My love/hate relationship with MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation

[Feb. 2015 Edit: Please see the follow-up post to this one here.)

My absolute favourite product in the entire MAC Cosmetics range is the Mineralize Skinifinish Natural powder. Their lipsticks come in second and the Studio Fix powder foundation is a close third. I’ve tried the liquid Studio Fix before and thought that was horrible, but the powder variant has its uses. It has a rather heavy coverage and it leaves you with a very matte finish, which can look a bit unnatural if caked too heavily onto your face. The compact comes with a sponge, but you can completely chuck that (or just keep it for light touch-ups) and use a large powder brush or a kabuki brush instead. Buffing Studio Fix into your skin will give you a beautiful airbush-like finish that is still heavy, but full coverage is something we all want once in a while anyway. MAC Studio Fix is not my favourite powder foundation (that “award” goes to my Shu Uemura pressed powder), but I like it enough to feel like I need to have it in my make-up collection. The one thing that really irks me about it though is that I do not have an exact shade match.

With the help of a MAC make-up artist, I first bought the shade NC42. It’s about half a shade to a full shade too dark for my coloring depending on the time of year, but even at my darkest I still get comments about being so tan when I wear this. So then I went and ordered NC40 (next to NC42 in the shade range, there is no “41” **EDIT: There is an NC41, but it is not available in the Philippines nor is it listed in the MAC website!), thinking that it should be perfect… but ohmygoodness it is much too light for me. NC 42 on the left, NC40 on the right. Doesn’t that look like a huge jump in colour? :o I would rather go slightly darker in foundation colour than too light, so I’ve barely touched my NC40 compact. If I use it at all, I use it as a highlight on the bridge of my nose and on my brow bone. If I use it all over, I get that slightly grayish tinge on my skin which is so very unflattering. NC 42 also seems to be much warmer and more yellow than NC40, even though both are in the “NC” category, meaning they should both have warm undertones. I want to love this powder. I really do. But it looks like MAC won’t let me. See how much more yellow NC42 is? The yellowness is something that I noticed a lot too when I used the liquid Studio Fix formula, and it’s not something that I like. I tend to favor neutral foundations, because even though I’m Asian, I don’t have very yellow undertones. Sadly, I may someday soon decide that MAC Studio Fix is something not worth sticking with. If/when I do decide that, I will miss the sturdy compact packaging and the smooth texture—but the absence of a perfect colour match for me is something I find very difficult to get over. I’m not so sure if this has been a review or just a rant, so I’ll end with suggestions that might be of use to other people. MAC Studio Fix might be for you, if – you are looking for a powder foundation, – MAC carries a shade that suits you well, – you like the convenience of a compact, and – you are looking for medium to full coverage with a matte finish. p.s. There is no SPF in this product.

My UNII Palette

A couple of months ago I ordered a UNII palette from the US and it has proved to be extremely useful. The UNII palette is essentially a customizable make-up palette, much like the Z Palette except that the UNII palette is made of a sturdy plastic instead of cardboard.

Here she is! I ordered mine in Pomegranate because the black and white were out of stock and it was the closest to red they had. I actually like the color much more than I expected. The palette feels sturdy and is really pretty, too. It’s certainly much better than some original packaging out there, and it makes a lot of sense to be able to have shadows/powders from different brands together in one place.

The palette is a good size (approximately 3 x 6 inches) and it includes a full mirror, a metal plate, a rubber gripper, and a strip of adhesive-magnets (for the bottoms of your refill pans). UNII cosmetics has since come out with a new design which does not have a metal plate and magnet strip. Instead it has the magnet inside the palette and the rubber gasket which you can see on my UNII is no longer removable. A minor change is that the rubber gripper is much cuter in the new palette. A not-so minor change is that the colors available are now much cuter! You can check those out at their website: http://uniicosmetics.com. But for now, let me show you what I did with mine!

These are the shadows that I chose to place in my UNII palette. It’s obviously a neutrals palette, but with this combination I can make both a natural day look and a heavier evening look if I want to. That space below the bottom row of shadows can fit (and it usually does hold) an eyeliner. With that, I’m all set. This has travelled me once and it definitely beats bringing many single shadows or one pre-made palette that may limit you to a certain look. I prefer this even to my Urban Decay NAKED palette, which only makes sense, because these shades are tried and tested by me for use on me. The shadows/powders are namely:

Top Row: Dior random powder – The Balm “Devilish Danielle” – The Balm “Mischievous Marissa” – The Balm “Insane Jane”

Bottom Row: Shu Uemura M 851: “Soft Brown” – Shu Uemura M 860 “BXH2271” – Shu Uemura Bronze – Shu Uemura IR 900Y “BXH 1408” – Laura Mercier “American Coffee” 

The Dior powder is a general highlighter. The theBalm shadows are my favorites from my “Shady Lady” palette (yes, I ripped them out)– Mischievous Marissa gives me a lovely, peachy glow and Insane Jane just makes my eyes pop. The Shu matte soft brown is my perfect lid shadow, while the deep brown to its right is the most amazing brown I have ever come across. I usually use that in the crease of my eye and I only need the tiniest bit to create the most dramatic effect… combined with that bronze, the effect is just amazing. For everyday looks, I use the LM American Coffee on my crease. Also, notice how the Shu shadow on the far left of the bottom row is slightly thinner than the others? Shu Uemura has started producing their shadows in Korea instead of Japan (I was thinking maybe the factory was affected by the recent natural disaster?) and has downsized their eyeshadows. It isn’t very obvious when you buy the single eyeshadows in their new packaging, but it’s definitely noticeable when you place the pans side by side. I only have two that are very recently purchased and I haven’t noticed any compromise in quality which is great, of course, but the downsize is definitely a bummer. Anyway, the other two shadows that I haven’t mentioned (Devilish Danielle and the Shu Gold) are highlighters for me. They are amazing just like all the other shadows in my UNII.

Putting my palette together was a ton of fun, which I did expect since I love my make-up (hehe). One down side to the UNII might be removing single shadows from their already beautiful original containers. In this case though, there wasn’t any particular casing that I really wanted to hold on to. It’s a good way to customize to your own needs, as make-up really is something as personal as jewelry– only you really know what you like best. I might want another UNII palette in the future for powders or even a collection of brighter eye shadows, but I’m still not too sure. For now, I’m perfectly happy with the one UNII that I own and have come to love.

Again, you can check out UNII cosmetics here and have a look at that adorable honeysuckle palette! They’re now going for 26 USD (usually 29) which is a holiday price, I think.


No more posts.