Cosmetic chemist Amanda Lam tells Allure that the formula contains two different types of hyaluronic acid — sodium hyaluronate and hydrolyzed sodium hyaluronate — with two different molecular weights, which is a good thing. “The combo of different molecular weights can be beneficial in boosting skin hydration,” she explains. She’s a fan of the high-in-fatty-acids olive and jojoba oils (“perfect for maintaining skin moisturization,” especially after you wash your face) but also calls out the PEG/PPG/polybutylene glycol-8/5/3 glycerin, “a glycerin-derived emollient” with humectant and emollient properties and “an excellent non-sticky feel.” That means your skin will feel nice and moisturized but not weighed down.
Lam also calls out the “plethora of silicones” MAC has included, which is why the formula offers such a nice, smooth finish that is resistant to creasing.
All this said: Don’t skip your usual skin-care routine just because you’ve bought this new, HA-packed foundation. Lam notes that it’s “questionable” that skin-care ingredients can have much benefit in color cosmetics “due to film-formers and pigments ‘blocking’ penetration ability.” However, consumer perception studies conducted by the brand seem to confirm that, at the very least, this stuff feels really nice on your skin. “I think MAC has done a nice job providing data to demonstrate the benefits of its product,” Lam says. (And, for what it’s worth, she’s personally a big fan. “I’ve been using the foundation every day and it has quickly become a favorite,” she reports.)
About the shade range
While 56 shades is nothing to scoff at, if you’re a superfan of Studio Fix Fluid, you might have noticed that this new launch has six fewer shade options. This, Kureghian says, is because Studio Fix Fluid has a more opaque base, which “impacts stretchability … so it requires a larger breadth of shade.”
With names like NW5 and NC38 (that’s Neutral Warm 5 and Neutral Cool 38) it’s a fairly straightforward range to navigate, especially if you already know what you typically wear in other MAC complexion products. While the sheerer base might mean you need to go a shade lighter or darker than your usual MAC foundation number, you’ll probably be pretty close. For instance, if you’re an NW45 in Studio Fix, Kureghian says you’re likely an NW44 or NW45 in Studio Radiance.
The dewy glow comes from “a cocktail of micro pearls” in varying combinations of silver, champagne, and gold depending on the depth of the base shade. “From NC5 to NC30, it’s silver pearlescent forward,” Kuregian says. “NC35 to NC65 is gold pearlescent forward.” She notes that this is because silver “really imparts radiance” on lighter skin tones, while gold imparts a warming radiance on deeper ones.