Say Hello to Glow with MAC Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder

Published in: MAC Makeup, Product Reviews

mac transparent finishing loose powder top

Are ya heading over to MAC to check out the new Colour Ready collection today? If you have some time to play at the counter, dust the new Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder ($21) on your pretty face.


MAC Colour Ready
The entire MAC Colour Ready collection

MAC says Prep+Prime Finishing Powder sets makeup, eliminates shine and makes your skin glowl while reducing the look of fine lines and the size of pores. That’s a tall order, right? So does it deliver?

Well, I’ve been using it for the past week to set DuWop Foundation of Youth Foundation ($38), and so far I’m sold!

Prep+Prime Finishing Powder looks natural when I dust it on my face with a powder brush. The finely milled powder melts right into the foundation. It never looks caked on or heavy and doesn’t leave one of those white, ashy casts.

Prep+Prime Transparent Powder on top of DuWop Foundation

MAC handled the reflective mica well in this powder. I can see a subtle but visible glow, but it’s not so obvious that I look like I work at a 24-hour discoteque.

I think the mica does help to soften the look of my pores and hide the fine smile lines at the corners of my mouth.

Oh, and after a week of use, it hasn’t broken me out, yay!

The jar’s small, but it actually holds a lot of product. In fact, you get a little bit more powder than you get with MAC’s other loose powders (0.32oz versus 0.28oz) like MAC Select Sheer Loose Powder (also $21).

MAC Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder

Price: $21 for a 0.32oz jar
Use: To set makeup, eliminate shine and add a natural glow to skin
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A

I think it’s a great powder. I hope MAC thinks about making a tinted version that looks better on me in pictures. Transparent powders tend to leave that white cast in flash photography, so if you plan to wear Prep+Prime Finishing Powder for pics, that’s something to think about.

You might like MAC Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder if…

  1. You’re concerned about the look of pores and fine lines
  2. You want a subtle glow
  3. You don’t plan to use the powder for flash photography
  4. You like the natural look of tinted moisturizers or sheer-to-medium coverage foundations

Prep+Prime Transparent Powder versus MAC Invisible Set


One more lil’ tidbit: MAC Pro makes a transparent, loose powder similar to Prep+Prime Finishing Powder called Invisible Set ($28). Both powders control oil and set makeup, but they don’t look alike on skin.

While Prep+Prime is all about the natural glow, Invisible Set has a stark, matte finish that really stands out.

Invisible Set’s great for days when I want my skin to look matte and formal, and it works well with heavier, full-coverage foundations.


I prefer Prep+Prime, on the other hand, on glowy and casual skin days when I feel like wearing tinted moisturizer or sheer foundation.

Break o’ dawn!

For some ungodly reason I’ve been getting up with the chickens for the past few days, today included, and I’m exhausted right now.

I think it’s time for a tea run! πŸ™‚

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 24 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. tali says:

    Hope you got your stuff done before your deadline Karen!!

    I dont know this whole range just doesnt call out to me. Like you I had a horrible reaction to MAC foundation.. and eventhough you havent broken out using this im still to scared to even consider trying it!!

    tali´s last blog post..MAC Sugarsweet

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tali,

      Yup, I managed to get it all done and turn it in on time. πŸ™‚

      Colour Ready seems to be one of the more tamer releases. I didn’t expect to light my world on fire, but there are some cool things. Have you used MAC powder before?

  2. Tekoa says:

    A very useful review, thanks!

    Sabrina is a three year old black and white cat. She is a very polite little lady with a quiet mew. Right now we have a few orange tabbies at the shelter. They tend to have bold personalities and love food. Perhaps its a tabby trait regardless of colour?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tekoa,

      OH MY! I think if I met her I’d fall in love. Well mannered kitties are very charming.

      What do you do at the shelter? We have one in our county that’s about 20 minutes away. Whenever I’m in the neighborhood I like to pop by and check out at the cats. I kinda want to adopt a sibling for Tabs but I don’t think he’s willing to share his gravy, LOL!

  3. tanya says:

    ooh interesting! thanks for the great review, karen πŸ™‚

    tanya´s last blog post..timeless

  4. Elena says:

    Hey Karen,

    I like the overall look of this setting powder. I think it photographs well on you, but I do agree that a tinted version can’t hurt, either. I’m glad the powder isn’t breaking you out, too. It’s weird, because a few weeks ago I took a huge risk by trying out MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid foundation again, even though every previous attempt with MAC foundations has ended horribly. For some amazing reason, it’s -not- breaking me out at all. Something must have changed in my skin, I guess…? I just let myself splurge on “Hello Flawless” from Benefit a few days ago (I had reread your review on it, lol) and am loving it, so I might hold off on trying MAC’s powder for the time being.

    I tried to imitate the eyeshadow look you have in the picture when you posted it with the original DuWop post a week ago, but I was at my parents’ house over Spring Break and forgot to bring most of makeup, including my eyeshadow bag. I ended up just using Rimmel’s Jungle Green eyeliner all around my eye instead, so I wasn’t able to take any pictures and send them over. πŸ™ I’ll be sure to send some over when I actually get the chance to recreate the look. πŸ™‚

    Life has been crazy hectic lately with me, too; I totally feel your need for tea, LOL. I hope you get lots of tea and cookies in today. πŸ˜€

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elena,

      Maybe your skin has changed! It evolves just like we do. πŸ™‚ I am glad to hear you like Hello Flawless. Do you apply it with a sponge or brush?

      How was spring break? When I was in school I’d always end up kicking at my parent’s house and I slept the entire time, LOL! I never really did the whole crazy spring break trip thing.

  5. Nosh says:

    It just looks the same as the Makeup Forever powder to me πŸ™ So I feel kind of guilty buying another one. But it looks fantastic on you!!

  6. Sylvie says:

    Hi Karen,

    It’s great that you wrote a review. I went to check it out today and I put some powder on my hand but it seemed really drying so I thought I’d skip it. But since it supposedly gives a glow and I’m a tinted moisturizer person (and I’m looking for a light powder to set it, current candidates are pressed blot, MSF natural), I think I might check P+P out again. Anything for a nice sheer glow with a bit of shine control. What might suck though is that P+P is loose and I don’t want to imagine what would happen if ever I spilled it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sylvie,

      Pressed Blot is *fantastic*. I bring it with me when I go to Hawaii because I don’t have to worry about it matching my tanned skin because it’s so sheer, ya know? It has just enough tint in it to keep it from looking chalky. It might be a better option for you since you don’t want to worry about spilling.

  7. Bj says:

    I really want this, i checked it out last night and really liked it. I was contemplating this or make up for ever hd powder. I cant quite decide but this sounds really promising for a spring or summery look. and that green shadow looks tempting as well, but i treated myself to the tahiti palette recently so i may have to restrain myself. Thanks for the review karen

    • Karen says:

      Hi BJ,

      You’re welcome! I think this powder is perm so you have some time to think about and save for it. πŸ™‚

      How’s your Thursday been?

  8. mayya says:

    hi Karen
    love your blog. I’m getting married in a few months time and I would love it if you could tell me a foundation of finishing powder that works well with flash photography.
    I currently use MAC’s studio fix fluid with their blot powder since I have oily skin but the flash pictures turn out awful, combined with red eyes, there’s a lot of editing that I need to do on my pictures πŸ™

  9. Gabrielle says:

    I don’t notice a white cast karen, that powder suits your skin pretty well. But I think your undereye concealer is a tad too white, what did you use there ?

    I know you never get enough sleep so you’re always looking for a good concealer, did you try the famous amazing concealer ?

    I like it very much and I have the same problem for my undereye.

    Thank you for your wonderfull blog and sorry for my english !(it’s a post from France)

  10. Elena says:

    Hey Karen,

    I apply Hello Gorgeous with a large powder brush and use it as a finishing powder over my MAC foundation. Like you mentioned in the review, it looks very natural but at the same time is a less-than-perfect color match when used alone. I’m surprised that neither the MAC or the Benefit has broken me out, since their foundations used to disagree a lot with my skin; it really must have evolved, LOL. I’m glad you had reviewed it. πŸ˜€

    I spent Spring Break passed out on my parents’ couch watching TV (they finally have cable!! woo! more reasons to visit! JK, haha). When I wasn’t sleeping, I would eat dinners with friends, go grocery shopping, or do research for next quarter’s classes. I’m not much of a party animal for an undergrad, lol.

    Hope you and Tabs are doing well today. πŸ˜€ Did you get your tea?

  11. Stacie says:

    Hey Karen! This one looks interesting, I may have to try it! Lord knows my pores need covering… I need a new foundation, as well, since mine is breaking me out. I think I’ll stay away from MAC, though, since so many ladies have said it breaks them out. I’ve been wanting to try Diorskin liquid mineral foundation, but it’s so pricey… Have you tried that one, Karen?

  12. jane says:

    i really wanna try that mac prep+prime powder.. maybe instead of studying…i’ll go to mac this weekend πŸ˜€

  13. Stephie says:

    Ooh! Looks very promising. I am guessing the Prep and Prime primer that was released didn’t quite shake your world like this powder did. So this will be on my list to try when I visit MAC to pick up the Rose Romance lovelies later this month πŸ˜› Btw, I was wondering if you preferred creme in your coffee or modesty from MAC’s cremesheen as a pink nudy color. My friend’s getting me the Benefit ‘Girl’s nNight In’ set w/ Lady’s Choice lipstick so should I bother even picking up a nudy pink cremesheen to begin with?

  14. cloudburst says:

    I think I’m going to pick up Prime & Prime powder after work!

  15. Karen B says:

    I’m going to look into a powder to just give my look a bit of polish (as I don’t wear foundation). Do you think this would be a good one for me or should I take a look at their compact blot powder? I’m kinda torn now as I know nothing about powder… nor foundation by the way.

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