MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation

Published in: Face, MAC Makeup

mac studo waterweight foundation

MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation from the left in NC15, NW22, NC35 and NC50

MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation ($33). I’ve been daydreaming about and looking forward to this one for what feels like ages, and not just because I’m a water-baby at heart, but also because it’s a serum formula, and I absolutely do not ever want to go back to the time when most formulas looked and felt heavy, caked-on and obvious (perish the thought!). Serum foundation formulas usually feel lightweight and slippery (the good ones), like you’re slipping into a fine silk chemise, ooh-la-la. You do feel something when you’re wearing them…but it isn’t annoying or obvious.


Serum foundations also excel at pore blurring and disguising fine lines and little imperfections. So yeah, since those are among my daily adversaries (the struggle is so real), I was all over this one.

MAC Studio Waterweight is a bonafide serum foundation, and if you like natural-looking, moisturizing medium-coverage foundations with lightweight formulas, put it on your iPhone Notes list of products to try ASAP.

First things first, the finish.


I’m gonna call it a sheen, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it dewy, because it isn’t shiny at all. It’s more refined than that, and velvety. Very natural looking.

As one of those lucky ladies with combination skin, I really appreciate that. My skin just can’t make up its mind! It’s oily on my forehead, dry on my cheeks and acne-prone along my jawline and around the edges of my forehead.

Oh — and there are also noticeable pores and fine lines up in the mix.

mac studo waterweight foundation dropper

MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation from the left in NC15, NW22, NC35 and NC50

I’ve been wearing and testing Studio Waterweight in shade NC42 for a few days, and I’m very happy with it. In many ways, I like it more than Dior Diorskin Nude Air Serum, which I used a ton this summer.

Other than the big difference in price (Diorskin Nude Air is $53 versus $33 for MAC Waterweight), Waterweight also comes in three times as many shades (25 shades versus eight, most of which have peach or pink undertones).

mac studio waterweight ingredients 2

Active ingredients…

Diorskin Nude Air does have one significant advantage over MAC Studio Waterweight, however, and that’s flexibility. I can easily work up to full coverage with Nude Air when I want to, but I can’t seem to get there with MAC Waterweight. MAC calls the coverage flexible; I’d characterize it as more medium. One layer gives me coverage on the sheer side of medium. Two or three layers takes it firmly up to medium, but when I’ve tried any more layers than that, even though it does build up beautifully, it doesn’t work all the way up to full-coverage. I can’t get it completely opaque.

But ya know what? For everyday wear, I’m cool with that. More often than not, I’d reach for MAC Waterweight, but for pics and video — and I’m wearing MAC Sutdio Waterweight in this video here — I think I prefer Diorskin Nude Air. Sometimes I just need the fuller coverage.

mac studio waterweight ingredients 2

More ingredients…

If you decide to give MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation a try, and I hope you do, I recommend applying it directly on your skin with your fingers using a pressing and rolling motion to blend it in. A BeautyBlender works great, too, but I feel like I end up using more product with the sponge.

Also, if you have MAC Mineralize Skinfinish at home, try using it to set this foundation. The two of them make beautiful music together… Very natural. Not cakey at all.

I think I may have mentioned this, but in the video at the top, I’m wearing Studio Waterweight in shade NC42.

Products mentioned

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 42 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Heidi says:

    Sounds like my kind of finish and coverage. I’ll have to get over to a MAC counter and play around with it at some point.

  2. Rachel R. says:

    Very interesting, but NC15 is still too dark for me. No love for super-pale girls. 🙁

    • Karen says:

      Aww, bummer. I hope this one’s a hit, because maybe they’ll expand the line even more to include your shade. Maybe just try NC15 for fun to see if you like the texture and finish? You could always mix it into a lighter shade, or even with something white (Face & Body White or Chanel Le Blanc, for instance) to lighten it a few steps.

      • Rachel R. says:

        I have a white mixer, but I’m wondering if that will decrease it’s water resistance. I’ll look into it. Thanks!

        • Karen says:

          Oh nice! Yeah, you might want to try it. I don’t think this one is meant to be water resistant; I think the water refers to the weightlessness. But hey, if was water resistant I’d be down for that too!

          • Rachel R. says:

            Oops! I probably have it mixed up something else then. LMAO. Old age and distraction are not a good mix. The white mixer should be good. I’ll check it out next time I’m at Sephora. Thanks again.

          • Karen says:

            No worries girl! I hope you do try it. I think you’ll like it. 🙂

  3. breyerchic04 says:

    I’m obsessed. I went today to try it, and had to have it! I didn’t buy the brush though it seemed awesome so I’ll pick it up later. And great tip on msf, you do mean the natural one right? That’d be so cool!

    I’m just too cheap (or young) to buy the similar products from Dior.

    • Karen says:

      The brush is soooo soft! It’s a fun extra to have I guess, although I do like this applied with fingers.

      And yes, with the MSF, I mean the Mineralize Skin Finish Natural. I wear Medium Tan. Together teh two are magic!

  4. Rachel R. says:

    Oops! I probably have it mixed up something else then. LMAO. Old age and distraction are not a good mix. The white mixer should be good. I’ll check it out next time I’m at Sephora. Thanks again.

  5. Lulle says:

    I really like this serum foundation trend, I think we never had so many light, skin-like foundations to choose from before! For the price it sounds like a really good quasi-dupe of Dior Nude Air Serum, which I tried and really liked (although I ended up buying YSL Touche Eclat Foundation because it gives me more coverage).
    Lulle recently posted … Hawaiian Beauty!

  6. Pamela says:

    Gahhh, you’re my skin twin haha. Same shade and apparently oily/dry spots as well.

    I’m going to have to check this one out, great review 🙂

  7. Windie says:

    Hi Karen!
    How does this compare with Laura Mercier’s Smooth Finish Flawless Fluid foundation?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Windie,

      The finish is slightly more shiny compared to Flawless Fluide; it’s definitely not dewy though (more like a velvet). Flawless Fluide is a straight up matte. HTH, and let me know if you have any other questions. 🙂

  8. Karen says:

    I picked up this foundation over the weekend. Absolutely love it, new holy grail! Thanks for the review!

  9. Chelsea says:

    Your skin looks lovely! The only foundation I currently own is the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light, which is really great for everyday. I need to pick up some legit foundation at some point, but I don’t want to spend too much since I almost never wear it.

  10. Tulipthecat says:

    I’ll try using my fingers to apply. I’ve tried it with a brush and a sponge. I can’t figure out which one looks better

  11. Gloria says:

    Hi Karen! I saw the review on YouTube a de decided to come here and leave comment. My current favorite has to be Burberry Fresh Glow. It’s sheer to medium coverage and I think it’s also buildable. The finish is a little bit luminous and you feel skin super smooth and hydrating. I think it would be perfect for California dry weather! It is also very forgiving for mature skin, you need to try it out!!! I think their shade range is tricky but the newer formula has some darker color. Please let me know your thoughts if you have a chance to check it out. 🙂 btw, the price of MAC foundation is really reasonable. I’ll get a sample next time. SKINLIKE is always tempting.

  12. Kalli says:

    I have normal to dry skin that’s been a little breakout prone lately, but I think I’ve got it under control at the moment. Anyway, for daily use I’ve been using L’Oreal True Match Lumi in W3 and setting it with MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural in Light Plus. I used to set True Match Lumi with this NYX loose mineral setting powder, but the SkinFinish leaves such a nicer look! For “going out” makeup or when I want something a little more finished, I use MAC Matchmaster in 2.0, also set with Mineralize SkinFinish Natural.

    When I got the email about this new MAC foundation, I was really excited! I think when I finish up my bottle of Matchmaster, I’ll try this one out. I’ve been intrigued by Nars and Dior’s serum like foundations, but this one is more in my price range.
    Kalli recently posted … Target Beauty Boxes

  13. Katie says:

    Yeah! I have a feeling this’ll be just my cup of tea! I already do really well with MAC foundations on all ends of the finish spectrum, and I’ve been looking for a great serum-y foundation. I’ll definitely try to get a sample next time I’m in the store.

  14. Ann B. says:

    Looks nice! I’m really liking the MAC waterproof nourishing foundation. By the way, I love your necklace. Can you share any info about it? Thanks!

  15. Alex says:

    I’ve actually been looking for a good foundation lately. I usually go for the Make Up Forever HD foundation but I’ve realized that during the winter months dewier foundations tend to cracks and sit on top of my skin because of the temperature, and it looks like I’m wearing a mask… so I’m so excited to try this.

  16. Agata says:

    I definitely need to get a sample of it first but it sounds like a lovely foundation. I really liked the Diorskin Nude Air.
    Agata recently posted … Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.15: ​​How do you overcome blogger’s block?

  17. tati breda says:

    I want! Karen loved the novelty
    Great day

    tati breda recently posted … Artdeco High Performance Lifting Foundation – Base Líquida Cor Reflecting Almond

  18. tati breda says:

    I want! Karen loved the novelty
    Great day !!

    tati breda recently posted … Artdeco High Performance Lifting Foundation – Base Líquida Cor Reflecting Almond

  19. Just in time! I finished a foundation and so a new purchase is justified.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … BISC Volume 15 – Tips how to overcome bloggers block

  20. Bea says:

    I miss the photos. I am old school but haven’t got into the youtube beauty videos.

  21. musical says:

    Diorskin Nude Air serum is my current favorite, followed by D&G powder. I bought the Dior one upon your recommendation and it’s been purrfect :).

    P.S. Love your videos :). <3

  22. Tatiana says:

    I’m so glad you reviewed this. Been wanting to try it and not sure it was the right thing for my mature, slightly dry in spots, slightly oily in spots skin that has pores and fine lines. Sounds like it may work for me, especially since light to medium coverage foundations look the best on my skin. Full coverage usually settles into my lines and pores and looks like, well foundation, not skin.
    The ones I rotate through the most are Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk (for special occaisions) and the Luminessence CC Cream, for every day sheer coverage. I also wear Cle de Peau Radiant Fluid (which has been sitting rather oddly on top of my skin lately) and MAC Mineralize Moisture Foundation.

    • Tatiana says:

      Oh, I forgot to ask what primer you use with this? I’ve tried it two times now and I’m not sure it’s working with my skin. So maybe it’s my sunscreen or primer?

  23. Diana says:

    What lip color are you wearing in the video? I didn’t hear you mention it but it looks great.

  24. Erin says:

    I like the sound of this foundation but I’d have to swatch all of the lightest shades and pray.

    As for what I’m wearing these days, it’s mostly NARS SG in Siberia and NARS TM in Terra Nueve mixed together.

    I have ones from Tarte and the Complexion Rescue from BM, but now that it’s cooler out and what little sun I picked up is fading, they are a touch too dark. The Tarte also breaks me out in weird lumps if I use it too often. I had the same problem with the Maracuja Oil after about a straight week of use so I think my skin just doesn’t like it.

    I have a new MUFE sample to play with, though!
    Erin recently posted … Bite Frozen Berries Plum Matte Crème Lipstick

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Do you know when/where the N12 will come out? So far I’ve only seen it on MAC’s Asian sites. The NC15 is just too dark. 🙁

  26. Nicole says:

    Here’s hoping this is nothing like Nars’ All Day Weightless Luminous Foundation, that stuff seriously hated my skin or vice versa. For foundation I’m currently into mixing Chanel’s CC Cream with Stila’s One Step Correct and blending it all over for a nice, even finish. I’ll then set it with a light dusting of Chanel’s Vitalumiere Loose Powder Foundation after concealing for a bit more coverage and colour. Seems to be working so far, but I’d like to switch to something a bit lighter with summer around the corner here in Australia.

  27. Adele says:

    Thanks for the review Karen. Will definitely give this a try. Currently my favourite for my combo skin is the GA Luminous Silk & Makeup Atelier Air HD foundations.
    Why don’t you lighter skinned ladies try the Cover Fx Drops to lighten up your shades? Supposed to be pure pigment so shouldn’t theoretically alter the other properties much.

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