Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural + FOTD

The MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural powder (or "MSFN") costs $29 for 10 grams of product and is described by MAC as a "slowly baked" powder that provides "a dimensional yet natural-matte finish" and "low coverage." This is a relatively accurate description, provided you plan to use this product as a foundation (which is what I did today), and it makes the product seem very mundane. It's much more noteworthy, however, if you use it as a setting powder.

Let me back up a bit. I bought this product a few months back because I promised my sister I'd do her makeup for her wedding, and she was particularly interested in the MSFN. I'm not completely sure why, considering she has very dry skin and uses liquid foundations on the incredibly rare instances when she wears makeup, but regardless, I purchased the a compact in the lightest shade (Light) to test it out. Because it's such a sheer powder, especially if you just use it as a setting powder rather than a powder foundation, Light should work for a decent range of skintones; I'm normally about N10 in MAC, but am currently closer to N15 thanks to my "tan," and it works for me. When I'm in my usual N5-10 state, however, it's definitely too dark. Here it is compared to MAC Studio Tech foundation in NW15:

MAC Studio Tech on the left, MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural on the right

What really impresses me about this powder is the way it feels and looks on top of my liquid foundation. It's smooth, silky, and weightless, and it doesn't look at all powdery, but rather has a slight glow to it. You can really powder down with a brush like the ELF Studio flat top powder brush, but I personally prefer to apply with the big, fluffy Ecotools powder brush for a super-light dusting. It helps lock makeup in place, especially very "wet," matte or demi-matte foundations like Studio Tech. However, if you use a foundation that's already quite dewy, like MAC Face & Body, you might want to use a more matte powder; I rarely use MSFN with F&B during the summer because I've noticed that it can make my face look a little too shiny.

 MSFN dusted lightly over Studio Tech foundation

I've been pretty impressed with the wear time on my skin. I often carry my compact in my purse in case I need to touch up, and I honestly never do. Some people have said that this product is very fragile and will break if dropped or smooshed too hard by a brush, and I can believe that because mineralized/baked products tend to be quite fragile, but I've dropped it several times and haven't experienced any breaking.

You can also use this powder as a foundation. As the MAC website says, it provides a "natural matte...low coverage." It doesn't look makeup-y at all, and you can still see my freckles, rough patches, and some of my discoloration, though the powder has helped even me out. I did use a little bit of concealer on the Undereye Circles of Doom, my chin, and the sides of my nose, as I knew that this powder wouldn't be very high coverage. I also made sure to use a little bit of moisturizer on my dry-ish face before buffing the MSFN on today, and I think that really helped with the application. If I wanted a glowier look, I'd just set it with my Skindinavia setting spray. I know that some people apply this product with a damp brush--which will make it appear darker at first, but it'll lighten back up when it dries--but I've tried it and didn't care for it, as I think it made the powder look a tad cakey on my skin. Essentially, it's got a nice, light glow when used as a setting powder over liquid and cream foundations, but is more demi-matte when used as a stand-alone foundation, probably because I'm using a thicker layer of powder and because my skin leans towards the dry side. People with more oily skin who use this as a foundation will probably get a bit more of a glow.

A close-up of my skin with MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural as a foundation.

That being said, I don't think this is a very good blotting powder. While it helps hold my makeup in place, it doesn't really have the best oil-control properties, and if your skin is quite oily...well, I doubt you'd want to use a shiny powder, anyway. I also wouldn't recommend using it as a foundation if you have very dry skin, as it works best in that capacity when buffed on with a kabuki, and that can really aggravate flakiness and emphasize dryness. Then again, I wouldn't recommend 99% of powder foundations to people with dry skin and generally avoid them myself, so take that with a grain of salt.

The other issue I have with this product is the shade range. Or, more specifically, I have a problem with MAC discontinuing shades and giving them slightly confusing names, like "Light" and "Light Plus." What exactly makes the "plus" different from the regular one, you might wonder? Are they maybe the same color, but the "plus" has something extra in it?  The descriptions don't help too much, either; Light is described as a "soft pale beige," whereas Light Plus is a "pale golden beige." You can glean that Light Plus is therefore a bit more yellow than Light, but is it also darker? And how does it match up to other MAC foundations? For what it's worth, the Plus shades are generally a smidge darker and more yellow. I honestly think it would be helpful for MAC to just put a general skin shade range in the descriptions instead, ie, "Light, suited to NW10-20."

Overall, I really love this product as a setting powder. It doesn't make me look powdery or cakey, looks good on top of just about every foundation (provided my skin isn't already quite dewy), feels weightless, and lasts for most of the day. As a foundation, however, it's a bit "meh" for me. I think it's nice for a warm summer's day at the amusement park, or when you're traveling and don't want to take a ton of wet products with you, but I'm a bit disappointed that the "glow factor" goes down when I use it full-force.

Rating: 5 out of 5

BASE: Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx02, Clinique Airbrush concealer in 01 Fair, MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural in Light
EYES: Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Urban Decay eyeshadows in Sellout and Jones, Sugarpill eyeshadow in Flamepoint, MAC eyeshadow in Woodwinked, Milani Liquif-Eye pencil in Brown, Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing mascara, La Femme pencil in Taupe 
CHEEKS: MAC blush in Devil, Milani Illuminating Face Powder in Amber Nectar
LIPS: Lancome Color Design lipstick in Pale Lip, L'oreal leGloss lipgloss in Peach Fuzz


  1. great review thanks! I'm actually on the hunt for a finishing powder, I've been considering trying chanel poudre universelle but oh the price :/ I have combination skin and I just can't seem to find a good powder to keep my foundation in place. Do you reckon I should give it a go? thanks

    1. I think it really depends on what your main concern is. Mine is really just removing the extra moisture from my foundation, so to speak, so this works great for me. If you're more worried about your makeup sliding off due to oil, you may prefer something like ELF Complexion Perfection.

  2. thanks for this, I'm going to give ELF a go first, cheers x

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