How Do You Do MAC Face and Body? MAC Face and Body Foundation Application Tips

Published in: Face, MAC Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

mac face and body foundation application tips

When MBB reader Indoorkitty asked me a question about my current foundation love, MAC Face and Body, I thought, “Great time to gush!”


But first, allow me to gush for a minute… πŸ™‚

Wait — what?! You haven’t tried MAC Face and Body before?? Check it — it’s a total beauty staple, like bread, gravy (for Tabs) and milk. I love that the coverage is flexible, so I can wear it sheer or build it up, and the finish? Oh, the finish… mostly matte, but with a hint of glow. Dewy, like I just walked under a mister, but not all wet-looking like I loitered underneath it for long. It’s just enough dew to keep your skin from looking flat.

And it does all of its awesomeness without feeling heavy at all. In fact, it feels like I’m hardly wearing anything at all! Yup, my previous MAC foundation affair with Studio Sculpt ended on my first date with MAC Face and Body.

mac face and body foundation in c5

Okay, okay, I’m done gushing (for now)… Let’s talk about Indoorkitty’s question:

“Karrrren! This used to be one of my favorite foundations but I’ve forgotten how I put it on. I’m doing a bunch of work travel and srsly considering just bringing it with me + playing with each brush I own in my spare time to find the mojo again. I think I used to use a stippling brush then buffed it out… Which brush do you use to apply/buff it? Please share! It pains me to have such a massive bottle of this in the right shade without being able to put it on successfully.”


Hi Indoorkitty,

First things first: love your screen name (and always have!). Second, and more relevant to your question, Face and Body’s texture can make it a little tough to work with, especially if you’re out of practice. It’s kinda runny, but don’t give up on it! You’ll get the hang of working with it again. Ultimately, it all depends on the level of coverage you crave.

If all you want is a sheer semblance of sheer sheerness (in other words, very sheer coverage), use your fingers and really work the product into your skin. That’s what I do sometimes. It gives a light hint of tint, which is usually enough to mask my red areas but not enough to cover blemishes.

When I’m in the mood for more coverage (with this, anywhere up to medium), I’ll use a foundation brush instead of my fingers, and apply it in thin/light layers.

You could use a traditional flat foundation brush for this, one like the MAC 190, but I usually steer clear of those. For some reason, when I use them with MAC Face and Body, I get foundation streaks.

I like to apply this using a brush with a rounded head — feel like I get more of an airbrushed finish that way — and my fave is the Hourglass Foundation/Blush Brush No. 2. Unfortunately, it’s not cheap, but there are some good budget options, like the $10 Ecotools Bamboo Bronzer Brush, which has a similar shape.

mac face and body foundation application tips

Most mornings I’ll apply 2-3 sheer layers, swirling the brush head, and then once I reach a level of overall coverage I like, I zoom in and target the areas where I want a little more coverage, pushing the product into my skin there, rather than swirling.

Also an indoor kitty…

Optional: After I’m done doing my layers, I like to gently buff my entire face using a MAC 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush. I think it just sort of settles everything down… Sometimes I skip this step, but when I do, I’m really careful to blend in the foundation after my swirling/patting.

mac face and body foundation application tips

I know I’m not alone out there in loving MAC Face and Body. If you’re another one of its fans, how do you like to apply it?

Bay Area gals, if you’ll be in San Francisco today…

How quickly can you get to Union Square? πŸ™‚ Shiseido Artistic Director Dick Page will be at Nordstrom in the San Francisco Centre from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. giving consultations with his makeup team and introducing Shiseido’s fall launches.

Consultations are by appointment, and you can call (415) 243-8500 to set one up. There’s a $100 reservation fee, but it’s redeemable for Shiseido products in the store today. If you hit an additional $150 or more, you also get a limited-edition black patent-leather makeup bag loaded with samples.

If I still lived and worked in the city, I’d try to swing by. Pick up lunch somewhere downtown and get some tips/tricks from the man himself.

I’m told it’ll be Dick’s only U.S. appearance this year.

In other news, brain fog strikes Novato blogger! More at 11! LOL!


That was a crazy LOL! BTW. I feel out of it today…and I’m already on my second pot of coffee (it’s a small pot).

Care for a cup? I shouldn’t drink all of this vanilla Kona coffee blend alone.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 39 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Alison M says:

    Gravy IS a staple…and not just for cats! I too love the EcoTools Bronzer brush. It’s a great alternative to the Tarte Airbrush Finish Bamboo brush. I just finished a sample of MAC F+B. Still giving it a “hmmmm” as I always wound up shiny instead of satiny.
    Alison M recently posted … Real Techniques Core Collection and Setting Brush

  2. Agata says:

    Ohh, you look so cute in this last picture πŸ™‚ And of course I’d care for a cup of coffee although I am already on my 5th cup today…

  3. Nina says:

    I really like using a rounded brush for F&B foundation because of its thin-ish texture. A stippling brush eats up the foundation but doesnt deposit it on my face. Buffing it on is the way to go!

  4. Emily says:

    That bottle looks huge! And the product sounds great! I need light-medium coverage and I love that this is think and doesn’t feel heavy. I might have to give it a try one day!
    Emily recently posted … Pink & Purple Polka Dot Nails

  5. Scrapgalgr says:

    The easiest way for me to achieve more coverage and less shine is to rub the product between my fingers until I feel it becoming more thick and tacky. Then I rub it on my face and I finish off with a round kabuki brush. Thus the result is more opaque and more dewy (as opposed to shiny)

  6. varsha says:

    looks great Karen..:) which shade is that??

  7. Annick says:

    I love my mac face and body, but somehow mine seemed to separate. It’s like the pigment particles separated and now they’re suspended in liquid. It still works though! I hear some people keep their F&B in the fridge to prevent this from happening.

  8. Laura H says:

    Hey Karen , I love this foundation and have the big bottle too, but the shade is just too dark now that I’m losing my summer tan. Any tips on how I can still get use out of it?

  9. Naomi says:

    Oh wow, i would love to try this one but wondering if it would be too much for me before I want to jump ship and try out another foundation!
    Naomi recently posted … Nail Challenge Day 10: Blue Black Gradient Nails

  10. Lulle says:

    Hmm I’m not sure about dewy finish. I can be very old school, and matte is how my skin should look. I might add shimmer and highlighter on strategic areas, but only AFTER I made sure that the whole face is matte and velvety looking. Dewy foundations tend to make me look oily, and I always end up covering them with blotting powder, which kind of defeats the purpose…
    Lulle recently posted … Urban Decay Smoked 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Set – photos

  11. Kristina says:

    I was also turned off of trying the Face and Body foundation because the bottle was huge and I thought it would go to waste! I’m glad they came out with the smaller size πŸ™‚

  12. BooBoo Kittles says:

    Hey there, relatively new to your blog and have enjoyed the reading so far (and I’m a cat lover with a fat tab of my own).

    I just recently started using F&B after switching from Studio Fix. I had tried it before but got frustrated and returned it because I couldn’t get enough coverage using a sponge (it would all soak up into the sponge, wasting product). Now I’m using a stippling brush and that seems to help a lot but I don’t get anywhere near a matte finish after applying 2 thin layers. I always have to set it with powder afterwards. I don’t have oily skin (in fact it’s rather dry) so I’m wondering if the shininess if from my application, the brush I’m using or something else (lack of a primer, perhaps?). I do try to give it 5 minutes or so to set before I get after it with powder, but that doesn’t minimize the shine. Any suggestions? I don’t want to use a beauty blender for fear it would be just soak up the foundation like before.

  13. Tee says:

    Love this foundation as well. After reading your post I pulled it out of my stash and fell I’m love again. It’s sheer coverage and the light weight feel. I like it best w the Sigma F80 brush

  14. Silke says:

    Hey Karen,
    Sending some greetings from Germany over to u …. πŸ™‚ I do love my F&B so much … actually like to use my fingers to apply the most… unfortunately u can’t buy Hourglass stuff here… πŸ™ would love to give their no. 2 Bbrush a chance…. as the reviews of it sound that great…!
    I also use to keep my F&B Big Bottle in the fridge

  15. Silke says:

    Wish u a wonderful weekend!
    H&K Silke

  16. Rona says:

    I love face and body but my bottle has separated. It still smells okay and everything but I’m not sure whether I should keep using it? Also I’m lighter than N1 so had to buy the white one from ebay (for sixty dollars!). Apart from that I absolutely love it. It’s buildable coverage and looks really natural. It works really well for my borderline dry skin.
    I use the real techniques buffing brush with it.

  17. indoorkitty says:

    OMG I’ve been offline for a few days, and today I logged on and squeed that you’d written out how to use F&B! I’m super stoked and going to try fingers + your brush technique STAT! Thank you SO much Karen! Major hugs to you and gravy to Tabs!

  18. md says:

    I think this is your best look yet! The foundation (and whatever else you used) really makes your skin glow – and the shimmery purple-ish eyeshadow and winged liner and neutral lip look great! Looks very youthful, glowy and not too makeup-y! Love. PS – what colour eyeshadow are you wearing? (not that it would look the same on my fair skin).

  19. ManilaJen says:

    Hi Karen! Im a follower fr Manila! Id like to ask which in your opinion is better for combi-oily skin, medium tone, NC 40 in Studio sculpt?MAC SS, Matchmaster or F&B? Thanks! πŸ™‚

  20. Jo says:

    Hi Karen! Thanks so much for this review. I’m going back to MAC F&B, because it seemed to be the only fndtn that my skin tolerates and doesn’t react to these days. I’m just finishing up a mineral powder fndtn, but I’m not going to re-purchase because I just never liked the finish. Also seemed a bit chalkey and grey. So gonna give F&B another whirl and your review was the push I needed. =) I just wanted to ask if you set this w/ a powder and if so, which one? Thanks so much!


  21. kindone67 says:

    Karen, what color in the MAC Face and Body do you wear? Thanks.

  22. Ro says:

    Do you use powder with it? If so what kind?

  23. Jellyy71 says:

    I Love Love Love the Face and body too, My HG foundation, i like to use the RT expert face brush for it, I get an airbrushed finish that way (and its a cheap but very good alternative brush for hourglass)I use a mac MSF powder or the ben nye banana powder to set when needed.

  24. Jo says:

    Hi Karen! I’ve recently returned to my old lover MAC F&B. Why we parted ways, I’ll never know. I was wondering if you could tell what, if anything, you use to finish. I’ve been using MFU HD powder, but it’s kinda old, so I’m looking to replace it. I feel like I just need to powder in the T-zone. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’m combo, sensitive, and C4.


  25. Peggy says:

    I just fall in love with MAC Face and Body. I remembered that you love it so i search for the blog post. Which MAC brush that you recommend to use with Face and Body? I live in malaysia and cant get a hand on the hourglass brush.

  26. Alliyah says:

    I love love mac face and body foundation too! It’s great for people like me who have very dry skin and the color is beautiful and very natural looking

  27. Anjali says:

    Hi Karen 😊
    So the local Mac counter girls from where I come from make is soooooooooo OUT THERE it makes me not want ask them for product advice AT ALL

    I used to have acne prone skin being but my skin calmed down a whole lot apart from a few tiny bumps
    I do have a few blemishes on my cheeks that are kind of on the dark medium side

    My skin for the better part is dry to normal but my nose and forehead can get a tad just a tad shinny
    I am Indian by the way

    I wanted a no make up look
    But just a little coverage for the few blemishes I had left

    And I did my research and loved the coverage and no make up look the Mac face and body foundation gave
    And the fact that you can build coverage of ever you needed too
    And I wanted to set it with the mac translucent setting powder if it dared to get shinny

    So I went to my local Mac store
    And the Mac counter girl used the natural radiance primer on me and tried on C5 on me and actually blended and looked really natural I didn’t like it at first but after it set looked really good and used the mineralize concealer in NW35 which made the look really wonderful and I didn’t get shiny till the 5th hour which wasn’t major but my tiny bumps still posed to be a little problem

    Even though I loved the primer I’m not sure if the natural radiance primer is the right primer for me or the skin visage?
    Or whether translucent setting powder on its own is the way to go?
    And whether the select moisture cover concealer is the right concealer for me?

    I want to look fresh and dewy but not greasy and oily.

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