MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation review: A beauty writer puts this ultra-light foundation to the test

Our MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation review - is this fan favorite really worth the hype?

A collage of Kelle Salle who wrote this MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation review and the foundation in a bottle
(Image credit: Canva/Kelle Salle)
Woman & Home Verdict

A light and lovely base that gives the skin a natural finish. With the help of a primer, my complexion remained even and oil-free for most of the day without any dry patches. It won't mattify, so may not suit oily-combination skin, but does offer a nice second-skin look.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Long-wearing (8 hours)

  • +

    Suitable for all skin types

  • +

    Natural finish

  • +

    Lightweight

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    Dermatologist-tested

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    Doesn’t congest the skin

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Can take some time to settle into the skin

  • -

    Needs several application to cover imperfections

  • -

    Shade offering could be better

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MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation is used on red carpets and runways all over the world and has been loved by MAC fans since its launch. 

As someone who has oily/combination skin, the best foundation for me will offer long-lasting coverage and a matte finish. I’m on the lookout for something that doesn’t clog my pores or make my face look like an oil slick by midday. Anyone with excess oil will understand that the best foundation for oily skin is always one that minimizes shine.

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: £30/$39

Available shades: 30

Coverage: Sheer buildable 

Finish: Natural, radiant 

Extra features: Hydrating, provides stay-true color, suitable for all skin types, waterproof, dermatologist tested

MAC devotees will know that this foundation isn’t new. MAC Studio Foundation first launched in 1993 but rebranded to Studio Radiance in 2021. Like many brands, MAC expanded its shade offering from 13 to 30, and the formulation was changed, with customers who like a no-makeup makeup look in mind. According to the brand, Studio Radiance Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation promises to reveal – and never conceal – the real you, with a sheer, radiant, my-skin-but-better finish. It’s safe to say that my expectations for this foundation were very high. Here's how it measured up.

OUR MAC STUDIO FACE AND BODY RADIANT SHEER FOUNDATION REVIEW

MAC STUDIO Radiance FOUNDATION PACKAGING

To kick off this MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation review, let’s talk about the packaging. The base is housed in the most adorable mini bottle. I was pleasantly surprised when I received the foundation because it looks a little bigger in the image on the brand’s website. The bottle is transparent so you can see the base clearly. It feels very light so you can definitely pop it in your handbag for touch-ups. In terms of the look, it’s classic MAC. It doesn’t look more or less expensive than its price tag. 

The downfall with this dinky foundation (I can’t get over how cute the bottle is) is that it doesn’t come with a pump dispenser. If you’re popping it in your handbag for touch-ups then you’ll need to ensure that the lid is securely fastened. There was a bit of spillage and while I acknowledge that can happen with pump-applicator bottles too, getting foundation all over the applicator isn’t great if you only have a few minutes to apply it.

MAC is well-known for its commitment to recycling. They have a Back 2 MAC program which offers free makeup in exchange for our old products. You have to bring in six products in order to claim your free product, which might be a challenge if you don’t have a lot of MAC products. But if you can, it’s a great idea.

THE FOUNDATION FORMULA

mac studio face and body radiant sheer foundation

N7, the shade of MAC Studio foundation I put to the test

(Image credit: Kelle Salle)

I generally look for either a medium coverage base or one of the best full coverage foundations. Although I like my coverage to be on the fuller side, I still want a natural makeup look. It really is all about the formula – it has got to be great or it won’t last all day. 

My MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation review got off to a mixed start in that respect. When I tested the foundation on the back of my hand, it felt really smooth. It wasn’t runny, which is always a good thing. While this foundation offers a number of skin benefits, it doesn’t actually contain any skincare ingredients. When I checked the ingredient list, I did notice that it contains a type of wood oil and orange peel oil but they are further down the list, so are unlikely to influence the overall finish – this foundation is all about the coverage.

HOW DOES IT LOOK AND FEEL ON the SKIN?

mac studio face and body radiant sheer foundation

How MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation looked on its own (left) and with a full face of makeup (right)

(Image credit: Kelle Salle)

When it comes to applying foundation, I don’t want the process to take a long time. When I applied the foundation for the first time, with my best foundation brush, the hydration factor took some time to settle in. 

It wasn’t until I put on a full makeup look that it came to life. The finish was very radiant. It gave my skin such a lovely glow. When it comes to sheerness, this foundation is a 10/10. If you are looking for something with fuller coverage, then this may not be the one for you. You’ll definitely need to build it up if you want to cover any imperfections. I would also recommend learning how to apply concealer before foundation for additional coverage. 

While this foundation felt really light on my skin, it didn’t last all day. I did have to reach for some blotting paper a few times. The brand says it was formulated with all skin types in mind but oily skin needs to have some kind of matte finish. It did stay in place and it didn’t settle into my fine lines, which is a good result, but this is still not ideal for oily/combination skin.

HOW ABOUT AFTER A DAY OF WEAR?

My MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation review wouldn’t be complete until I wore it for three full-on days – one-day running errands, another with back-to-back meetings, and another that was rounded off with a dinner date with some friends. After wearing the foundation a few times, I can honestly say that I really like the finish. It gives the skin a natural look and is super lightweight, I almost forgot I was wearing any makeup at all.

On all days, the base did fade slightly, but some loose powder did a great job of concealing this. This foundation definitely isn’t super long-wearing, but the natural finish is worth it. Of course, skincare for makeup prep is a must for a more lasting look. Use a primer beforehand, finish off with the best setting powder, and conceal any imperfections you’d like to cover before you apply the foundation. 

MAC STUDIO FACE AND BODY RADIANT SHEER FOUNDATION REVIEW: MY VERDICT

I started this MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation review with high expectations. Not only is it a bestseller. it has also been used on red carpets and runways for years and is part of the brand’s hero Studio collection, which has been around since the '90s. 

It did take a few tries for me to feel comfortable wearing it, but in spite of my concerns as someone with oily/combination skin, I really liked the natural finish. I can see why this foundation is so popular. It’s lightweight, easy to wear, and settles into the skin really nicely.

Although there are 30 shades in the range, the undertone offering could be better and easier to navigate for those who aren't 100% sure how to find your foundation shade. Mine wasn’t an exact match but I was able to balance this out with powder. If MAC wants to appeal to customers with oily/combination skin, a version of this formula with a soft matte finish would hit the spot. While I don’t think it will replace any of my daily go-to’s, I would definitely wear this again whenever I fancy a no-makeup makeup look.

Kelle Salle
Beauty writer

Kelle is a writer and blogger, specializing in beauty, lifestyle and wellbeing related topics. She has twelve years of blogging experience, and launched KS, a lifestyle platform which aims to inform and inspire millennial women in 2017. In 2020, Kelle started writing for digital publications. Her work has been featured in POPSUGAR, Byrdie, Stylist, BeautyTap and Brown Beauty Talk. Kelle's published work ranges from beauty news to women's health and lifestyle-related topics.