I've Tried So Many Foundations, But This Is the Most Versatile One I Own

Ask any beauty editor or product obsessive where they bought their first proper foundation and, chances are, it will have been from MAC. I have vivid memories of visiting its Carnaby Street store circa 2006 to get colour-matched for a foundation after reading about how all of the top makeup artists had it in their backstage kits. I'd saved up my wages from my Saturday job to make the pilgrimage, and I have to say, I was immediately hooked. At the time, it was the most expensive makeup product that I'd ever bought, but it turned out to be a serious game changer for me in terms of shade and formulation. Up until that point, the affordable high-street foundations that I used would always leave my skin looking too orange or too pink. Finding foundations to match pale skin with yellow undertones was hit-and-miss, to say the least. As for my darker-skinned friends and family? Finding a suitable foundation shade back then was basically impossible—unless you went to MAC.

The aforementioned product was MAC's Studio Face and Body (£32), a brilliant beauty-insider foundation, but it's not the one that I'm here to talk to you about today. While that was my first taste of MAC foundations—my gateway drug, if you will—my real buzz came when I discovered MAC's Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation (£27). Honestly, since making that initial purchase, I have tried hundreds of different foundations, but this one is different. In fact, I'm calling it: MAC Studio Fix is the most versatile foundation I own.

When I think of cult foundations, this buildable formulation is up there at the top. It's MAC's best-selling foundation formula, so I'm not alone in my love of it. But what makes it just so popular? “If you want a foundation that adapts to you, then Studio Fix Fluid is what you want," explains Dominic Skinner, MAC global senior artist. "Apply this foundation lightly for a sheer ‘no makeup’ [look], or build up to a ‘full beat’ coverage look. It’s the perfect foundation that suits your mood, and with 67 shades, there’s a shade for all skin tones."

 

Yes, in a beauty industry where we're encouraged to build product wardrobes—a mascara for every occasion and a lipstick for each outfit—MAC's Studio Fix Fluid Foundation stands out for its adaptability. Yet a lot of my friends and fellow beauty editors share the misconception that this is a basic, full-coverage foundation. Oh, how wrong they are. Whether you like a sheer, dewy-skin look or a natural, matte finish, this foundation does it all. 

Keep scrolling to see the three ways that I wear it.

#1: Natural Radiance
MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation: Natural Radiance

Photo:

MICA RICKETTS FOR WHO WHAT WEAR

This glowy makeup look is the kind that I go for on a daily basis, particularly on workdays when I want to look my best when jumping between video calls. To create this natural, luminous base, I sprayed my makeup brush with MAC's Fix+ Magic Radiance (£23) and then dipped it into the MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation and buffed it into my skin. I absolutely love how healthy this combination leaves my skin looking. Plus, as someone with acne-prone skin, I like that this foundation controls excess oil and shine without feeling or looking drying.

#2: Full Finish
MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation: Full Finish

Photo:

MICA RICKETTS FOR WHO WHAT WEAR

MAC's Studio Fix Fluid Foundation is brilliantly buildable, meaning you can create a classic, full-on foundation look simply by layering it up. This is the kind of makeup style that I typically go for on an evening out or a special occasion, when I want my makeup to last for a long time. I used a damp makeup sponge to press the foundation into my skin, paying special attention to my cheeks and chin where I have some active breakouts that I wanted to cover. The brilliant thing about this foundation is that it's specifically formulated to not cause acne—ideal if, like me, you're often nervous about products that might worsen your spots. It also boasts skin-smoothing properties that really help to minimise pores and diffuse fine lines. I finished with a spritz of MAC's Fix+ Magic Radiance to keep my skin looking fresh but flawless.

#3: Barely There
MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation: Barely There

Photo:

MICA RICKETTS FOR WHO WHAT WEAR

Lastly, with many of us spending a lot more time at home these days, it's natural that consumers are gravitating towards tinted moisturisers and CC creams in place of foundation. However, MAC's Studio Fix Fluid Foundation can even fulfil the desire for a barely-there, no-makeup look. In this instance, I generously doused my skin with a few spritzes of the MAC Fix+ Magic Radiance for a hydration boost, then I used my fingertips to blend in a pea-sized amount of foundation all over my face. Yes, some of my scarring is still visible—you could layer up the foundation in areas that you personally want more coverage—but I like how fresh and even my skin tone looks for days spent at home using this fuss-free technique. 

Shop the MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation:

With 67 shades to choose from, it can be hard to know which one will be your perfect match when shopping online. Luckily, MAC has created a virtual try-on tool which will match you to your perfect shade using your phone camera. You can even see what the coverage looks like before and after and adjust the foundation depending on whether you like it deeper, lighter, or with different undertones. The tool matched me to NC15, which is perfect in real life—I'm seriously impressed. 

Shop my other MAC complexion favourites:

This versatile hydrating spray is enriched with skin-brightening vitamin C to add glow. I love mixing it with different foundations to create different finishes.

Much like the foundation, the Studio Fix Concealer offers versatile, buildable coverage. It covers everything from blemishes to under-eye shadows and does so without any hint of caking. In fact, it's basically imperceptible once it's applied—you just look like you have naturally great skin.  

This is a brilliant makeup sponge for applying foundation in difficult areas like around the nose and chin. I like running it under water first, as I think it helps to create a full-coverage yet dewy finish.

A powder-foundation hybrid that controls shine and imparts an ultra-matte finish. I layer this with the Studio Fix Liquid Foundation if I want my makeup to last all day and all night or wear it solo if I want coverage in a rush.

A cult product when it comes to glow. I use this beneath makeup to boost luminosity or pat it over foundation for more intense radiance.

The combination of the Studio Fix Foundation, the Fix+ Radiance Spray, and this short-bristled makeup brush is a dream for dewy, even coverage.

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