Wouldn’t it be great if you knew which was the best MAC foundation for oily skin, before you went into a store to buy it?
In this article I’m going to give you the most comprehensive and clearest possible answer I can to this question in relation to the MAC fluid foundations. (I will be reviewing MAC primer and powder options soon so stay tuned).
My aim with this site is to save you time and money and help you get the complexion you want.
There are six fluid foundations available from MAC. Here’s the list:
a) Studio Fix, b) Pro Longwear, c) Mineralize Moisture, d) Matchmaster, e) Studio Sculpt, f) Face and Body. Buy them here at MAC Cosmetics UK and for US customers it can be found at MAC Cosmetics USA where they offer FREE delivery and returns to US customers.
AHH! Too much choice. SIX foundations? Don’t worry! I have created a chart to help you quickly spot which fluid foundation is right for you. Below I have plotted all the MAC foundations to show you which one will stay on your skin the longest if you have very oily skin. Can you see it? It’s at the top right-hand corner of the chart and it comes out as Pro Longwear.
(Please click below to see the image below if you want to see it more clearly. It will open in a new window and be larger and easier to read that way for some).
When buying the best MAC foundation for oily skin, I think you have to ask yourself five questions:
1) What is my life stage – ie, are you a teenager studying or are you in your 20s or 30s and working a full 10 hour day every day, week in, week out?
2) Just how oily is my skin?
3) What sort of coverage do I want?
4) Do I want an SPF in my foundation?
5) Do I have an easy skin colour to match?
Let’s look at that first question:
What is my life stage?
The reason I suggest a moment to think this through is that if you can have your face free of foundation, for the most amount of time possible each day, I think this is the best you can offer your skin. The less we have on it, surely the better it is for our skin? It allows it to breathe, to be what it really is supposed to be – completely natural.
So I would say only buy Pro Longwear if you have a job where you have to have an oil-free, demi-matte look for 10 hours or more.
If you only need a matte complexion for a few hours per day, perhaps just six or seven hours, like during your time at school or for a part-time job that’s just mornings for example, then I’d recommend buying something less adherent – like Matchmaster or Studio Fix.
Then second question is:
Just how oily is my skin?
So now we need to look at how much natural sebum we have. I think this can be checked by looking at your skin after your regular daily cleansing ritual. For me, this is when I take a shower in the morning. The question I would ask myself is “How soon does my skin become oily again?”
For me, it’s within about 2 to 3 hours, I have a natural shine on my nose area already by that time. I would describe my nose area as very oily. I’m in my 30s but I still have naturally very oily skin in that area. My forehead is close behind after another hour or so.
Therefore, Pro Longwear would really be the right foundation for me. I have naturally very oily skin and I need foundation that lasts more than just a few hours. I am at a lifestage where I can be working long days and I need my complexion to stay oil-free for long periods.
However, perhaps you only become oily after 6 or 7 hours, and perhaps the oiliness is just a little shine, rather than a full melt-away.
And if you are at a lifestage say, where you are studying and don’t need a full day fix of make-up that won’t budge, you may be better off going with something lighter, like Studio Fix or Face + Body instead.
Now let’s look at the third question:
What sort of coverage do you want?
If you have naturally clear skin and only want a very light foundation that feels like ‘no make-up’, then Face + Body is a very good choice.
However for someone with very oily skin, like me, who wants a ‘no budge’ option, this wouldn’t do. It would have melted away by about 5 or 6 hours in place on my skin.
The other three options that are very good for oily skin to very oily skin, are Studio Fix, Matchmaster and Pro Longwear. All of these give a good coverage, going in that order, Studio Fix for oily skin, Matchmaster and Pro Longwear for very oily skins.
Studio Fix gives a soft look, neither matte nor dewy, somewhere in between, whilst Matchmaster and Pro Longwear are demi-matte. They all give great coverage and are buildable, so can hide any problem areas very well.
The other two foundations, Studio Sculpt and Mineralize Moisture both give satin finishes. This I think again shows they are really meant for normal skin. If you do have normal skin and are looking for a MAC foundation that stays in place, Studio Sculpt definitely has the better staying power, as shown on the chart.
Do I want an SPF?
Many people like the convenience of having an SPF in a foundation, as it saves them time and money and it just makes life more convenient, especially in the morning when you may be in a rush to get out the door.
Let’s look at the four fluid foundations from MAC that have an SPF:
Studio Fix – SPF 15
MatchMaster – SPF 15
Pro Longwear – SPF 10
Mineralise Moisture – SPF 15 (but only recommended for normal to dry skin)
Let’s note again which ones DON’T have an SPF:
Face + Body
Studio Sculpt (but only recommended for normal to dry skin)
Do you use a moisturizer underneath your foundation? Does it have an SPF in it? Or can the MAC foundation do it for you?
Looking at the foundations that include and SPF from MAC, I notice that the top three longest wearing foundations for oily skin all include an SPF (Studio Fix – SPF 15, MatchMaster – SPF 15, Pro Longwear – SPF 10).
If you have skin that is a little bit oily, (but not very very oily) you could get away with using Face + Body – but in this case you would need an SPF in another product to put under or over it if you were looking at gain some sort of UVA/UVB protection.
Do I have an easy skin colour to match?
Do you run into trouble when you buy foundation in terms of your skin colour? Or are you an easy match? Some brands are well-known for having very good colour palettes, that provide a solution for nearly everyone.
Studio Fix has by far the most shades of any foundation offered by MAC, coming in at 39 shades. This is your best chance of a good match if you need a wide colour palette to help you get the colour right if you sometimes encounter problems.
Here are the foundations listed by number of shades:
Studio Fix – 39 shades
Pro Longwear – 23 shades
Matchmaster – 13 shades
Face + Body – 13 shades
Studio Sculpt – 30 shades (not recommended for oily skin)
Mineralise Moisture – 18 shades (not recommended for oily skin)
Although I don’t work for MAC, I think I could safely say that Studio Fix is by far their biggest seller in terms of their liquid foundations. It’s been around a long time and is well-thought of and well reviewed on many beauty sites and places like Sephora and Amazon. I would think many first-time users of MAC come to the counter, expecting to buy this product, having heard of it from a friend or seen it in a magazine. From my days working in business I would describe it as their “cash cow”!
And with 39 shades, this really is worth trying out. However if you do have very oily skin, I would suggest looking at Matchmaster and Pro Longwear first, to see you can get the right colour match first, as these do have more staying power.
So what’s the right one?
So bringing this all back to making a choice and which one to buy: I think if you are looking for a full-day’s make up that won’t budge and you have very oily skin, then Pro Longwear is a good buy. It also has an SPF in it which makes it a convenient option if you’ve got a busy life and need to get out of the door in a hurry most mornings!
However if you’re a teen who only needs foundation in place for a few hours, like for after school or for nights out, Studio Fix would certainly be a good place to start. Similarly, if you have skin which isn’t really oily, but is oily after say 6 or 7 hours, Studio Fix could work really well.
Also, if you have naturally clear skin which is a little oily (not very oily) and just want to make your skin ‘glow’ then Face + Body would be a good option for you. It’s very sheer in its finish so won’t cover problem areas too well but if you are looking for something to even out skin tone and make you feel that bit more polished, this is the foundation for you. It is buildable, so you could work it up but it would need layer after layer and I’m not sure many people are willing to take the time to do that. But it’s worth mentioning it can be built up.
Remember though, that Face + Body has no SPF in it, so something underneath may be necessary if you’re looking for UVA/UVB protection.
Matchmaster is another great MAC foundation and I think it sits somewhere between Studio Fix and Pro Longwear in terms of staying on the skin.
Matchmaster also has an SPF 15, which is higher than Pro Longwear’s SPF 10. These both look like really good options for very oily skins and it would just depend on which one you felt suited you best and if you wanted the higher SPF.
So finally I should mention how I analysed each foundation and created this review:
I visited the MAC website and read through every single review. I also visited Amazon.com and read through every single review and I also visisted the Sephora website and read every single review on MAC foundations.
Eventually it became clear that some foundations were definitely working better for more oily skins than others. And two foundations in particular Studio Sculpt and Mineralize Moisture kept coming out with “don’t buy this if you have oily skin” warnings!
It must be noted, this article is only a guide. I do not work for MAC. I receive no commissions from MAC. This is my view only.
I really hope you found this useful and I would love to hear what you think. Will you go and try something new from MAC today? Did this review help you with your decision? Leave a comment for me below!
I also love to hear your stories of what works for you so I can keep helping other people with oily skin to make the very best of what they have so please share the love 🙂
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