I often hear raves about both MAC and Chanel's powder foundations, especially from people who are oily-skinned. So for those of you who are contemplating buying one or the other, or already using one but wondering whether the grass is greener, here are my thoughts...
MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
This is probably one of the MAC foundations I hear raved about the most... and also seems to be one with a lot of complaints too. The main issue seems to be that it oxidises, sometimes changing color slightly on people if it reacts with their skin. For this reason, I'd definitely suggest test-driving before purchase - although I'm lucky enough that this problem doesn't seem to affect me.
What I like about Studio Fix:
- Comes in a non-bulky compact, so it's easy to take on the go. I like that there's a compartment underneath for the sponge.
- Really sucks up that oil! This keeps me matte for a couple of hours at least (which is saying a lot! I'm such a greaseball... eww!) and is the main reason why I've used it on and off for the past 8 years. For anyone wondering, it does do a better oil control job than Studio Fix Fluid, its liquid counterpart.
- Reasonably good assortment of shades (warm, cool, and neutral - and from light to dark, although those at either end of the spectrum may miss out). Personally, I had no problem finding a match.
- Sheer but buildable coverage
- Can look overly matte and powdery. I combat this by spritzing with water spray or MAC Fix+ when I'm done applying, but I can really only do that in the morning, not when I touch during the day. (Well, I could do it during the day, but I just feel a little too vain whipping out my Evian spray in the ladies).
- Can be a bit drying on the skin. Although I'm oily, I can feel some parts of my face tighten slightly sometimes (I already use a good moisturiser and primer, so go figure).
Now I'm usually not a label snob, but there's just something about Chanel makeup that's so refined and alluring. But how does Chanel's version of the powder foundation really stack up?
What I like:
- It gives a beautiful finish. It is matte, but it has a very slight sheen to it (not shimmery or glittery - just a hint of light-reflectiveness). It's really stunning.
- Very good oil control, on par with MAC and lasts just as long.
- Can be applied sheerly with a brush or sponge, or damp for a more velvety finish and longer wear (no idea if this can be done with Studio Fix)
- Hate to say it, but I quite enjoy the elegance factor. It's Chanel. Yes, I'm a sucker...
- Compact is elegant, but bulky. The sponge sits to the side of the pan, meaning the compact is very wide. Not so great for tucking into my on-the-go makeup bag.
- Shades are quite limited. If you're darker than me, you've been totally shafted, since I am only NC30 (medium/olive) and I was matched to the darkest shade that they appear to sell here (#80 - Contour). The best shade match for me also runs ever so slightly too pink for my taste, but I am quite warm-toned.
- Price! The compact is £32 compared to £18.60 for Studio Fix. Looking more closely, on a price-per-gram basis, this product is nearly twice as expensive: £2.46/gram, compared to £1.24/gram for Studio Fix. If you were committed to using this product ongoing however, you can buy pan refills for your compact instead of buying the full-priced compact each time, which would soften the assualt on your wallet a little.
Overall, I think these are both wonderful products for oily skin - they're long-lasting and keep the skin matte. Personally, I do adore the slightly luminous finish of Mat Lumiere, but I still think MAC Studio Fix is a great product and wouldn't hesitate to repurchase it if I couldn't accommodate Mat Lumiere into my budget. Anyone darker than a MAC NC40 might have real issues finding a Chanel shade that suits, which is very unfortunate. Bottom line: Studio Fix is a great product, but if you find it's too matte, you have some extra money for something nice, and can find a good shade match, the do give the Mat Lumiere a go. Otherwise, I don't really think Mat Lumiere is a must-have.. more of a nicety!