MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation Followup: MAC Studio Waterweight Versus MAC Face and Body

Published in: Face, MAC Makeup

mac studio waterweight face and body

Today I’m putting on Waterweight!


Wait — that didn’t come out right… I mean, let’s put on our bathing suits, and take a dip back into the water with MAC Studio Waterweight foundation.

Hmm… That wasn’t much better, was it?

Anyway! Since my review a couple days ago, I’ve gotten some questions here on MBB and on YouTube about how the new MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation compares to MAC Face and Body, so I’m gonna try to answer those questions in this quick followup now.

Down below are also swatches of 21 of the 25 Waterweight shades (not shown are NC 25, NW 50, N12 and N18).

In a nutshell, Studio Waterweight is MAC’s foray into the world of serum foundation — medium coverage, with a lightweight, moisturizing formula and a velvety finish. My combination skin and I have been wearing it daily for the past week, and we’re really happy with it so far!

mac studio waterweight nc shades

10 of the 11 MAC Studio Waterweight NC shades from the left: NC15, NC20, NC30, NC35, NC37, NC40, NC42, NC45 and NC50

mac studio waterweight nw shades

11 of the 14 MAC Studio Waterweight NW shades from the left: NW13, NW15, NW18, NW20, NW22, NW25, NW30, NW35, NW43, NW45, NW47, NW50, N12 and N18

One of the main things MAC Studio Waterweight and Face and Body have in common is texture. They both have a similarly thin, watery texture, but I think the similarities really end there. They differ in terms of finish, their ability to blur pores, their coverage and their durability.


I’ve used Face and Body for years, and one thing I’ve always liked about it is how fresh and clean my skin looks after I put it on. When I work it in (I like to use a kabuki brush with a buffing motion), it becomes one with the skin and imperceptible, and once it settles down, it has a dewy finish — not shiny — that’s very distinct and beautiful.

Waterweight also becomes one with my skin, but I think the finish looks quite different. It’s much less dewy than Face and Body’s finish — more velvety — and while it still reflects a little light, it’s less obvious than Face and Body.

Pore blurring

Serum foundations usually also excel at blurring pores and softening the overall appearance of the skin, and that’s another way in which MAC Face and Body and Studio Waterweight differ.

Face and Body? Hardly any pore blurring.

Like none.

But Studio Waterweight blurs and blurs and blurs…


With Face and Body, it’s easy to build up the coverage. If you have the wherewithal, you can build it all the way from super sheer to just shy of full.. I used to do exactly that for pics all the time, but good golly, Miss Molly! — it took forever and A LOT of layers.

Studio Waterweight’s coverage isn’t as easy to build. Solid medium coverage is as far as I can get, and that’s with two or three layers. But I still think Studio Waterweight is easier to work with than Face and Body, and it definitely requires less effort to buff and blend. All I do is pat it on the skin with fingers or a BeautyBlender.


One huge advantage Face and Body often has over other foundations is its durability. It stands up to a lot, even hot days when you’re sweating bullets, or if/when you’re vigorously rubbing your skin. You can even wear it on your arms or legs, and it won’t transfer onto your clothes (but you do have to wait until it’s dry). Its durability makes it ideal for hot climates or for filming or taking pics under hot, bright lights. It holds up like a champ.

Studio Waterweight isn’t that tough, but it will last through the day (I barely see any fading after eight hours). If I rub my sleeve or a tissue against my skin, some of the product does come off. I haven’t had a chance to test it in hot weather yet, but I have worn it while filming videos in a room with five or six bright lights, and it didn’t flinch.

Which one works best?

It depends. If you’re happy with medium coverage and want hardcore pore blurring and a lightweight, moisturizing formula with good oil control, I recommend Studio Waterweight, but if you want a foundation you can build up to full coverage and need something able to withstand hot days and nights without transferring, I’d go with Face and Body.

I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, let me know. 🙂


MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation: Swatches

mac studio waterweight nc shades 1

MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation shades from the left: NC15, NC20, NC30, NC35 and NC37

mac studio waterweight nc shades 2

MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation shades: NC40, NC42, NC45 and NC50

mac studio waterweight nw shades 1

MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation shades: NW13, NW15, NW18, NW20 and NW22

mac studio waterweight nw shades

MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation shades: NW25, NW30, NW35, NW43, NW45 and NW 47

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Put this on your Christmas list right meow! — Cat Pile. It’s a game by a company named Comma, and it’s basically like reverse Jenga…but with cats.


The idea is to pile up as many cats as you can before your tower of kitties falls. The only place I’ve seen it online is Amazon, and right now it’s — aww! — unavailable. HISS! I’m gonna keep stalking this page until it’s back.


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So far, 16 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Chris25 says:

    Were these taken with flash? NC42 looks very light in the swatch.
    Chris25 recently posted … Swarovski Pearl Drop Earrings

  2. Agata says:

    I cannot wait to try this foundation! I am NW20 but NW18 looks a bit darker and might match me better. I guess I will have to check it out at the counter!
    Agata recently posted … Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.15: ​​How do you overcome blogger’s block?

  3. Elisabeth says:

    I’m so glad you did this, Karen. I was curious! Yet another foundation I will have to try based on your suggestion. Congrats again on your baby girl!

  4. Morgan says:

    Hi Karen! Thanks so much for your helpful reviews! Per your positive recommendation, I picked up MAC Waterweight foundation today. I’m already really loving the finish. However, I’m noticing that it’s not quite as forgiving with the large pores on my nose as I was hoping. I don’t notice anything with just applying the foundation, but when I apply a setting powder overtop, the powder is immediately attracted to my pores, leaving little white dots all over my nose! You’ve mentioned large pore issues in the past, so by any chance do you know what I can do to remedy this? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Morgan,

      You could do a number of different things —

      1) Try layering a smoothing face primer underneath. Pat it onto your nose first (over the pores), then layer the foundation on top, then do the powder.
      2) Adjust your ratio of foundation to powder. Try less foundation, and then your usual amount of powder.
      3) Swap out your powder for a different one. I’m guessing you’re using a transparent one because of the white dots? Maybe try one with a tint.
      4) Try a different technique of powder application. Maybe use a pressing motion and a puff instead of a brush?

      If none of these work you could always use a different foundation for your nose. I know, kind of a pain, but if you like the finish on the rest of your face, it might be an option.

      Let me know how it works out and if you have any other questions. Happy to help!

  5. Nana says:

    Hi, Karen! I’m between the Waterweight foundation and Pro longwear Nourishing. I have acne and very oily t-zone, and I live in a hot weather. My question is the Pro longwear nourishing has this “becomes one with skin” or is more noticeable on the skin than Waterweight?

    Thank you so much for this post, I was really curious to know the diffence between Face and Body and Waterweight!

  6. breyerchic04 says:

    I’m in love, and thank you for the tip the other day about MSFN, perfect! I am sticking to fingers to apply this, which is my preferred method, though I was almost sold on the specific brush for it, since so many people love it, including my favorite mua at MAC. I’ll always keep Face and Body around for situations where I really need the durability, and probably for summer dewyness, but waterweight’s slightly more matte velvetyness was perfect for fall!

  7. I just started using this one and I gotta say, I am very impressed so far! The formula is just perfect for my skin type. So light!
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Personal | It’s wedding picture time, you guys! Wedding picture time!

  8. Dione says:

    Darn I ordered NW22 cause I thought it would be between my usual NW20 (a little too light) and NW25 which is usually too dark. It looks darker than the NW25. I might just be going to MAC anyways to exchange it!

  9. Kim says:

    You’re making me think about putting aside my beloved Tarte to give this a try. Such an enabler. 🙂

    I love the kitty Jenga. We have the same type of game but with balancing sheep and balancing kiwis. They’re from a company called Tarata and the boys got them as a gift when they were small. They still love them!

  10. Fancie says:

    Glad you dediced to write up this comparison! I still don’t know which formula to try first though lol. But that’s really a makeup junkie problem. I just like the sound of both lol. Guess it’s time to grab some samples!
    Fancie recently posted … Mark Your Mate with the Yves Saint Laurent Kiss & Love Rouge Pur Couture Lipsticks

  11. ERICCA says:

    Since Mac has been changing formulas like their mac mineralize moisture , I have gone a step down from Nc 50 to Nc 45. I think I may have to do the same thing with this foundation. NC 50 looks real orange

  12. Waterweight it will be for me, the velvet finish won me over.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Recent Reads – Mr. Penumbras 24 hours book store

  13. Tatiana says:

    Thanks for the comparison. I don’t believe I’ve ever tried Face and Body. What?! A foundation I haven’t tried at least once? Lol.
    I need to find that cat game. So cute! And I bet it’s fun to play too.

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