MAC Beauty Balm review – could it be an HG?

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MAC Beauty Balm reviewphoto: we heart this

MAC has added another notch in their multitasking belt with the addition of Beauty Balm to their Prep + Prime permanent collection ($30). The Beauty Balm is:

lightly tinted in a nearly sheer beige tone to work on an array of complexions, it creamily re-texturizes the skin and then goes on to excel at being a face primer with high everyday UVA/UVB SPF 35 defense.

Let’s examine those points in a Pros and Cons list…

SPF 35 – that’s some serious sun protection! Normally that would be a con for me. No, not because I enjoy leathery skin. Because I hate the smell and feel of spf. I can only use products that sneak it in. This is just the trickster to do it. I detect it, but only slightly. The smell is mild, the coverage – very un-mask like. A huge plus for me!

Describing it as creamy doesn’t seem creamy enough – I love how Beauty Balm feels. Light and blendable, it glides on to my skin and never feels heavy.

Primer + tinted moisturizer = Beauty Balm – Primers are too oily for me nine times out of ten, so I skip them and miss out on their smoothing properties. I also only wear tinted moisturizer, but sometimes feel like it’s not quite enough coverage. And when I switch too foundation, it feels like too much. Beauty Balm is the baby bear of skin products; it’s just right! It blurs imperfections, creates a smooth surface and adds just a touch of color. I’m telling you, I’ve flipped for the formula!

MAC Beauty Balm swatch

MAC Beauty Balm swatch

Limited color choice – despite claiming to “work on an array of complexions”, as you can see on my NC25 skin (which it is lightly blended into above), it’s pretty light. I can’t see it working on anyone darker then me. Beauty Balm should definitely come in a light, medium and dark tone choice.

Only available online – a big con in my eyes for a skin product. I definitely want to shade match in person on a product like this (at least the first time, and especially for a “one shade fits most” item like this).

If you are on the lighter side of the skin tone chart, looking for a multitasker and are willing to take an online risk for what could be a possible Holy Grail skin item, I think Beauty Balm is worth the leap of faith.

Anyone try it yet? What did YOU think?

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • Stef Andrews

    Stef is a plethora of things. Amongst them: co-founder of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie. She also has a touch of wanderlust and, arguably, the cutest dog in the whole world... skin tone: NC 25/30 skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products


  1. I need the MAC Beauty Balm!! It sounds perfect for me-especially for the summer. My skin just begs for extra special treatment in the summer. And as Jim Gaffigan might say I am beyond the pale, so it just might work for me!

  2. I don’t even have oily skin yet primers are usually too oily for me. MAC Beauty Balm sounds like something I would love, but I wish I could check it out in person before buying. I wonder if it will be available in stores eventually?

  3. I have combo, sometimes breakout prone skin and I actually love this product too! I was so curious when it came out so I purchased it online and now I feel kind of sad at it’s limited availability and potential chance of it selling out. But it was a success with yet another MAC face product that hasn’t messed up my face. Very pleased. For the record, I am NC30ish and this is a great base for me. Is stocking up in order @Stef?

  4. I’m going to have to check this out in person. I usually only wear a tinted moisturizer in the summer because i can’t stand heavier products on my skin in the heat and I just can’t do primer ever—I hate the feel and it hates my complexion (breakout city). I would be super excited if this was the HG that I’ve been searching for…

  5. Wow, MAC’s Beauty Balm looks great! I too have a really hard time using primers because I get too oily, so I am really impressed with the texture of this. I wish they did have a medium tone…I’m typically NC30 but sometimes that’s a little dark, so this light formula might work for me. I also really love the high SPF….

  6. I want to give this a try, but would like to try it out in person first, since I’m NC30 or darker in the summer. I haven’t really found a primer that works for me.

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