MAC Studio Fix foundation review shades and pump
£32

MAC Studio Fix Foundation review: Is it really worth £32?

4th April 2024 | Author: Lucy Jordan
Verdict

Retailing at £32, MAC Studio Fix foundation is definitely a luxury purchase yet its thicker consistency and impressive coverage means a little goes a long way. It’s also not the most expensive foundation on the market, far from it, yet outperforms pricey rivals.

We’ve used both the fluid and stick versions of Studio Fix and prefer the former. The latter is much easier to apply and blends really well but we don’t feel it lasts as well as the former and the coverage isn’t as impressive. This will suit you if you’re after the Studio Fix foundation quality with a more natural finish, though.

MAC posits its Studio Fix Fluid foundation as being suitable for all skin types, however, we’d say it is best suited to normal/oily skin due to its matte finish and longevity.

For dry skin, we would recommend using a hydrating primer before using Studio Fix – our favourites are the NYX Professional Makeup Bare with Me Jelly Primer (£15) and the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water (£22).

You could also mix the Studio Fix foundation with your moisturiser to sheer it out and add extra hydration. The Smashbox Primer Water doubles up as a setting spray if you’re worried about spending the extra money.

Overall, the Studio Fix Fluid Foundation performs extremely well, gives an impressive finish, and definitely offers the coverage and longevity it promises. This is our go-to foundation and we’ve converted a number of friends to switch to it as well.

Pros
  • Great for oily skin
  • Lasts all day
  • Large shade range
  • SPF 15 protection as standard
Cons
  • Can transfer onto hands or phone
  • Pump sold separately
Where to Buy
MAC Cosmetics £32
Lookfantastic £32
Prices are accurate at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

In our MAC Studio Fix Foundation review, we look at whether the cult classic foundation is still worth the money in the face of increasing competition


UPDATE: The MAC Studio Fix foundation has been reformulated since we published this review.

The matte foundation now offers a soft-matte finish. It’s still lightweight but now offers a more natural-looking, buildable coverage that promises to last for 24 hours.

The biggest change, however, is that the new Studio Fix foundation contains 87% skincare ingredients, including hyaluronic acid and red algae extract to hydrate the skin, and sugar kelp extract to help control oil.

The shade range has also increased to 71 shades, up from 67, and MAC now lets you match foundation shades from other brands to its own foundation shade range.

Once we’ve tested the new formula, we’ll update this review.

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Original MAC Studio Fix foundation review continues below

The Studio Fix foundation from MAC Cosmetics has been a firm favourite among makeup artists for years due to its diverse shade range and staying power.

It’s so popular, over the years the formula has been reformatted from a fluid foundation to a powder compact, a foundation stick, a concealer, and even a loose powder. Each one promises buildable coverage with a matte finish.

For this Studio Fix foundation review, we’ve concentrated on the fluid foundation version, with references to the foundation stick.

We’ve also recently reviewed and ranked all of the best MAC foundations to discover which is worth your time and money, and which should be avoided. Spoiler alert: The Studio Fix Fluid foundation scored highly…

READ NEXT: Get cheap MAC Cosmetics makeup at 50% off 


MAC Studio Fix foundation review

The MAC Studio Fix foundation is one of the original base products sold by the iconic makeup brand and over the years, it has been available in an increasing number of shades.

At the time of writing, there are 67 Studio Fix foundation shades ranging from light to deep dark – this is one of the most diverse and inclusive foundation ranges on the market. Each one then offers SPF 15 protection.

This covers a wide spectrum of skin tones with warm, cool, and neutral undertones; whether you’re warm with rosy undertones, or dark with red. The names of the shades reflect this.

The letters tell you which undertone each shade is best suited to, while the number reveals where on the light-to-dark spectrum it sits – from 3.5-60.

For example, our shade is NC16. This means we have neutral (N), cool (C) undertones and we have light skin. The description of NC16 is light beige with peachy undertones.

If you’re not sure which MAC Studio Fix foundation shade you need, check out our guide on how to find the perfect foundation match online. 

FURTHER READING: We’ve reviewed and ranked every MAC foundation to finally reveal which is best


MAC Studio Fix range

Since we published this Studio Fix foundation review, MAC has released the Studio Fix Every-Wear All-Over Face Pen, and the Studio Radiance Serum Foundation.

The Face Pen is part concealer-part foundation and promises to “conceal and correct” for 36 hours with a natural-looking matte finish.

What’s more, it contains skincare benefits in the form of Vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and caffeine to plump the skin and energise your under eyes.

Meanwhile the Studio Radiance Serum is the latest foundation in MAC’s wider base product range. It was the first to feature a high amount of skincare ingredients – the brand claims the formula is 80% skincare – and it’s been designed to repair and protect the skin while also smoothing texture, evening out skin tone, and blurring fine lines and wrinkles.

This has since been surpassed by the reformulated MAC Studio Fix foundation which now contains 87% skincare ingredients. Elsewhere the formula now offers a soft-matte finish and sugar kelp extract to help control oil.


MAC Studio Fix foundation: At-a-glance

MAC Studio Fix foundation review price, shades and coveragemamabella | mamabella

The MAC Studio Fix foundation offers medium to full coverage in 67 shades

What is MAC Studio Fix? The MAC Studio Fix Foundation is known for its full coverage and matte finish. It comes in a huge range of shades to suit different skin tones, and it is designed to last all day without fading or creasing. It is a buildable foundation, which means that you can apply multiple layers to achieve the desired level of coverage.

MAC Studio Fix price: £32 (30ml)

MAC Studio Fix foundation shades: 67

Base: Silicone

Coverage: Medium-Full

Finish: Matte

Who should use the MAC Studio Fix foundation? Suitable for all skin types but will particularly suit people with oily or combination skin types.

Where to buy: MAC | Lookfantastic |

MAC Studio Fix alternatives:  Maybelline Fit Me foundation (£5.99)


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How to use the MAC Studio Fix foundation

The MAC Studio Fix foundation comes in a glass bottle with a screw cap, meaning you have to purchase a pump separately if that’s your preferred method of application. This used to be really common and was usually a sign of a premium product.

For example, the brilliant Estée Lauder Double Wear is the same. In both cases, you can buy a pump separately, and the MAC pump costs an extra £5.

MAC Studio Fix fluid foundation shades reviewLucy Jordan/mamabella

The MAC Studio Fix foundation is available in 60 shades

When you consider you’re paying this on top of what is already a relatively expensive foundation (pushing the total price above the £30 mark), it seems a bit of a cheek.

However, the pump can be rinsed and reused so you’ll at least only have to make this purchase once.
Thankfully, even without the pump, the consistency of the Studio Fix foundation is quite thick which means it’s not as easy as it is with the thinner, runnier Double Wear foundation to pour out too much.

You can read more about what we think of the Estée Lauder foundation in our Double Wear review.

You can pour a small amount of the Studio Fix Fluid foundation onto the back of your hand and increase the amount as you build to your desired coverage.

It applies and blends well with both a foundation brush and a damp beauty sponge and the coverage always impresses us, even with a single application.

We should also mention the smell. We’ve read many online reviews bemoaning the foundation’s scent; claiming it smells like paint.

It does smell more chemically than other foundations we’ve used – the Huda Beauty Faux Filter by comparison smells lovely! – but we don’t think the smell is strong enough to make a significant impact on our overall review of this foundation.

It also only smells like this when you first pour it out of the bottle. It certainly doesn’t linger once it’s on your face.

If anyone has used the original Studio Fix Prep + Prime Setting Spray will know that this also smells a little odd, but it’s not a game changer in our opinion.

FURTHER READING: How to clean makeup brushes and how to clean beauty blenders


How we tested the MAC Studio Fix foundation

For our MAC Studio Fix foundation, we used it as our primary foundation three times a week for two months.

We added the foundation to our routine without making any other changes to make it easier to identify any differences in coverage, oiliness, and finish, as well as its compatibility with our other products.

We tested the foundation and its finish when applied using different methods, including a foundation brush, stippling brush, fingers, and a damp beauty blender.

For each application, we took note of how well the coverage and finish lasted throughout the day, if it caused cakiness or breakouts, and how easy it was to remove.

Additionally, we conducted a unique test on fruits, specifically an orange and a strawberry, to see how well the foundation covered and hydrated the skin. You can read more about this in our How we test foundations to find out which is the best guide, and our best foundation list. 


MAC Studio Fix foundation: Performance

@victoria_woolly_web Another foundation without a pump but is very popular #fyp #fypシ #mamabella #foundationtest #makeuptiktok #mac #maccosmetics #studiofixfluid #foundations #FilmTeyvatIslands #SuperShow @maccosmetics ♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy


In our fruit tests, the MAC foundation performed better than expected in terms of coverage, providing what we considered to be full coverage on the orange, and medium coverage on the strawberry. It let out no oil (due to the fact it has an oil-free formula) on the blotting paper.

It lost points due to the fact that the brand isn’t completely vegan, and while MAC itself doesn’t test on animals, it does sell products in regions where animal testing is performed. It also dropped the hydration levels of our skin by a fair amount – 6.7 points, or 23%. This isn’t a surprise considering the Studio Fix is a matte foundation, of course.

Despite its thick consistency, once the Studio Fix foundation is on the skin, it doesn’t feel too heavy or matte. A single application gives medium coverage.

It is a highly buildable foundation that doesn’t leave your skin looking cakey. All while drying to a nice soft matte finish.

Many matte foundations are either too thick – designed to block any shine or oil from escaping – or dull the skin. By contrast, the Studio Fix fluid foundation gives your complexion a subtle healthy glow without looking shiny. This is likely because it contains silica, which helps to absorb excess oil and reduce shine, as well as micronised pigments that create a smooth, even finish.

When applying concealer and powder products on top  – we use the Laura Mercier Loose Powder (£32) and the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (£24) – they blend seamlessly with the foundation complementing the overall finish without weighing this healthy glow down.

MAC claims the Studio Fix foundation lasts for 24 hours, which we think is a bit of a stretch. We find that it lasts well for around 12 hours, so looks great at the end of the day, even if the matte finish fades a little if you have oily skin (like us).

Our skin still usually looks flawless and breakouts are still covered when we get home from work, although we have noticed that it has a tendency to transfer a little onto our phone’s screen throughout the day.

By the end of the day, this foundation doesn’t feel too heavy, and despite some of our natural oiliness seeping through, it also doesn’t feel too slick. Although it does feel more noticeable and heavier than when it’s first applied.

READ NEXT: How to get flawless skin: A top makeup artist reveals the secret to a perfect base


MAC Studio Fix foundation: Before and After

The image below shows how the MAC Studio Fix foundation looks before application, and after.

MAC Studio Fix foundation Before and AfterMAC

The before and after photos of the Mac Studio Fix foundation

As you can see, the foundation easily, and naturally covers redness and blemishes without making the skin look flat or dull. It gives a healthy glow and even skin tone.


MAC Studio Fix foundation review: Verdict

Retailing at £32, MAC Studio Fix foundation is definitely a luxury purchase yet its thicker consistency and impressive coverage means a little goes a long way.

It’s also not the most expensive foundation on the market, far from it, yet outperforms pricey rivals.

We’ve used both the fluid and stick versions of Studio Fix and prefer the former. The latter is much easier to apply and blends really well but we don’t feel it lasts as well as the former and the coverage isn’t as impressive. This will suit you if you’re after the Studio Fix foundation quality with a more natural finish, though.

MAC posits its Studio Fix Fluid foundation as being suitable for all skin types, however, we’d say it is best suited to normal/oily skin due to its matte finish and longevity.

For dry skin, we would recommend using a hydrating primer before using Studio Fix – our favourites are the NYX Professional Makeup Bare with Me Jelly Primer (£15) and the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water (£22).

You could also mix the Studio Fix foundation with your moisturiser to sheer it out and add extra hydration. The Smashbox Primer Water doubles up as a setting spray if you’re worried about spending the extra money.

Overall, the Studio Fix Fluid Foundation performs extremely well, gives an impressive finish, and definitely offers the coverage and longevity it promises. This is our go-to foundation and we’ve converted a number of friends to switch to it as well.

FURTHER READING: We’ve reviewed and ranked the best Charlotte Tilbury foundations


MAC Studio Fix foundation review: Ingredients

The MAC Studio Fix foundation contains no “icky” ingredients and has a very low irritation and comedogenic rating, meaning it shouldn’t cause breakouts.

Cyclopentasiloxane emo|solv, PEG-10 Dimethicone emu, Butylene Glycol h|solv 0 1, Trimethylsiloxysilicate emo, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate sunsc 0 0, Dimethicone emo 0 1, Magnesium Sulfate vc, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer emu, Titanium Dioxide sunsc|col, Laminaria Saccharina Extract h|so, Algae Extract emo|h, Tocopheryl Acetate aox 0 0, Sodium Hyaluronate sii|h 0 0, Tocopherol aox 03 03, Lecithin emo|emu, Hydrogenated Lecithin emo|emu, Xanthan Gum vc, Sorbitan Sesquioleate emu 0 01, Methoxy Amodimethicone/Silsesquioxane Copolymer, Laureth-7 emu|surf, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone emu, Disteardimonium Hectorite vc, Silica vc, Dimethicone Crosspolymer vc, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Propylene Carbonate solv|vc, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate aox|pres, Sorbic Acid pres, Chloroxylenol amic|pres, Phenoxyethanol pres

Hover the mouse / tap over an ingredient for short explanation. Read more on INCIDecoder.


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