I’m not a huge fan of foundation. It’s not because I’m so naturally poreless I don’t “need” it (trust me) or because I consider myself a particularly low-maintenance makeup person (I’m not); I’ve just found foundations to be more trouble than they’re worth. It’s so rare to find one that doesn’t make me break out or send my already generous oil production into overdrive, never mind the inevitable fumbling with brushes that I try to avoid at all costs.
I love a tinted moisturizer for coverage, so I’m not going bare-face on a day-to-day basis, but I never feel compelled to give bonafide foundation a try. Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting much from MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation ($33), but the bottle my editor left on her desk was actually the correct shade for my very fair, very translucent skin, so I took that as an omen.
The directions say to shake well, which makes sense: This formula is water based, hence the name, so you definitely want to blend the pigments for an even application. It’s really, really liquidy—as in, it does feel like water. The texture reminded me of some products I’ve tried in the past that have disappeared immediately upon application, but once I smoothed just a few drops over my face (with my fingers!), I found that it did an impressive job of evening out my complexion with light, natural coverage that still managed to be coverage, not a useless layer of makeup actually meant for people who already have perfect skin.
My skin is not perfect, but this weightless foundation gets me one step closer to looking that way. More importantly, it doesn’t settle into pores or fine lines, doesn’t make me particularly oily (despite its very natural, non-matte finish), and looks just as good at 4 p.m. as it did at 9 a.m. I top it off with a little bit of blemish-fighting concealer (love Jouer Anti-Blemish Treatment Concealer, $28) where needed, and my skin looks about as good as it’s ever going to get.
If you want serious coverage, this formula is not for you. But if you want something a notch above a tinted moisturizer that goes on easy, comes in a wide variety of shades, and really holds its own throughout the day, it doesn’t get much better than this.