Monday, February 27, 2012

MAC Cream Foundations: Studio Tech vs. Full Coverage

Some of my readers know that I have been using MAC's Studio Tech cream foundation since last summer, which I actually bought because I was looking for their Full Coverage Foundation (which is a PRO item only). While I have enjoyed it over the last half year or so and have even re-purchased it when I finished my first compact, I wanted to try the Full Coverage Foundation to see if there was a real difference or not between them.

The first difference you'll notice is in the packaging. Studio Tech comes in a compact similar to Studio Fix, which comes with a mirror, pan of foundation and another compartment with a sponge. Personally I never use the sponge or mirror, so it's kind of unnecessary and bulky. Full Coverage Foundation comes in a big compact without the extras.

I was a bit alarmed when I turned them around, just to show a comparison of the back.
Studio Tech only contains 10g of product and Full Coverage has 28g of product. They cost the same price! So now I definitely know that Studio Tech is definitely a rip off in comparison.

The compacts opened. You can't really tell the difference in texture from here, but this is just to show the difference in pan size.

I decided to swatch both of them on a piece of paper if it was possible to see a difference.
The shade is the same (thank god, I would probably be mad if it weren't), but you can see a bit of difference in the texture. Studio Tech applies a bit uneven and blotchy while Full Coverage applies evenly.

So now for the face comparisons! I started my face off with MAC Prep + Prime Skin along with MAC Fix+ to prime my face.
Here you can see my bare face:
You can see that I have skin issues including some dark spots, under eye bags and redness.

For applying this foundation, I used a MAC 130 brush (duo fiber brush with a small head) that was sprayed with MAC Fix+. Using Fix+ is helpful when using cream foundations because it makes it apply more evenly and hydrates the cream. These pictures will be a bit bigger so you can click on them and see the imperfections better. Remember to set cream foundations with a powder as well!

First up is Full Coverage:
As you can see, it covers up my skin perfections incredibly well! You can't see my redness or dark spots, my under eye circles aren't showing up too much and it covers up most of my pores. I also really like how it looks nice and airbrushed on my face!

Studio Tech:
This application is just of when using the brush. I feel like it can be kind of cakey, streaky, and blotchy in spots without touching it up.

I touched the foundation up with my hands to blend it better. As you can see it looks MUCH better than the picture without the touch up. It does a fairly good job of covering my imperfections but I feel that the Full Coverage covers more.

So now that you've seen the pictures, I'll do a pros and cons for each of them.
Full Coverage
- Lives up to the claim of being full coverage! Concealer is unnecessary to use.
- Doesn't feel too heavy on the skin.
- Applies evenly, no touch ups needed through out the day.
- Don't need to use a lot of product to cover the whole face.
- Same price as Studio Tech but comes with more product.

- Only available at MAC Pro Stores or online at very inflated prices.
- Might be too drying for dry skin types.
- Thick formula, so might not be good for every day use.
- Is a bit hard to wash off due to the thick formula.

Studio Tech
- Coverage is buildable! Starts as a medium coverage that can be built up to full coverage.
- Don't need to use concealer if you build up the coverage.
- Nice creamy texture, doesn't feel heavy.
- Easy to apply, good for everyday use.

- Pricey considering the amount you get.
- Streaky application without touch ups and can be cakey if built up too much.
- Need to use more product depending on the coverage you want.
- Touch ups are needed sometimes.

Both are great cream foundations, but you need to pick it on your personal preferences. Studio Tech is a good foundation for everyday use and beginners. Full Coverage really lives up to the promises, but can be hard to use for beginners or for everyday use. Definitely a must use for those that have really bad skin problems.

Where to buy
Studio Tech: Available at all MAC stores and counters worldwide or online, $30.
Full Coverage: Available only at MAC PRO stores worldwide, $30. It's possible to find it online, but the prices are highly inflated.


  1. Wow Wow, REally interesant, thanks for share the info =0

    1. mac ful coverage dch shade did u use?

  2. Thanks for this! I've been contemplating trying some MAC foundations and this post helps narrow down which ones might not work well for me since I have dry skin. :(

    1. You can definitely use foundations like Full Coverage if you have dry skin as well, since I have combo-dry skin! If you do intend to use a foundation like that I would recommend a few things:
      - Exfoliate well (some dryer foundations can latch onto dry skin flakes)
      - Use a good moisturizer before primer.
      - Use a moisturizing primer and layers of Fix+ or other setting sprays (like Urban Decay All Nighter Spray). I spray twice after applying my primer and spray a bunch when I'm setting my makeup and it feels realllly nice.

      I not only do those steps for the Full Coverage, but also for my Chanel Perfection Lumiere as well.

      But definitely if you don't want to go through the hassle of all that, Studio Tech is a good option :)

  3. Great article. May I give you some advice? Mac full coverage foundation is very pigmented (about 50% pigment, as opposed to drugstore foundations that contain only about 15-20% pigment), so you can sheer it down quite a lot (If the foundation is silicone based you can sheer it down with silicone, if it is water based you can sheer it down with a bit of water on the back of your hand) and it will still do the job. I personally think that for you this would be a much better look, simply because it won't look as cakey. Use concealer and corrector for the blemishes, foundation should only be used to even out your face!
    Hope this is of some help to you.

  4. Thanks for this review! I just recently acquired Studio tech and I'm happy with it so far. I think I'll purchase the full coverage as well, for videos and photo shoots.

  5. Damn girl, you were in some serious need of exfoliating

  6. I appreciate the review. Exactly what I needed to read as I am debating between full coverage and studio tech for Video shoots and performances. Going with the full coverage. Everyday wear I use the studio fix powder + foundation with the primer you mentioned.