Monday, 24 October 2011

REVIEW: MAC Matchmaster Foundation SPF15

Picture via Temptalia

I'd been dying to get my hands on this foundation all summer, so when I finally had a moment to spare I hotfooted it to the MAC counter in Plymouth. I've been a lover of MAC foundations for years now, and although I have found others that I like a lot, I always find myself coming back to MAC for my base. I know that they often get mixed reviews but for me, MAC is what works for my skin.

So how did this foundation shape up? There was a lot of hype around it, particularly as it is a new avenue in colours for MAC. I know I said I loved Illamasqua's Skinbase (and I still do), I love this even more. It is oil free and has an ingredient that helps reduce oil production and just works amazingly. The new colour scheme uses a simple 1-10 numbering system, with no NC or NW base like other MAC foundations. 1 is the lightest, 10 the darkest, with quite a few x.5 shades in between. I was matched to 1, prior to going to the counter I was unsure whether I would be a 1 or a 1.5.

The Blurb: "New Foundation technology using translucent pigments to enable a fully personalized finish influenced by the subtleties of your own skin's undertone. Moisturizing demi-matte finish. Medium buildable coverage. Line-reducing soft-focus powders."

Application: When I went to MAC in Plymouth to buy this, the MUA applied this with a regular type foundation brush - flat and rounded top. I experimented a bit at home but eventually came back to my trusty Real Techniques brush which applied pretty much every foundation amazingly! You do have to work quite quickly as it is quick drying, but it dries down to a lovely soft focus finish. It is best to apply in thin layers to avoid pooling and uneven patches, but the only time I have had any problem with that was when I was having a bad skin day - by and large I find this quick and easy to apply well.

Coverage: This foundation is billed as medium buildable coverage and I think I would agree with that statement. It is one of those weird ones that feels really light on your skin but actually covers really well. I use about 3-4 pumps to cover my face, and I find that that covers my acne scars, and any 'live' spots really well. I do still need to use concealer on the worst bits, but if I was having a really good skin day (they do happen sometimes!) I could ditch the concealer and just wear this. Like the Illamasqua Skin Base, this can be built in specific areas, and I tend to do that before I reach for the concealer, so that I'm creating the best base possible.

Colour: This is by far and away the best colour match I have ever had in a foundation, and it definitely lives up to the claims of personalisation. I bought this 3 weeks ago at the end of the summer, when I still had a hint of colour in my face. Now the winter is rapidly setting in my face has lost all trace of tan, but the foundation is still working with my skin tone. I have often avoided the sun like the plague in the summer to ensure that I don't have to buy an additional bottle of foundation, but with Matchmaster, I think I will be able to venture out into the sun a bit more (obv. still with high factor SPF to protect my skin).

L-R: MAC Studio Sculpt NC15, MAC Studio Sculpt NW15, MAC Matchmaster Shade 1, Illamasqua Skin Base 3, Illamasqua Skin Base 4, Estee Lauder Double Wear Shell, Estee Lauder Double Wear Ecru

I'm not sure how useful the above picture is - even though it looks as though Studio Sculpt in NC15 would be my perfect foundation, I can assure you that on its own it is way too light for me, even in the depths of winter. I tend to mix it with NW15 (which as you can see is a widely darker colour!) to achieve the right colour. Also good to remember that the Matchmaster will adapt as you blend it out. 

Longevity: For me, using it as I do set with MSF Natural, Finishing Powder and a spritz of Fix+, I find that Matchmaster lasts an entire day without bother. My chin has a tendency to get a little shine but that is my chin and not the product. It doesn't slide, or fade at all. The first major road test it had was a wedding that saw me apply by 2pm, and remove at 1am the following morning, including dancing and a fair amount of wine, and still I had a good looking face. It did wear off a little over my spots, which were quite raised, but I hadn't used concealer so I thought that was pretty good going.

Some full face shots with and without flash:
Without flash

With flash
Additional products used (MAC unless otherwise stated):
Select Cover Concealer NW15
Mineralise Skin Finish Natural in Light
Paint in Bare Canvas
Brule e/s
Dark Soul pigment
Illamasqua Medium Pencil in Sophie
No. 7 Lash Adapt Mascara in 01 Black
Eyebrows in Stud
Browset in Clear
Cubic blush
Petticoat MSF
Prep and Prime Finishing Powder
Fix +
Nivea Pure and Natural Milk and Honey Lipbalm
Prep and Prime Lip
Myself l/s

Where to buy: Available in 14 shades from MAC or Debenhams


  1. I'm really interested to try this. I was matched as a NC15 recently but it is the tiniest bit too pale for me, but from your picture above Shade one looks like it might be too orange for me... guess I'll have to take another trip to Plymouth sometime!

  2. I think you definitely need to be matched for this one - it really does adapt to your skin tone, so its almost impossible to get a good swatch of it! It definitely doesn't look that orange on me when I have it on and blended properly :) Do you want me to do you a sample at all?

  3. WOW, you got me wanting to try this! But I still have foundation left so I shouldn't... =(

  4. Hi,
    I'm planning to get the Matchmaster, but there's no MAC counter in the place where I live. That's why I'd like to ask you for advice. I'm NW15-20, do you think shade 1.5 would suit me?

  5. Hi Ladymoonlight :)

    I guess it would depend which end of that scale you are - if you're closer to NW15 I'd say go for shade 1, if you're closer to NW20 go for shade 1.5. I thought I was going to be a 1.5 but when she tried that on me it was too dark. It's difficult to tell though!!
    You could always try ringing your nearest MAC counter and asking them to send you some samples, they are usually happy to oblige.

    D.Sadie - I have a whole box of foundation... the way I look at it is you don't own just one bra, you have different bras for different occasions, and to me foundation isn't any different. This is brilliant for everyday for me, whereas I have other ones that I prefer for different looks (e.g. for photography the Illamasqua Skin Base is better because it has no SPF). That's how I get around my guilt anyway!!

  6. Looks like a really good product, your face looks fantastic, x

  7. Thank you very much for your help!
    Would you describe Matchmaster shades as pink, yellow or neutral beige toned?

    Getting samples is virtually impossible for me. You wouldn't imagine how difficult simple things can be in a place called Poland. The closest MAC store is about 400km away from where I live and they don't do the mail order. So I'm gonna order my MAC stuff from their London store and pay 20 pounds for delivery. I know it's not the best idea to buy foundation over the net, but I actually see no choice. I have the same problem with Illamasqua SB. Shade 02 seems the right tone, but it might be a tad too fair. Others look too yellow. I've completely run out of my foundations, so I hope that would justify getting two new foundations, wouldn't it?

  8. Ladymoonlight - Matchmaster is supposed to be neutral toned, and adapt to reflect the tones in your skin. I have quite neutral toned skin (my first ever MAC foundation match was Studio Fix in N4) and I can honestly say this is the best tonal match (and depth of colour too) that I have ever found in a foundation.
    In terms of Illamasqua SB I would try shade 4 or 5 if you are an NW15-20 - I tried Shade 2 and it was too light, it is very pale, and 5 was probably about the right depth of colour but too pink for my skin - I need to mix 3 and 4 to get the right colour in that.

  9. Monday Receptionist - thank you!

  10. Thank you very much again, you couldn't have helped me more!


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