      March 28, 2019 at 7:45 pm Reply
      • Alyssa Thomas

        Yay!!! Also, I’ve been reading through your archives all day during downtime at work and your blog is my new favorite. I just love how thorough you are. There’s less YASSS YOU NEED THESE PRODUCTS and more personality in your reviews. <3

        March 29, 2019 at 11:05 am Reply
        • Cristine

          Thank you!

          March 30, 2019 at 9:45 pm Reply

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