MAC Matchmaster Foundation

MAC, Matchmaster, displayMAC just released a new fluid foundation: Matchmaster. It comes in just 14 shades (comparatively few for the brand), and — this is how it was explained to me — the pigment particles are encapsulated in translucent spheres, allowing for “gaps” between pigment particles. Your skin shows through these gaps, making for a foundation that incorporates your undertones, which makes it easier to find a match.

That sounds like science fiction, but I am surprised to say I actually really like this foundation. The coverage is medium-to-full, and it’s buildable. I applied it to my face with my fingers and didn’t think it looked obvious or too heavy. (Perhaps my sunscreen helped me sheer it out; moisturizer would probably also do the trick.)

It looks good in person, and it photographs well (though I haven’t yet experimented with a flash). One of my makeup artists likened it to Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation — the soft-focus pigments makes it look really perfect, especially from a distance. Another artist, looking at the dried swatches on my arm, remarked that it has a “watercolor” finish. MAC calls it “demi-matte,” but I like the watercolor description.

The Matchmaster formula offers MAC’s lightest and darkest shades of foundation. The new numbering system is supposed to reflect that this foundation matches YOUR undertone (so there is no “N,” no “C,” no “W” — just numbers that express the depth of color). It’s $32.50 (and contains SPF 15).

Here are heavy swatches, made with disposable lipbrushes (so I could fit all 14 shades on my arm):
MAC, Matchmaster foundation, swatches, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9.0, 9.5, 10.0, KarlaSugar, Karla Sugar
And here are blended out swatches, applied with my fingertips (I thought it sheered out pretty easily; I could definitely have applied more heavily):
MAC, Matchmaster, foundation, swatches, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, KarlaSugar, Karla Sugar
MAC, Matchmaster, foundation, swatches, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9.0, 9.5, 10.0, KarlaSugar, Karla Sugar
1.0 was my perfect match.

Naturally, the best way to find your match is to try a foundation on, but in case that’s not an option for you, MAC created a loose translation guide, converting shades of Studio Fix Fluid to Matchmaster (some Studio Fix shades are right on the line, and could match two Matchmaster shades, so they’re listed twice).

N18, NC15 – 1.0
NW15, NW18, NW20 – 1.5

Light Medium
NW18, NW20, NW22, NC20, NC25 – 2.0
NW22, NW25, NC30 – 3.0

NW25, NW30, NC35, NC37 – 4.0
NC40, NC41, NC42 – 5.0
NW33, NW35, NC43.5, NC44, NC44.5 – 6.0

Medium Dark
NW40, NW43, NC45 – 7.0
NC50, NC55 – 7.5
NW44, NW45 – 8.0

NW46, NW47 – 8.5
NW48, NW50 – 9.0

Deep Dark
NW50, NW55 – 9.5
NW58, NW60, W60 – 10.0
Foundations NW60 and W60 don’t exist anymore; they were discontinued. However MAC says 10.0 will match anyone NW58 and deeper.

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27 Responses to “MAC Matchmaster Foundation”

  • Steffi says:

    1.0 looks really light on your arm, are you sure that is your perfect match? I would have thought 2.0 would be the right one for you.

  • Kate says:

    I got a sample a few days ago of 2.0. It really is fantastic! It’s not even breaking me out, which is a problem I have with almost every foundation I try, MAC or not. I think 2.0 is just a touch dark, and with winter paleness on it’s way I will probably buy 1.5.

  • KarlaSugar says:

    One of the hazards of swatching: my arms are more tan than my face. There are several photos of me scattered throughout the site; hopefully those help?

  • Owen says:

    Steffi, 1.0 is really light, it’s ridiculously pale. I got “matched” to it and even bought it. then put it on the day after and I looked like I was going to a Halloween party it was that pale.

    in typical foundations I’m ivory or one shade up from ivory. so I thought 1.0 would match me.

    I am pale with pink undertones though and 1.0 is cool(despite supposedley having all types of colour undertones in). so it doesn’t match me whatsoever.

    I’m going to MAC again to try 1.5, that looks like it will match me perfectly. from my own guess and from the swatch.

    I thought 2.0 or even 3.0 would match you aswell. btw thankyou very much for providing these swatches. they’ve been very helpful :)

    Karla are you warm toned? because these shades look warm on you, even 1.0, which looked nothing but cool on me.

  • KarlaSugar says:

    Shades 1.5 through 7.0 got deeper and peachier moments after applying them to my arm. Whether they were oxidizing or that’s part of the “matching magic,” I couldn’t say. (They also looked very similar to one another when wet, but would dry down into different shades.)

    Owen, it sounds like you had a similar experience to a friend of mine. She thought 1.0 was too ghostly and felt she needed to mix in a little 1.5 to warm it up.

  • helen says:

    does this oxidize on your skin after a few hours? that’s the problem i have with mac foundations.

  • Selena says:

    I am a 1.0 as well, and it is PERFECT!!! I’ve used Nars (Mont Blanc) Bobbi Brown (sand 2) MAC Mineralize satinfinish (NW20) MAC Studio (NW15) MUFE (115) and (025-mat velvet) Vichy Dermablend (opal) and Shiseido (SP10). Mostly all chosen by makeup artists for me!

  • Michelle NYC says:

    I tried this out at MAC last Friday and I am in love. It looks natural on the skin, wore well and provided a surprising ammount of coverage for something that feels and looks sheer. The finish is definitely semi-matte without looking dry or cakey. I usually wear NW25 or NW30 at this time of year, and in the store shade 3 looked perfect, but when I went out into the light it was definitely a shade too dark on me (visible line of demarcation on my jawline). I was able to blend it out enough that it looked ok, but I am going to have to go back and try shade 2, I get the feeling I might be mixing the two.

  • scrapgalgr says:

    I use Face & Body in N1 and it is getting darker on me because I’m losing my summer tan, especially in winter I will not be able to use it. So, I think that Matchmaster in 1.0 will be perfect, and if it is too white I will mix it with F&B! Can’t wait to try this!

  • joey says:

    do you have the ingredients list for this? (: “translucent spheres” sound like a whole bunch of ‘cones to me!

  • Leslie says:

    I was a little surprised by the numbering system too. I’m a solid NC25 in Pro Longwear and when I swatched 1.5 and 2.0 next to it in store, 2.0 looked waaay dark even though it’s my suggested match. 1.5 looked just a hair light but was much closer in tone to the NC25. I ended up buying 1.5 after having an SA do a little patch test on my face and I’m loving it so far. I do think it’s a little light, but I’m still in the process of losing my tan and I think it will be perfect in the dead of winter.

  • Maggie says:

    Sigh, when I saw that 1.0 was supposedly the palest MAC foundation available I thought it might match me, but looks like it’s still too dark. If MAC made an NW5 or NW10 that’d be perfect for me :P

  • Steffi says:

    Thanks for your comment Selena, I am also Nars Mont Blanc (and I think Karla is as well) and that is why I asked her about 1 being too light. Good to know that it would be my color as well :)

  • Selena says:

    I’m so excited I have to say something. This just may end my HG foundation search. I’ve had Nars (Mont Blanc), Bobbi Brown (Sand 2), MUFE (115, 025), Vichy Dermablend (Opal), Shiseido (SP10) etc. I am NW15 in Mineralize skin finish and NW20 in Studio fix. In Matchmaster I’m 1.0. This foundation evened me out nicely and covered what needed extra coverage without caking. I usually shine rather quickly, but I found this to really hold up a nice finish the whole day, keeping the oilies at bay. I am so thrilled, Way To Go MAC!!!

  • Ann says:

    Thanks for the swatches Karla! I think I’ll have to pass on this foundation. No 1 says it should match an NC15, but it looks way too pink in that swatch and 1.5 looks too peach.

  • Lola says:

    I was excited when this came out. I tried 3, 4. Neither was a perfect match as I’m losing my summer tan right now. But what I found was that it had too much “pink” for my skin tone. The finish was OK, dried to a powdery finish which I’m not too fond of, but the most disappointing thing was the color – again too pink for my Asian skin.

  • val says:

    I’m nw15 and 1.5 looks really natural on me. It looks darker in the bottle, but really does match my skin! I wear mont blanc in nars foundation and n1 in face and body. I was somewhere between nc15 and nc20 in the prolongwear foundation and i’m so glad mac made a foundation for me. :)

  • KarlaSugar says:

    Sure, Joey!

    Ingredients: water, cyclopentasiloxane, polymethyl methacrylate, butylene glycol, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, PEG-10 dimethicone, trimethylsiloxysilicate, dimethicone, magnesium sulfate, titanium dioxide, tocopherol, tocopheryl acetate, sodium hyaluronate, lecithin, hydrogenated lecithin, algae extract, laminaria saccharina extract, dipropylene glycol, xanthan gum, laureth-7, sorbitan sesquioleate, dimethicone/PEG-10/15 crosspolymer, dimethicone/PEG-10 crosspolymer, PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone, thiethoxycaprylylsilane, dimethicone silylate, dimethicone crosspolymer, silica, pentaerythrityl tetra-di-t-butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate, chloroxylenol, phenoxyethanol, sorbic acid [+/- iron oxides, titanium dioxide, chromium oxide greens]

  • Rola says:

    The science fiction part sounds interesting. Thanks for the swatches, I saw these in person and thought 2 was for me and your list confirms it. I did not get a chance to try it on the skin, but I will:)

  • marimusing says:

    I think 2.0 disappeared on your arm. 1.0 too light.

  • Raj says:

    I have been using bobby brown foundation for sometime 4.5 and would like to change to Mac matchmaker foundation, what no of foundation can I use..?

  • Rachael says:

    At the moment I’m using Match master shade 4.0 though I’m wanting to try out the studio fix fluid, do you know what shade of the match master 4.0 equals to in the studio fix?

  • Jéssica melissa de albuquerque says:

    Oi gostaria muito de compra uma base matchamaster mais eu tenho medo de nao fica boa na minha pele pois eu tenho uma mancha no rosto vocês tem como mi informa como eu faço para conseguir uma amostra dessa base meu tom é 5.0 Obrigada

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