Sunday, February 28, 2010

review : mac lightful ultracharge foundation spf25/pa+++

Although I quite liked the Paul & Joe Protective Dual Powder Foundation, it started getting cakey, especially between my eyebrows and below my nose. At first I thought it was caused by the residue on the sponge applicator but even after changing to a new one, the foundation still caked and would literally slide around my face after a couple of hours, creating weird yellow streaks. Honestly, not a good look. I had also tried all sorts for the base, from using sunscreen alone, to applying three different primers (not all at once, of course). It still caked! I was so disappointed because it worked well at the beginning but just got too strange after several uses. I still love the packaging but I won't be re-purchasing this foundation for sure. I think I'll only use it if I'm going out for short instances, such as a mini grocery run or something.

So, I went back to searching for a better powder foundation. I was at MAC with my sisters over Chinese New Year and noticed they had a line called Lightful.

The shade I got is NC25, which matches my skin tone very well. It looks slightly darker in the photo because of the tungsten lighting. The powder is sold separately from the compact. The sponge that comes with the powder is inserted into a compartment below. It is in the standard MAC powder foundation packaging except the Lightful one is a lot prettier instead of the usual black compact.

As this is an Asia-exclusive product, there is zero information on the MAC website. The reviews on MakeupAlley were generally positive with an average rating of 4.4 over 5.

It goes on a little powdery but feels lightweight. The staying power is not too bad and lasts approximately six hours on me. I also use a primer before foundation, so that probably helps. I still need to blot around mid-day because my t-zone gets oily. The coverage is light to medium and is buidable. It does not slide around as much but it still gets a little cakey below my nose however, it's not as bad as P&J. I think I'll try applying with a fluffy powder brush the next time to see if it's any better.

I would not recommend this foundation if you have dry skin because the powdery nature will enhance any fine lines or flaky skin. According to the MAC SA, it is supposed to be a cross between their blot powder and Studio Fix. I do not know how much of that is true but it seems to be designed for the oilier skin types. 

I certainly hope this review helps. It is definitely best to test run it for a couple of hours (if you get the opportunity) before purchasing.

Pros :
  • contains SPF25/PA+++
  • shiny, light blue casing that looks quite pretty
  • sponge housed separately from powder
  • MAC colour matches are quite extensive
  • light coverage, good for those who want something "natural" looking
  • suitable for oily skin
Cons :
  • expensive to some (may be MAC's most pricey powder to date)
  • shiny, light blue casing that looks quite pretty is a magnet for finger prints and smudges
  • compact is not very compact (a little bulky)
  • not that suitable for dry skin
  • will cake around the nose (but that could be just me)
Availability :
The Lightful Ultracharge Foundation can be purchased at any local MAC outlet. As this is an Asian exclusive, it is probably only available in Asia Pacific. The powder refill costs RM140 for 40g and the Lightful compact is RM35. Yes, that adds up to RM175 which is why I mentioned it is expensive. In fact, I think Dior powders are priced around the same range.

update (3rd March 2010) :
I discovered why makeup foundations have been caking really bad on me. It was mainly due to the L'Occitane sunscreen and a couple of other skin care items that were drying out my skin, causing my face to over-produce oil. This had a "pooling" effect especially noticeable between my eyebrows and below my nose. I just switched my moisturisers and sunscreen and there has been an improvement.