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Karima the foundation critic is back with MAC Face & Body; a makeup artist cult favourite and old classic. Many months and three shades later, I bring you my final verdict.

MAC Face & Body

Not the most glamorous packaging eh? It reminds me of craft glue or something and the glue comparison doesn’t stop there, it also SMELLS like craft glue. Available in both 50ml (27USD) and 120ml (35USD) bottles, it is far more economical to buy Costco-style but don’t get sucked in: F&B is notorious for turning quickly so opt for the smaller size if you only plan to use it occasionally (or keep the large size in the fridge and notify your family that it is not edible- seriously, my grandfather once ate my face mask).

MAC Face & Body

Shade wise, F&B offers a bit of flexibility as it lacks the opaque base of most foundations on the market (semi-translucent quality, I’d say). I own the parts of the warm C range because I have yellow olive-y skin and neutral foundations look ridiculous on me; my winter match is C1 which fits my NC20 skin pretty well, if I’m looking paler than usual it’s because I am! I’d eyeball C2 to be an NC-almost-30 and C6 is my bizarre shade for working on others who have enviable tans. There is also a white shade available for paler ladies and gents, if you don’t mind mixing.

MAC Face & Body
(click for bigger picture)

The consistency of F&B is downright odd. Let me first say that I pride myself on my ability to wrap my head around tricky textures (and sometimes shitty textures) so I was surprised that I encountered a fair amount of trial and error. It is water based so straight out of the bottle, the consistency is very liquid but you have a window of 30 seconds before the product starts to set, leaving you with a grippy/rubbery/sticky dilemma.

Remember this video? (Fast forward to the 4 minute mark)

We all recoiled in horror as Mary smacked and scrunched that poor model’s face (her expression is priceless though, you must admit). Turns out, Mary’s technique matches her reputation- it really is the best way to apply MAC F&B. I work in sections: dispense just enough for that section (because it’s already setting on your hand yo), spread and initiate rubbing and smacking. My usual light hand resulted in patchy, uneven coverage. Moral of my anecdote: work fast.

If you cannot fathom such rigorous facial contact, then I will say that the Beauty Blender produces a more than satisfactory result but I still prefer fingers. Don’t even bother with a brush, it eats up the product like cray.

Once you’ve conquered the application, MAC F&B is a beautiful product. I prefer it applied lightly for sheer coverage but you can let it set and apply another thin layer for medium coverage. Full coverage would be a stretch, I don’t think the good people at MAC created it for that purpose.

MAC Face & Body

MAC Face & Body

Here I’ve applied C1 lightly, with fingers, focusing on my flushed and problematic nose area and feathering out to nothing. It hasn’t concealed all my nose-crease redness or the slight marks on my chin (leftover blemish marks) but I’m totally okay with that. As always, no primer, powder or concealer.

The effect is ultra natural; this is the foundation to fool your family and friends, the pigment is oh-so-fine and utterly undetectable. The only aspect that might give it away is the sheen, F&B is definitely on the dewy spectrum so I like to set with a powder, MAC Mineralized Skinfinish in Natural bumps up the coverage a tad but I actually prefer SUQQU Loose Powder to tone down the tackiness for a soft, diffused finish.

But dewy finishes never last on my skin, Karima. Well, much like SUQQU Frame Fix Cream Foundation, MAC F&B starts to look a bit shiny after 6 hours on my normal skin BUT it is transfer resistant and doesn’t migrate, courtesy of the fill form technology (science-y stuff I don’t pretend to comprehend). Drier skins can enjoy the luminosity but normal to combination skins will require a blot after 6 or so hours, while oilier skintypes will have to commit to frequent blotting and powdering, which may prove too much hassle.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that F&B doesn’t appear to oxidise throughout the day, because that is an awful inconvenience. It also photographs relatively well but not my most photogenic foundation due to 1) the sheen, which picks up on flash and 2) the sheerer coverage, because the tale that slightly heavier makeup photographs better runs true, in my experience.

In a nutshell, MAC F&B is ideal for:
– Those who enjoy a dewy finish but detest migration and transfer.
– Ladies and gents who’d like to perfect their chest/décolleté area without having to worry about dirty clothing.
– Anyone who isn’t afraid of a bit of shine, a midday blot and a light to medium coverage.

Skip it if:
– You have particularly oily skin, who wants to tend to their face every two hours?
– Some will find the application to be tedious, I will admit that it can be a problematic formula.
– You’re seeking a true medium to full coverage base. Eh, there are better foundations on the market for that purpose.

Overall, I really dig the my-skin-but-better illusion that MAC F&B provides. It is a staple, albeit occasional product in my foundation wardrobe. Hence, you will find it in the butter compartment of my fridge 😀

Have you tried MAC Face and Body? What are your thoughts?

Complete list of products mentioned

Face and Body Foundation
Face and Body Foundation
* Denotes products sent for consideration. I’m always honest with my reviews :)

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  1. Weirdly, I find that applying with the RT Buffing Brush is what works best for me. I might be using more product than needed because of that, though, but since I seem to never finish any foundation, I don’t mind using more than reasonable :-p
    So far it’s the best product I found that works as well on my angry dry dehydrated irritated cheeks AND my oily t-zone (what a fun combo, right?) that I powder, and usually powder again mid-day.
    I love the overall look and the finish, I’m just sad that C1 is a bit too dark for me in Winter but I’ll blend it down the neck, I guess…

    1. Hmm I actually tried the RT buffing brush after you mentioned it on MUA but the application felt weird and rubbery to me. I totally agree with you, perfect for dehydrated (or flaky) skin, it doesn’t catch on all the tricky areas. I think C1 might be a bit dark for me at my lightest too; I figure I’ll use in in Autumn/Spring πŸ™‚ xxkarima

  2. Bahaha, I remember watching that video for the first time. The foundation slapping, the mascara rubbing, I was gobsmacked! Great review and your eyebrows grown out look fab xx

  3. Thanks for the review from Spain!. I usually use HD MUFE , and now i am interesting in MAC F&B for all good opinions that i read in blogs. For me is very important that foundation was good in pictures, everyboy say F&B is really good for this. Better than MUFE?

    1. Hey Patricia, As I said in the review, MAC F&B pictures decently but I prefer other foundations for photos (like Armani Luminous silk). I haven’t tried MUFE so I can’t compare! xx

  4. face + body is my favourite foundation! and I have combination skin! application wise, try this: pour the foundation into the palm of your hands, rub your hands together and after around 5-10 seconds it will become very tacky, sticky, glue-like… then quickly slap it on to your cheeks, forehead and blend into your entire face! repeat the process for more coverage.

    1. I actually did try that application method after hearing it on youtube! I found it exacerbated the grippy/rubbery issue so I couldn’t really make it work. x

  5. After testing both f&b(mac’s & mufe’s)i’ve realΓ­zed that for my combination skin mufe’s the best,macs too shiny for me and even with powder or primer doesnt last on me more than 2 hours,great review though love your web and waiting for more looks

  6. I tried it and it broke out my skin like a balloon pool.
    Even i tried changing skin care to see a difference but noup, my skin simply hates that formula. As soon as i left it got back my happy face.

  7. Dios mΓ­o.., no me ha gustado nada el video, si hay que pasar por ese tormento, prefiero que me maquille otra profesional, es muy ruda y poco delicada, no me gusta NADA, no estoy acostumbrada a que utilicen tanto las manos para maquillar, en fin

  8. I’ve been intrigued in this foundation for a long time but never checked it out. I think I really should go give it a look soon! Though the face-smacking application does sound a little hmmm.

  9. Great review – completely agree with your thoughts, and it would be great to see a comparison between MAC and MUFE F&Bs! I’ve never tried MUFE F&B so I’m curious about the differences.

    Thanks also for the link to the Mary Greenwald video. I had actually skipped over it initially because I had dismissed it as another one of the seemingly dozens of videos on Lisa Eldridge’s channel for people with pale skin, but it was really fun! I love Mary’s posh accent as well – she really seems to come from that old school eccentric English aristocratic background – whether or not she actually has, she’s cultivated that persona anyway.

    1. Hmmm I’ll check out MUFE F&B when I can see it in person (on my trip to NYC).

      Mary is such a character! I like her no-nonsense approach to makeup πŸ™‚ but I must admit, I’d never give up my brushes!

  10. Love your reviews!

    Poor model though πŸ™ It must be quite awkward for her, for someone to rub her face like this in front of a camera. Youch.

  11. Since I have an extremely dry/dehydrated cheeks, I LOVE MAC F&B. And I do use brushes, I usually use my Sigma F80, and I have to admit that I buff a LOT. The coverage is really low, but I cheat (lol). I use a thin layer of BareMinerals Original over it, and I’ve found that this is the best way to give me a dewy finish and the coverage that I need. πŸ˜‰

  12. Karima, I love your reviews!! Not only the content is priceless, the way you write makes me smile all the time! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with amateurs like me, this is very much apreciated. Keep doing what you do, beacuse you are the best at it πŸ™‚