MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation SPF 15 NW20 (M A C Cosmetics)

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The Battle of the Blotch

Feb 14, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good coverage, a little goes the long way, nice flat finish

Cons:Expensive .  Can appear a bit pasty (at least in photos)

The Bottom Line: A good, medium coverage foundation available in a huge range of shades.


Recently, I received a handful of photos taken when I was 18. I had an even skin tone, no wrinkles, and a slightly unfortunate hairstyle (in truth, a bit of a mullet). Now, I'm in my 40s, and have lines, blotches, and a differently unfortunate hairstyle. When I was 18, I rarely wore make up, now I find myself wearing at least foundation most week days.

I had been using Clinique's Almost Makeup, but then I lost an argument with a concrete table. As I didn't want to scare small children with my bruised and swollen face (not to mention a deep, stitched cut on my forehead, which has now given me a fetchingly Harry Potter like scar), I realised a 'stronger' foundation was in order.

I had a tiny bit of Mac's Studio Fix Fluid foundation. After I healed, I asked for and got a whole bottle of this for Christmas, and have been using it almost daily since. It is not perfect (though that may be my visage rather than the product), but it does have some definite advantages over tinted moisturisers.

== Fur Coat? ==
Mac Studio Fix Fluid comes in a fetching little bottle, containing 30ml (1.0 US fluid oz) of a slightly viscous liquid. It comes with a screw top, though for an extra couple of quid, you can buy a pump. I recommend the pump, it does make it easier to dispense small amounts. And small amounts are all you'll need - the coverage is impressive, and a little goes a long way.


== Matty Bright and Dark ==
I have fairly light skin, and use the shade labelled NW20 - this apparently means 'Neutral Warm' - they also do an NC range, meaning 'Neutral Cool.' No, I'm not sure either, but the consultant I spoke to the first time I bought this stuff recommended the NW. The number designates the deepness of the colour (for 'deepness', read 'darkness') - 15 is the lightest, so, as you can tell, I have quite light skin.

The colour match is good in the winter, it is a bit pale in the summer. Coverage is excellent, and I find a little bit goes a long way. It effectively evens out my skin tone, and covers the dark circles under my eyes very effectively. It has a matt finish, and seems to help eliminate shine (though a powder may be necessary for especially oily skin). It blends well, and I find I don't need much under my chin and my neck, and I don't end up with an obvious 'foundation line.' I use a loose powder after, and a packed powder blush, and both are easy to apply and sit well on top of the foundation. Mac recommend you use their foundation brush (they would - it costs £25). I find it applies well with my fingertips, especially when using the pump so that you can dispense a fingertip's amount.

== Touchy Feely ==
I can feel the foundation on my skin, but it's not an unpleasant feeling. It doesn't feel crusty or tight. When I remember I wear a moisturiser underneath. Doing so does seem to improve both the application (blending, for example) and the feel of the product, though I'm not sure if that's not my imagination. I have quite dry skin, and that may well affect the skin feel. When I was using a brush, I sometimes found that this stuff stung a little on first application. However, now that I use my fingers, I no longer have that problem. I suspect the issue was with the (cheap, synthetic) brush I was using rather than from the product itself, but it's something to be aware of if you have sensitive skin. The Mac Studio Fix fluid has an SPF of 15, so it will protect your skin against the harmful rays of the sun (do I sound like an advert yet?).

== Staying Power ==
The foundation lasts. I don't find I need to renew it (though I do sometimes top up with cover up under my eyes), and when I take it off in the evening (I use wipes most evening), I can see that it is still there. Having said that, it is fairly easy to remove, and I can remove at least most of it with just one cosmetic wipe.

== Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud ==
This product isn't perfect. I notice especially in photographs that I can look a little pasty. Mac make up isn't cheap - from Mac's own website, you can buy this for £19, but you can find it cheaper elsewhere. There are a whole slew of colours and shades available, and you may find it helpful to buy from a Mac counter in a department store your first time, as it would be easy to purchase a less than ideal colour match (though that may just be me). As it comes in a glass bottle, you may find it tricky with or without the pump to get every last drop out. A cotton swab may help with this - I hate wasting anything, especially something so pricy.

== Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining ==
I am generally happy with Mac Studio Fix Fluid. It provides good coverage, seems to mostly match my skin well (though I may well re-visit a Mac counter come summer), and, whilst expensive, lasts quite a while. I should, however, at some point ask a trusted friend how it looks in 'real life', as I have noticed that I can appear pale and a bit pasty in photographs. Still, with that caveat, I would recommend this particularly for those who want or need that little extra coverage, but don't want to look like a clown in the circus (or a thespian on the stage - ever looked close up at stage make up?).

Me, as I age, I find I need that little bit more to be satisfied with what I see in the mirror. After all, aging may be unpleasant, but it certainly beats the alternative.


Recommend this product? Yes

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