MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream SPF 30 With Radiance Booster: Before and After

Published in: Face, MAC Makeup, Product Reviews

mac lightful c tinted cream

New MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream SPF 30 tinted moisturizer ($35, available in nine shades)

You’ve got to “C” MAC’s new de-Lightful tinted moisturizer.

Get it…? C? As in “see”?


OK, that pun was bad. 🙂 Sorry, but the product’s called Lightful C! Come on, you know I had to go there.

MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream SPF 30 With Radiance Booster: What’s it all about?

Yes, MAC has a new tinted cream/moisturizer. Officially, it’s called Lightful C Tinted Cream SPF 30 With Radiance Booster and, um…could that name be any longer and more awkward? Maybe? Probably not.

Essentially, it’s a sheer coverage tinted moisturizer with skin care benefits. It’s designed to even out your skin tone without completely covering your natural skin color, which I think is really cool, and it does so while also blurring pores, controlling oil, protecting you from sun damage, and cranking up your natural radiance factor with a barely-there, subtle sheen.

It’s also supposed to reduce the appearance of dark spots over time. So, basically, it’s everything and the kitchen sink squeezed into a 1.3-oz. tube. Available in nine shades, including Extra light (a pale alabaster), Light (a pale ivory), Light Plus (a light beige), Medium (a warm beige), Medium Plus (a tan beige), Medium Deep (a caramel beige), Dark (a deep caramel), Dark Plus (a neutral tan beige) and Dark Deep (a rich golden bronze).

Ascorbyl glucoside power!

Lightful C Tinted Cream is the latest addition to MAC’s Lightful C product line, their skin care category dedicated to subtle brightening with the antioxidant power of “C,” as in vitamin C. It contains ascorbyl glucoside, a modified version of vitamin C that combines C with glucose, which supposedly makes it more stable in skin care formulas and cosmetic products, and it’s listed up high among the ingredients.

It’s always a bummer to me when the star compound is listed down at the bottom of the ingredients, so at least in this case, there’s presumably a significant amount of it in Lightful C Tinted Cream.

About vitamin C’s skin care benefits in general…

“It has been shown to increase collagen production (including dermal collagen, which is significant for wrinkle reduction), reduce the appearance of skin discolorations, strengthen skin’s barrier response, enhance skin’s repair process, reduce inflammation, and help skin better withstand exposure to sunlight, whether protected by sunscreen or not.”

‘Tis the season for sheerer coverage

I’m still madly in love my full-coverage foundations (see: Dior), but as summer approaches, I unconsciously transition to wearing sheerer coverage more, and Lightful C Tinted Cream SPF hits that spot. I like how it evens out my skin tone without covering everything up, so my skin still looks like mine, and not like someone/something else.

Also much appreciated…

  • The slight pore-blurring effect
  • How it doesn’t break up or settle into my fine lines as the day wears on
  • How it’s so lightweight that I forget I’m wearing it sometimes
  • How it layers well on its own, and with other products. I can build it up to to medium coverage when I wear it by itself, and where I need even more coverage, I’ll just spot blend a full-coverage foundation on top, and then dust powder on top of that.
  • The faintly floral fragrance that, despite the formula containing SPF, doesn’t smell like sunscreen
  • How it blends easily and doesn’t streak
  • That it hasn’t triggered any breakouts (knocks on wood)

Before Lightful C Tinted Cream

mac lightful c tinted cream

Bare skin

After Lightful C Tinted Cream

mac lightful c tinted cream

Wearing Medium Plus

I’ve been using this off and on now for about a week and a half, which I know isn’t enough time to assess the skin care benefits, and that’s the thing about products like these — makeup that combines skin-care benefits. Sometimes it takes months to see any difference either way, and in that time I’ve moved on to other things, so I honestly temper my expectations when it comes to makeup that promises skin care benefits. For the most part, I leave that kind of skin care heavy lifting to my dedicated skin care products like Skinceuticals C+E Ferulic.


But I think that if minor dark spots are a concern of yours, this could be an easy way to incorporate something that claims it could help into your daily rotation.

mac lightful c tinted cream

Five of the nine shades. From the left: Extra Light, Medium, Medium Plus, Medium Deep and Dark Deep

Did I mention that it’s sheer?

I should stress one more time just how sheer the coverage is, and because of that, this may not be for everyone. I mean, it’s so sheer that I can alternate between Medium Plus and Medium Deep on my NC 42 skin, so if you’re looking for a tinted moisturizer but need a higher level of coverage, check out NARS Pure Radiant instead. It makes similar claims about improving the natural radiance of your skin over time and has a more dewy finish than Lightful C, so if you want a matte look, you’ll have to set it with a powder, but in terms of coverage, it’s naturally closer to medium.

I do think that MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream SPF 30 is an absolutely delightful sheer tinted moisturizer, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for natural-looking, “I just woke up like dis” skin.

PRICE: $35 for a 1.3-oz. tube
AVAILABILITY: Available now in the MAC permanent line in nine shades at MAC counters, stores and online

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 22 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. tirurit says:

    This indeed sounds like everything packed in a tiny tube!

    I have some discolorations and prefer my bases on the subtle side, so it sounds like I could fall in love with it. However, as I am the oiliest of them all, I might have to ask for a sample before committing to a whole tube and see if it stands the “I live and work on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean” test 😉

    If it doesn’t work I can always have a look into skincare with vitamin c in it and continue using my regular tinted moisturizing + blotting every couple hours *sigh*
    tirurit recently posted … The eyebrow job

    • Fieran says:

      I’m not Karen…but…. Hi. Quick question, are you like *slightly oil* or *very oily*? The reason I ask is because I used be very oily, but over time I’ve become combination dry. Back when I was oily, the Laura Mercier oil free primer + NARS’s tinted moisturizer worked quite well for a light base. Another thing that worked was YSL’s Fusion Ink foundation. It doesn’t budge. I set it with MAC’s mineralize powder to get a slightly glowy, healthy look.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

      • tirurit says:

        I am quite oily, which is a bit of an uphill battle as most foundations end disintegrating and separating on my skin. Not nice at all!

        Thank you for your recommendations though, there is always hope of finally finding a combination that works, right?

        And yes, I am crossing my fingers waiting that my skin too changes over time!
        tirurit recently posted … Joining the Lip Tar crowd: Role Play and Black Metal Dahlia

        • Fieran says:

          Yes! Definitely there’s hope. You could try using less foamy cleansers and more balm or oil types of cleansers. Cleansing gels and foams can dry out the skin and make the skin produce even more oil. You could also consider using a facial oil to balance the skin. Some options: Aesop’s Fabulous Face Oil, Pai’s Rosehip oil, Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Balm, or Fresh’s Omega oil. Good luck 🙂

  2. I tried the formule and liked it a lot! Got the wrong shade though, blegh. Judging from these swatches I should have gone with Medium Plus.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | MAC Blue Peep Fluidline & MAC Hollywood Cerise Lipstick

  3. Amy says:

    Looks gorgeous! Perfect for summer. Love the range of shades, good for so many people. I’ll be going to the mall later this week and will check it out.

    BTW Karen, I’ve been offline a lot in the last few weeks and just caught up on your last several posts. I’m so glad you’re feeling better and just want to add my support! We’re all sending you so much love all the time, whether online or off! xoxo

  4. Natasha says:

    Ohhh I shall try it at my local Sephora and check out the Nars recommendation. Loving the blog. Would you say Skinceuticals is the best you’ve tried? I’m looking for a great new skincare regime…again, love the blog!

  5. Tatiana says:

    I just tried this last weekend. I was waffling between the Extra Light and Light. I’m hoping it’s sheer, because I could really use the lightest shade, but extra light was just more pink than I wanted. I suppose I could buy both and blend them. The girl helping me said when she wanted a bit more coverage she uses Mineralize Skinfinish Natural over it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tatiana,

      I do the same thing. A layer of the Lightful C with a dusting of Mineralize Skinfinish Natural on top! It definitely helps to add more coverage, but doesn’t leave the skin looking heavy or overly “done.”

  6. I loved this new Mac product, much like Vitamin C! it is my ally since I met the skinceauticals.
    This medium coverage will be show for the summer will buy !! ah I loved the tabbys blog
    thatiane gomes recently posted … Batom M·A·C Lipstick Impassioned (A) | Resenha/Review

  7. Ruchita says:

    Ooo, I like this! It’s finally warm here and I find I don’t like the feel of heavier makeup in this type of weather. This looks perfect for a quick spring/summer look.

  8. Bertha says:

    I’d love to know how this compares to my current warm weather obsession, the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue?! Does it have similar coverage/finish?

  9. Janine says:

    It looks like an interesting product. I’ve tried a few BB and CC creams and not liked any due to the lack of shades and consistency. MAC matches my skin tone well so I would be inclined to try this!
    Janine recently posted … What Are The Best Sigma Eyeshadow Brushes?

  10. Iris says:

    Cool. I’m always on the lookout for SPF products. The second from the left looks like it may work for me.

  11. Fancie says:

    I’ve never really liked MAC foundations because they’re kinda heavy but I kinda want to try this. I like that it’s sheer though since I don’t really need much coverage or feel like spending too much time blending before work. And it looks so natural on you! It doesn’t look like you’re wearing anything at all. Looks
    like Deep Dark might actually for me too. I need to grab a sample!
    Fancie recently posted … Best Dressed at the Met Gala 2015

  12. yelena says:

    is it crazy that I like your before more? its more radiant and colorful, than the after which seems to dull your skin :/
    this is a compliment Karen, you look gorgeous without anything on your face 🙂

    unfortunately, it doesn’t seem any of these shades would work for me as they all seem to have a pink undertone whereas I look for yellow-neutral undertones.

    Thanks for the swatches!

    • Caprice says:

      YES! I agree with Yelena. You look perfectly radiant and naturally beautiful in the bare skin pic! The lightful cover, while luminous, diminished the natural dimention in your face making your complexion appear more flat with added emphasis to existing lines and wrinkles. If I were you, I would definately ditch the makeup. Only true natural beauties can get away with it, and I can honestly say you are one of those few, Karen!

  13. Ronda says:

    I swatched these at Macy’s and extra light is my color, knew it but still. Got a sample, can’t wait to try it out tomorrow!!

  14. Erin says:

    GURL! I love the way that looks. They need to sell it in a massive pump size so I can use it everywhere. I’d probably need light because EL looks super pink. Though that might be compared to your skin tone.
    Erin recently posted … Vanedo Beauty Friends Sheet Mask Vitamin

  15. Ruth says:

    Hi Karen. My co-worker recommended this to me. I am using Chanel Les Beiges at the moment and like that type of coverage. Can you tell me how this product compared to the Les Beiges? Is it worth a try or are they too similar? Which do you recommend? Thanks in advance.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth,

      I think they’re both very similar, but the MAC version is ever so slightly more luminous (not by much, however, so there’s no need to worry about a disco ball effect) and sheerer compared to Chanel. The difference is very minor, though; you really have to be looking closely to see it. I think of the MAC one as the version I’d wear on the weekends and the Chanel my weekday coverage if that makes sense. Maybe get a sample next time you’re at the MAC counter just to see? You might like the coverage. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  16. Maureen says:

    I just bought this and I think I love it! How do apply it? Brush, bender, fingers?

    And do you wear another sunscreen under it? Than you!

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