Thursday, October 13th, 2011

MAC Matchmaster Foundation
MAC Matchmaster Foundation

MAC Matchmaster Foundation

MAC Matchmaster Foundation ($32.50 for 1.18 fl. oz.) is a buildable, medium-coverage liquid foundation with a “moisturizing demi-matte finish.” It’s supposed to have “line-reducing soft-focus powders” and “translucent pigments to enable a fully personalized finish influenced by the subtleties of your own skin’s undertone.”

It carries a SPF 15 rating, and the active ingredients are octinoxate (3.4%) and titanium dioxide (1.0%). With the low amount of titanium dioxide, you should be able to get away with it in photographs, though for really big, special occasions (e.g. weddings, graduations, etc.) you might opt for a more photography-appropriate formula. I didn’t notice sufficient change when I took numerous photos wearing it.

I tested shade 3.0 initially, which is supposed to suit NC30s, but it was a third to half a shade too dark and yellower than I needed. I think 2.0 is a better match, especially as we get into winter, but in some lighting, it seems a touch too light. Usually, if a foundation runs light, I’ll opt for the slightly too-light variation and use a setting powder in a shade that’s a closer match–because then it tends to come together as a solid match all around. From what I’ve heard from other readers, 1.0 may match those who are lighter than the traditional NC/NW15 shades.

I was testing this when my skin felt drier than normal (it’s typically normal-to-dry but closer to normal), and I felt like it emphasized the visible pores on my cheeks and had clingy feeling. If you have drier patches (I sometimes get them around my temples), it is not forgiving at all. The result was not entirely unexpected, given the demi-matte finish–the rule of thumb has always been dewier finishes for drier skin, matter finishes for oilier skin. I wanted to wait until my skin normalized to try it again, which is why the review took longer than normal, and I liked it better when my skin was at its usual normal-to-dry character.

The coverage is light to medium, but medium coverage takes a little more product to achieve, so it is less comfortable and heavier to wear if you need medium coverage. It has a good consistency where it doesn’t feel thick, but it’s not watery or loose. I used about a pump to pump and a half for total application. I tried various applicators, from sponges to brushes (109, 130, 187, 193), and I preferred the 109 or 193 (really like how it gets into the nooks and crannies so well!).

I get around eight hours of wear with this foundation, which is solid. I wore it longer, and by the tenth hour, it was a little faded and had moved around a touch, but it was still mostly intact (a little powder would have brought it back up to par). There is a faint chemical scent that I noticed when I first applied the product to my skin, but I did not detect it as I wore it throughout the day. I’d recommend this foundation more for those with normal, combination, or oily skin types. If you have dry skin but not patches or flakes, then you might like this one still–but I’d say it’s not a good match if you do suffer from drier patches/flaking.

While it’s not appropriate for me when my skin is on the drier side, I didn’t have those issues when I tested it for a second run with normal skin.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it; it wasn’t my holy grail formula.  It’s worth checking out, and overall, a welcomed addition to MAC’s foundation line-up.

The Glossover


MAC Matchmaster Foundation Review, Photos, Swatches

It should be a good foundation for normal, combination, and oily skin types. I caution it for those with very dry to dry skin types, because it is less forgiving around larger pores, unevenness in skin texture, and dry patches. It's light to medium coverage, wears comfortably, and doesn't feel heavy when worn.











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96 thoughts on “MAC Matchmaster Foundation Review, Photos, Swatches

  1. Joanne

    Christine, I definately I agree with you with regard to it being for normal, combination and oily skin. I have combination and happen to LOVE it due to its light weight (when applied so) and ability to stay put all day. Although this is totally off topic, your nails look amazing! Any tips to keeping them so healthy and growing them so long?

    • Yep – it just has a few things that when I had some drier skin (not severely, but noticeably Saharan-like!), it didn’t feel right – it had the earmarks of something not a great match for dry skin but the elements that make it less suitable for dry make it more suitable for oilier skin types.

      Re: nails — I am lucky! I don’t take anything special for them, and I don’t use treatments. I use a glass nail file to shape/file as appropriate, nail clipper when they’re too long to file down.

  2. I think it’s worth checking out (for me).

  3. Julia

    I’ve got to tell you Christine, I don’t love this foundation on you. You have such glowy skin and this makes you look a bit mask-y. I think you actually look prettier in the no-foundation photo!

  4. Emma

    How is this compaired to the face and body foundation?

  5. From the pictures, it does look like it has a demi-matte finish. It doesn’t look like you applied setting powder (which is a good thing because then we can see the true finish of the foundation), but if you did apply setting powder, do you think the foundation will last longer than 8 hours?

    • It lasts 8 hours without, about 9 with. It’s already so matte, and I’m not at all oily, so you might have more of a difference if ou had really oily skin!

  6. This foundation definetly looks as if it would be better suited to combination skin. I’ve got quite oily skin and i think this looks as if it would just look greasy on my face. I think i would proberly need to apply a powder on top of this. For the rite skin type it would proberly look really nice. Can i just say i love the shape of your eyebrows.

  7. I have been anxiously awaiting your review on this one! This first caught my attention because I’m super pale and can’t seem to find a foundation that’s a true match so the 1.0 shade sounded very appealing. I purchased this a few days ago and it arrived today so I’m really excited to try it out!

    P.S. I think it looks great on you – very natural looking!

  8. Celia

    I think my skin is definitely changing. I’ve been combination for as long as i can remember but lately my cheeks are quite dry.
    I loved this foundation to start with but now am noticing it seems to settle into pores regardless of using primer (i was using mac prep + prime as recommended by the girl at MAC) also tried the clinique pore minimiser one. Also doesn’t matter how I apply. Fingertips were no good and i found a flat foundation brush or a small stippling brush the best for me.
    But… the finish only an hour after application looks patchy and as i said, sinks right into pores and looks nasty.

    The one thing i will say about it is that there was no oil break through at all for me around my chin, nose or forehead and that’s a bonus. I also don’t use a powder with this. It seems to dry powdery enough on me.

    Christine do you have any suggestions for a better primer or different technique to get better wear out of this without the ugly pore craters that are going on for me? I have noticeable pores around my nose and a little on he cheeks but this literally does show every pore on my face in a very unforgiving way !

    • Hi Celia,

      If you don’t need a lot of coverage on your cheeks, you could try spritzing your brush with a little water to give the foundation more slip and move – as well as reduce the amount of product on your cheeks where the pores are more noticeable. Exfoliation 1-2 times a week may also be helpful :)

      • nitnot

        Hi Christine, what would you recommend as good exfoliating products? Aside from Clarisonic and too expensive items.

        • Some of my favorite brands (in general) from mass are Olay and Aveeno. You can find good daily scrubs, which I wouldn’t say to use daily necessarily, but will work well for gentle exfoliation. I also like Kiehl’s for more mid-to-high end for their daily scrub as well.

      • Celia

        Thanks Christine. I want to love this foundation (mostly because of how much i paid for it! But also because of the reviews) and I was thinking it was more to do with my application than the foundation itself. I will try what you suggested. I’m 32 and thinking of some microdermabrasion or skin peel series from Aveeda but some exfoliation in the mean time might help. I did notice a difference in my skin texture and smoothness after using the Clinique 7 day scrub so I might go back to that. Thanks heaps for getting back to me. I appreciate it :)

    • eurocentrix

      Sorry C to hijack the forum, but to answer your enquiry, I use the most amazing product: Tony Moly Pore Egg (Sounds funny,the egg is just reference to the packaging.., it is amazing for pores and lines..

  9. I tested the 1.0 in store but it still darker them my skin tone. I will say it’s lighter than NC/NW15, I would say it would be a shade that is closer to 10 range.

    I which means I really am an NC5. x(

      • It’s getting there but it was a neutral tone foundation on my ultra fair olive shin. It only looks orange because it was darker then my skin. Honestly the need to get more white foundation options in their products but seeing a 0.5 might help. :)

        I do like the formulation though and it’s a fair bit more coverage then mac other liquid foundation I find. ^_^

        • artemis

          having pale olive skin sucks :( i know i can never find a match. not with the available stuff. even if they happen to be light enough, they’re pinky :))

    • Irene

      I tested 1.0 too, and it was also too dark for me and too pink :(
      I agree, definitely lighter than NC/NW15 (that one looks completely orange on me, this one was just dark pink) but still darker than NC/NW5.

  10. Deolinda

    I first tried in 1.5 which was too light and then in 2, which was closer to my skin color(I usually wear NC25).
    when I first opened the sample container, the first thing that I noticed was the smell. It had a strong chemical smell. I figured that the smell would eventually go away, but it didn’t. I felt a little nauseous all day.
    I have a very oily T-zone and this foundation worked great for my oily nose. It held up most of the day without having to apply any blot powder.

    Unfortunately I can’t get over the smell of this foundation. I had to wash my brushed twice in order to get rid of the smell.
    I’m going back to my MUFE HD foundation.

    • Karen

      Hi. I also have oily T-zone and use mac studio fix fluid because mac recommends this for oily/combination skin. I was wondering, how do you like your mufe hd foundation because I was thinking of switching. Or maybe I’ll try this one by mac.. I can’t decide!!!!

  11. I’m curious about this. I have very pale skin, and finding a good match for foundation is really difficult for me. I’m also currently on a serious budget, which is an added level of difficulty. I want to try Illamasqua’s Skin Base because it seems to go pretty pale, but after reading this and I may give 1.0 a try. I’ll be at a mall tomorrow, so hopefully they’ll have it at the MAC counter to try. I also have pretty oily skin. Thank you for the review, Christine! This is some excellent information!

  12. MichelleChefNYC

    This foundaton clogged up my skin in a way few foundations have ever done before. The ony other foundation I have used that gave me this level of clogged pores and then resulting breakouts was Makeup Forever HD foundation. Since this formula is described as having encapsulated color spheres, I am guessing it is similar to the technology used in MUFE HD, and obviously those types of silocone fomulations send my skin into a tizzy… too bad, because I actually rather liked the way this wore on my skin. I too had the issue of the 3 being too dark, even though it is what the MAC sales associate recommended. I went back and got the 2 and it was a perfect match, but in the end I had to return it anyway due to the clogged pore issue. I feel like this has a tendency to oxidize, which made the 3 look fine in the store, and then about 15 minutes later it was way too dark.

  13. Georgina Maurice

    I totally love this foundation, I bought it a few weeks ago and I been using it everyday. It makes my skin feel and look amazing, I can’t find anything wrong with it.

  14. Danielle J.

    What lipstick are you wearing in the pictures? It looks great!

    • I believe it’s MAC Fleshpot!

      • I am Shade 3 as well and I’ve been wearing flesh pot lately too. I’m working on a review as well. Interesting what you said about the foundation, my co workers weren’t crazy about it on me. They liked how natural it looked, but it ended up looking a little light depending on the application can change. When I applied with fingers, it was super light weight almost like a tinted moisturizer. When applied with the MAC blender, it was a little heavier. When applied with a brush, it’s in the middle.

        I say best bet with fingers. Thanks for this :)

  15. Z

    Yeah…uhh…not only is my skin insanely dry, but silicones break it out. So, yeah, definitely won’t be picking this one up. Thanks for the review!

  16. Hmm… I was looking forward to this because NC/NW 15 are too dark for me, but my skin is so dry so this would probably make it even worse. Also I have ginormous pores. XD Oh, well… but this would be better for oiler skin.

  17. shani

    hi christine, your pics come out fab! can you please tell me what lens you use mostly? i’m an aspiring photographer and your self portraits are gorgeous!

    • I usually end up using the 60mm, which I use for products, because I hate changing out lenses – basically lip close-ups have to be macro, and then I’d be changing lenses to do the face photo, then right back for another lip swatch! 60mm is not really a portrait lens. I’d recommend the 35mm or 50mm for that!

      • shani

        thank you so much!!! i seriously use your blog for all my makeup shopping before heading out. you do an amazing job. very inspiring! i can’t wait to get my hands on some of those lenses you mentioned. i have the 50mm but never thought of the 60mm. can’t wait! <3

  18. Cupcake888

    Hi Christine,

    Can you name some “photography-ready” foundations?


  19. Johanna

    I love this foundation! I have problems finding a good color match for my skin in mac´s other foundations. I have the match master in the color 1.0 and it´s a little bit lighter then my pro longwear in nc15. I think it wears really well! It last almost as long as my pro longwear foundation, and I got combination to oily skin. But I need a good concealer when I use the match master, I wouldn´t mind a little more coverage.. 😉 But I still like it!

  20. Leslie

    Hmm, just wondering how other very oily girls have been handling this foundation. I was really excited to try it because although Pro Longwear holds up really well on my skin, it’s a little too heavy for everyday wear and everyone was saying this would work great on normal to oily skin. I’m an NC20-25 and I picked up shade 1.5 (it’s just a little too light) and I’ve tried every primer and setting powder combination with it, but I just can’t get it to stop making me oily. The finish is beautiful for about 20 minutes until oil starts to breakthrough, and then it just seems to slide around on my face until I end up blotting it off throughout the day. I’ve noticed that it does seem to work better on bare skin as opposed to primed skin, but that’s kind of a no-go for someone as oily as me.

    • Brian McD aka Roulette

      Question? Are you using the regular P+P Skin primer? I might suggest the Refined Pore Zone primer for your nose or areas with large pores. It has salicylic acid and mattifiers to help clean out pores, shrink them, and ALSO makes products adhere awesomely. Also, the four new colored primers are also made for oily skin and from what I hear work really well if you are oily and need any color correcting or highlighting.

  21. Doll

    Thanks for reviewing this!

  22. Amy

    I was so excited for this foundation launch despite the more matte finish since I thought finally maybe a liquid foundation light enough for my skin! Too bad 1.0 was still too dark and yellow :(

  23. I got this a few weeks ago and I’m not a huge fan. I find it quite heavy and I wouldn’t call it light-medium coverage on me, but then everyone’s skin is different!

  24. Zee

    I bought this foundation and i like it alot!For me, its comparable to my Makeup forever Matte Velvet plus. I like the finish it gives and makes my skin appear smooth and soft! I do have oily skin and it definately does control it. And what i like is that I don’t have to wear a setting powder after. Thumbs up!

  25. I went to my local Nordstroms and got samples of this make up. I usually like Mac but this make up was a loser. They couldn’t match my color so gave me 2 samples to mix together. I have combination skin and usually do not have a problem applying makeup but this application was splotchy. It did a good job of magnifying my pores. I was not a happy camper. I’m glad I didn’t buy this.

  26. Ashley G

    HI Christine!

    I was wondering how this foundation holds up in comparison to the pro-longwear foundation. I do love the prolongwear, but I wonder if I should make a switch if this one is any better?

    Thanks for your in-depth review!! :):)

  27. Mariella

    I have this in shade 1.5 and I love it. I think it must might be my favourite liquid foundation. Looks great (natural but like my skin just happens to be perfect!), good but not too heavy coverage and it applies well-easily and quickly with good blendability (if that’s a word). My skin is on the dry side except for my t-zone and that’s what I love about the foundation – it lasts really well on my t-zone (which is also where I have redness and broken capillaries that I want to cover). Re the photos of you – I think the foundation would look a whole lot better if you weren’t wearing such a nude lipstick…without lippie or with something that had a bit more colour, I think the foundation would actually look nicer.

  28. Jayleen

    I’ve heard alot of people say that MAC foundations (not this one specifically) have broken them out before… so I’m very hesistant with purchasing a foundation from them

    • Steph

      I have heard this as well, and it is my personal experience. Clogs my pores like no tomorrow and makes my blackheads outrageous. But you’ll never know until you try, so don’t write it off just yet! Even though it didn’t work for my skin the finish was beautiful.

  29. Selena

    MY HOLY GRAIL! I’ve had Nars, Bobbi Brown, MUFE, other MAC, Vichy, Bare Minerals, Shiseido, etc, you name it. I have Normal to Oily skin. EVERY other foundation I’ve used has left me shiny within a few hours. This keeps me shine free and does not move! Buildable for me without being cakey. I am in love. Oh and it has actually cleared up my mild acne! Maybe from the oil absorbing properties? <3

  30. Kasey

    WOW. I am so glad I didn’t buy this foundation. You look ghostly in the photos; not sure why this is not mentioned because it is VERY obvious my gosh. The “leave it” ratings explain it all. I will also LEAVE IT! Another MAC fail.

  31. Abril

    I’m loving your eyebrowns here Christine! And I can’t wait to try Matchmaster! The only foundation I use is MAC Face & Body, all other foundations make me feel like I’m wearing a mask! I hope this works for me! =)

  32. Aly

    Oh Christine you look gorgeous! (:

  33. Mary Suico

    I have only tested this foundation twice trying two different shades so I’d know which one matches well. The MUA gave me a 4.0 and a 5.0. My skin is somewhere in between NC40 and NC35 right now. The 4.0 was little light on me while 5.0 is a little orange. Formula-wise, i like that its lightweight and easier to blend than prolongwear and on my combination skin it stays put for 8 hrs. with primer. Its a challenge for me to find a perfect match so I will have to test out different powders to finish it with. I intend to try it with MSFN and see how it goes. This does look decent already without powder, maybe a bit powdery than I’d like.

  34. Kia


    I tried this at the counter and when the MUA put this on me, I immediately noticed little white spots on the areas she applied it on. What does that mean? Is it too late, my skin is too dry, etc??? With my regular foundations, I’ve never had that happened. I didn’t want to ask the MUA so I said I will try it out and she gave me a sample.

  35. Denise Calabretta

    I have to say. I have been using this foundation for three weeks with the mineralize powder over it and I get a ridiculous amount of compliments when I wear it. Give a try again. You might just love it.

  36. You don’t even need foundation Christine. You seem to have perfect skin 😛 I took sample of this and fell in love with it so I bought it. I got 6.0 and I am in between NC40-NC42. The colour match is amazing (no duh Matchmaster lol) But I, unlike you, have many acne scars and this doesn’t cover it completely by itself so I end up putting concealer or vichy dermablend on the areas I need to cover. I love Estee Lauder’s Double Wear but I’ve got to buy two colours to match me perfectly. :(

  37. C

    I am really sad I didn’t try this on at Mac when I bought my first foundation (I owned plenty of other products from Mac, just not their foundation). I have very oily skin and since using mac products my skin has remained clear and acne free (Hoorah!).I like my studio fix foundation (NW20)but alas, like every other foundation, my skin gets super oily/shiny by the hour 6. Maybe its cause I’m running around my college campus or my skin is doomed to be an oily slick.
    I wish I could request a sample…or exchange..

  38. So it is like shade 3.0 = nc30, shade 2.0= nc20? what about nw20?

  39. Vicky

    I need a recomendation for foundation, I want medium-good coverage, I tried MAC pro longwear it cakes up and is very dry. I used bourjois healthy mix its useless, also The body Shop oil free foundation too dry and it has no coverage. I am thinking this one but you say its dry. What about MUFE hd or illamasqua skin base?

    • I think you’d like HD over this one. I haven’t tried Skin Base yet. If you don’t need a lot of coverage, MAC Face & Body (or MUFE Face & Body) would be more hydrating.

  40. Vick

    I got a sample of this after being swatched at the MAC counter. I believe i’m a 7.0 I am VERY oily and have acne scarring. it does have that chemical smell when first applying by fades. I have been testing it for two days now and I really like it. The coverage is great and it’s very lightweight. I have been using it without a setting powder and i’m definitely less oily than usual. I am going to wear it one more day and if I don’t see any breakouts (which I haven’t) i’m going to go ahead and purchase.

  41. Lisa

    ooh, what black eyeliner are you wearing on your water line? It looks amazing.

  42. artemis

    looks good on you! but you don’t really need it, haha. i’m jealous 😀

  43. amanda

    1. you are too pretty
    2. i SINCERELY THANK YOU FOR HAVING BEFORE AND AFTER PICS.. ive seen reviews without them.. you look great and have great skin in the befores [which leads to number three] but it really helps see the degree of coverage and texture.. you’re the best!!
    3. can you, maybe, think about, one day, giving us the secrets to your skin/regime? thank youu

  44. amanda

    ps. have you any idea if its oil free?

  45. aj

    is the one in the picture 3.0 or 2.0…I tried 3.0 myself and felt it was too yellow on me – for years I’ve been wearing NC 30-35 and my mother always told me I looked too orange or yellow. I just went in again today and I was matched NW 22 studio fix fluid…but I also got a sample of the 2.0. It reminds me of the MUFE 125 shade I got matched with…I’m slightly olive but with pink undertones NW 25 is too muddy on me. I think I can get away with NC when I’m more tan, but I’m fairly pale now so I’m totally clueless as to whether I fall more in NW or NC..

  46. Sarah

    How do you think this would photograph?

    I am nervous on how ti would turn out. I am the lightest shade 1.0. and going for family photos next week. Usually I would wear MUFE HD in 110, but i find the lasting power sucks so i switched to this one.

  47. Juliana

    I really wanted to try the match master foundation. I was curious, but didn’t get to it yet. It is worth the try?

  48. Anne

    Hi there :)
    I have been looking at this foundation for a long time, and after I read your review, I have decided to buy it.

    The nearest MAC consumer is 100 km away, so I have to buy it online. I was wondering if you could tell me what shade I should get this in? Here is a picture of me
    without any makeup on.
    I am Scandinavian, so my skin is verrrrrrry pale! keep thinking about buying either 1.0 or 1.5. What do you think? I dont want to look like a ghost, nor do I want to look like some weirdo haha :)

    Thanks for a very nice entry! :)

  49. Janelle

    I’m a 3.0 in Matchmaster. Would that make me an NC20?

  50. Andi

    Hi I was wondering if a pore minimizer would work well under this foundation? Have you tried it w/ the match master?


  51. Viskel

    @Anne hey I’m also quite pale, I got the shade 1.0 and it’s a good match, normally I take lightest/2nd lightest ivory coloured shades and between mac shades nw15 & nw20. Also had to buy online as not near a mac counter! Got it for around 10% cheaper on eBay :-) good luck :-)

  52. Boobie

    Do any of you know if shade 2.0 is for people with warm or cool complexions. I have warm and was matched to this shade. I think the sales associate made a mistake because she matched me to a concealer and powder as a cool complextion.

    • Michelle

       @Boobie I am a MAC artist, and I wear 2.0. This foundation does not run cool or warm because of the science behind it. It is neutral. That is why it doesn’t run under the traditional NC or NW. It has micronized spheres in the product that grab the pigment in your skin and burst open to reflect every pigment. If she matched you to a NC thats just because you have cooler tones, but has no reflection on the 2.0 color she gave you. Hope that helps!

  53. Michelle

    3.0 will put you more towards NC30-35 

  54. Michelle

    My favorite foundation next to Face and Body. 

  55. Michelle

    Go with the 4.0, it will adjust to your skin better than the 5.0. 

  56. Michelle

    I always here this…and its just not true. I always tell everyone makeup is not universal so what works for one person doesn’t work for another. The #1 selling foundation from MAC is studio fix which works great for temptalia but it is also the #1 foundation that gets negative reviews. so you have to try what works best for your skin. My best friend swore to never wear MAC and now all she wears is Matchmaster. Can’t knock it til you try it. 

  57. Cinthya

    I wear shade#5 and my concealer is NC35.
    I want to change to a new mac foundation so what shade and foundation should I go for? I’d like a matte, natural finish.