MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation Review & Swatches

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MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation
MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation

Violet FX

MAC Violet FX Hyper Real Foundation ($31.00 for 1.00 fl. oz.) is a pale lavender with a cool, pink pearl sheen. It had semi-sheer, buildable pigmentation, so it had a subtle, violet sheen on bare skin when applied all-over and layered underneath foundation but could still be worn as a standalone highlighter on the high points of the face and be visible. The liquid highlighter’s consistency was lightweight, thin, and watery with some slip, which helped it adhere well to bare skin without breaking up my foundation. It sat well on bare skin or dabbed on top of liquid foundation, as it had a natural sheen that wasn’t overtly shimmer. It wore well for nine hours on me before fading slightly.

FURTHER READING: Formula Overview for details on general performance and characteristics (like scent).

Formula Overview

$31.00/1 oz. - $31.00 Per Ounce

The formula is supposed to be a "weightless liquid highlighter" that has a "refined high-pearl finish" that wears for "eight hours." It can be "layer[ed] under foundation" or applied "over foundation as a highlighter." The consistency was smooth, thin, and had a touch of slip to keep it from feeling like water but was still easily mixed into foundation and moisturizer, applied on its own all-over the skin (like a primer), or dabbed on top of high points of the face to highlight. The latter I liked using fingertips or putting a touch on the back of my hand and swirling a synthetic brush in, then tapping onto the high points and using the edge of the bristles to diffuse the highlighter onto my skin.

It had semi-sheer, buildable coverage, depending on how much was used and how it was applied. It added noticeable luminosity when layered under foundation or mixed with foundation (assuming one did not layer a full coverage, matte formula on top!). They had a very skin-like luminosity--natural, glowing, but not overtly shimmery and definitely didn't emphasize my skin's natural texture. The formula dried down in 10-15 seconds and stayed on well for eight to nine hours on me (when worn as a standalone highlighter).

Browse all of our MAC Hyper Real Foundation swatches.


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Hyper Real Foundation
$31.00/1 oz.



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Makeup Look
On face:
  • Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
On eyes:
  • MAC Every Day is Sunshine Dazzleshadow Liquid
  • MAC Love Yourself Dazzleshadow Liquid
  • MAC Beam Time Dazzleshadow Liquid
  • MAC Panthertized Dazzleshadow Liquid
  • MAC Cool Neutral Eyeshadow Palette
  • Sephora Waterfall Contour Eye Pencil
On lips:
  • MAC Sugar Poppy Grand Illusion Lipcolour
About Reviewer
Review FAQ

Christine Mielke is the editor-in-chief and has been reviewing products for over 14 years.

She has normal-to-dry skin with occasional dryness on cheeks and nose. She has a light plus skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones (view her foundation matches here).

Learn more about her review process here.

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Christine, do you know anything about the thought/marketing process behind calling this a “foundation”? To me (maybe I’m hopelessly old fashioned), a foundation is something that approximates your skin tone and is meant to be worn all over and sort of “alone” (though, heaven knows, with primers, luminizers, setting powders and sprays, highlighters, etc., this is rarely how we use them). I guess I’m just quibbling/questioning the categorization as a “foundation”. If this were a “foundation luminizer” or some other name that implied it was really more to be mixed with foundation or worn under or over for some highlighting, I wouldn’t be reacting with a bit of confusion.

It used to be a flesh-toned foundation range, so I’m guessing it’s a similar effect in terms of finish but designed to be worked into one’s routine with whatever foundation you have. MAC didn’t explain anything in particular.

Looks like a great product for cool pale skin (well, not *just*, but it seems like people in that category usually have trouble with highlighters).

I will say that I feel like in the last two years, we have seen this shade a lot, though not as often in a liquid format!

I like that brands are comings out with a decent number of products that would work well on bare skin. I know it’s not a new thing, but it’s heartening that there are good options for those who choose not to use foundation, and those of us who are working towards not using it. You did mention that this doesn’t break up foundation, but application-wise, I always felt like liquids and creams are purpose-built for use over bare skin, and it’s just bonus when they work over foundation too — call that my own non-scientific take on it.

So I had a similar vein of thinking except that MAC didn’t actually seem to say to wear it alone so much as referred to it under foundation (which I did find strange, ’cause you could certainly wear it alone/mixed or on top of moisturizer). I was surprised MAC didn’t list it as a third usage.

Ditto, wondering if I mix this with my NC37 yellow neutral foundations would it look like I have a “healthy” glow or too cool? And the difference versus the strobe cream, which I like?

This looks so pretty on you! I’m curious how this compares to the strobe cream? I’d love a more luminous or less flat look from my foundation. Strobe cream under Face and Body doesn’t do much. Maybe this is a better option? Thanks for the review. I will have to check this out next time I’m at MAC.

It’s much, much more pigmented than Strobe Cream. MAC describes the coverage “sheer-to-medium” so it’s more buildable overall. Hyper Real is boasting an “intense” finish – Strobe Cream says “softest glow.” Strobe Cream would likely have more added benefits as a skincare product (moisturizer).

That sounds more promising–at least under foundation. I’m not sure that at my age I could pull this off as a highlighter. Definitely will check this out. The violet is so pretty on your skin tone. I’m an NC35 so probably need to stick to the bronze/gold. Thank you again!

Oh, this looks gorgeous on you! Actually, love all the makeup on you. Do you think this highlighter would look good on an NC 30-37 skintone?

If you want something more “flattering” in a traditional sense, the other three (but probably Rose Gold FX or Bronze FX) would be better. I think Violet FX could work on deeper skin tones, though!

It’s really interesting to me that they’re marketing this as a “foundation”. I think that may confuse some people, especially if they’re not overly familiar with the makeup world.

Right side of my brain: Ooh, how pretty! I definitely want this! 😀

Left side of my brain: No. Stay on your no-buy.

Right side of my brain: But…

Left side of my brain: I said no.

Right side of my brain: Party pooper. 🙁

Oh man, I’d love it if actual Hyper Real foundation came back. I got so excited when I saw the title of this post. ?? my roommate knocked my bottle off the counter just after they discontinued it years ago, and I’ve never found a foundation that worked as well for me. This is giving me ideas, though!

Because PURPLE. Not so sure I can pull it off, but I’m in LOVE with this highlighter! For reference, I’m NC37 in MAC Studio Sculpt and N360 in Lancome Teint Idole, although Teint Idole can look dull as heck on me if I don’t add MAC Strobe Cream or MJ Dew You Dew Drops to it. Sooo??? Idk?

I was debating whether to buy this since I already have a drawer full of powder highlighters but after seeing your swatch and review I am sold!! Thank you again for your reviews! It looks beautiful on your skin and I second Lindsay—love your eye look!! 🙂

This product looks so lovely & resembles to Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base in “Rose”.
How this compares? Does it shine through semi-matte foundation & powder like Clarins? 🙂

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