MAC Oil Control Lotion Review & Swatches

MAC Oil Control Lotion is my latest unexpected love! It’s funny how I got to have it in my possession in the first place and eventually fell in love with it. See, I thought I was placing a Nordstrom order for a mini Strobe Cream so when I opened my package to find that I had ordered this lotion instead, I was not happy! First of all, this product has received mostly negative feedback from a lot of reviews I’ve read; second, given the fragile condition of my skin as of late, I do not need another “mattifying” base product that could potentially irritate my skin further; and third, I just wanted the Strobe Cream and nothing else!

But of course, being a curious beauty blogger and all, I put it on anyway, not expecting anything out of it. But guess what, I think this lotion has turned out to be the best “base” makeup purchase I have made this summer! :)

MAC Oil Control Lotion
MAC Oil Control Lotion

Shown above is the mini version of the product that comes in a basic upside down squeeze tube. The full size one comes in a bottle with a nice pump (which I plan to purchase immediately after I finish with my mini). The lotion supposedly contains “natural exfoliants, colloidal minerals, and antioxidants” to improve the skin’s texture and clarity over time. Well, honestly, it doesn’t sound like anything special to me. I mean, lots of other face lotions promise to do just the same, too.

But the catch is this: it is formulated to balance the skin’s natural pH. Since our skin’s protective barrier performs best when it is in a mild acidic state at a pH of 5.5 (ref), I thought, well, maybe this is not just another face lotion after all!

MAC Oil Control Lotion
MAC Oil Control Lotion

And it’s not. For starters, the texture is milky white and super runny for a lotion. It goes on clear and spreads so well on the skin that I really don’t need more than a dime-sized to cover my entire face. The formula has a very mild scent of a typical lotion and you may not even notice it at all unless sniffing directly from the tube.

MAC Oil Control lotion literally takes the “fast-absorbing” property to the next level! It sinks into the skin immediately after application and leaves the skin soft, supple, and super hydrated, without any kind of greasy/oily feeling. It is supposed to give a matte finish but I find it to be more on the dewy-matte side instead. It still mattifies a great deal but at the same time also leaves a hint of dewiness to the face (oh this I love!). A lot of mattifying products tend to leave the skin with that kind of dry, tight, and sometimes flaky finish — not the case with this lotion at all. It feels like you’re just applying a nice, lightweight moisturizer; it does not in any way feel like you’re applying a mattifying base at all.

I like to apply it after my moisturizer and then followed with my makeup. Sometimes I also mix it with my MAC Prep + Prime Natural Radiance primer for an extra dose of brightening effect!

MAC Oil Control Lotion
MAC Oil Control Lotion

In terms of performancewow, it does what it says and more! It keeps my combination-to-oily skin matte throughout the day from morning until I take my makeup off at night! I wish I were kidding but I am not! Normally in the summertime like this, I have to blot like crazy especially in the afternoon hours but with this lotion on, I don’t remember the last time I blotted! Last weekend I spent the majority of the time outdoor in the hot sun and honestly I did not have to blot at all. If I were being picky, I may have noticed the slightest hint of shine on my nose but it was so small that blotting seemed unnecessary (and a total waste of blotting papers).

Besides its impressive oil control ability, this lotion seems to keep my makeup fresh and vibrant throughout the day, too! I don’t know how it does it but this lotion really works wonderfully on me. It goes to show that what doesn’t work for someone may work for the others! :)

MAC Oil Control Lotion; L-R: out of the tube, partially blended, and completely absorbed
MAC Oil Control Lotion; L-R: out of the tube, partially blended, and completely absorbed

And just a side note, when I used it on the first day, I did not find it to be impressive at keeping the excess oil at bay at all. But on the second day, it got better, and later after that, the oil production was substantially reduced. It’s like my skin needed a few days to adjust to the lotion. So, if you do try it, allow yourself a few days to see its full potential!

I am so glad that I decided to give this product a try. It has completely outperformed all of the other mattifying bases I’ve ever used. MAC really nailed it on the formulation of this one. In my years of wearing makeup, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a product that mattifies a great deal and still hydrates the skin so deeply at the same time. If you are oily, I really recommend it. Buy a mini to test out the formula and if you are prone to breakouts, apply only on certain areas of the face to see how your skin reacts to it. I am acne-prone myself and have not had any adverse effects on my skin so far since I started using it a few weeks ago. Seriously, I cannot find fault with this product at all! :)

Have you tried this lotion? How do you keep your face shine-free during summer?


Mini US$10 at Nordstrom

Full size US$32 at NordstromAmazonMAC

At MAC counters

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  1. says: popsicle13

    okay i will definitely check this out my greasy face need to be stopped! just love ur blog more and more everytimes and the exreme macro zoom picture is just so so amazing to see <3

  2. says: Carolyn

    Like you, I’ve come across mixed reviews of this and therefore never gave this a try! This sounds amazing, though. I’m so glad you received this by accident and that you’ve been loving it ever since! My oily skin may really need this one. Thanks for the review as always, Jaa! :)

    1. says: Jaa

      I hope you get to try it one day, Carolyn! It’s amazing! But maybe wait until your skin has calmed down a little bit first! :)

  3. I love a great lil happy accident like this! I’ve tried other mattifiers and found that my skin reacted poorly to them and produced more oil. This one definitely sounds intriguing! Also, “Since our skin’s protective barrier performs best when it is in a mild acidic state at a pH of 5.5” – this is why I love you, Jaa!! You’re awesome. :)

    1. says: Jaa

      Hehe! I think this product is different in the sense that it does not just mattify but hydrates as well. Most mattifiers just mattify without leaving any kind of hydration and that’s why our skin reacts by producing more oil. Just my guess! :)

  4. says: Sunny

    Hey Jaa, this is a happy accident for sure! I’ve been using a combination of Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner and Dior Pore Minimizer. They work well together!

    1. says: Jaa

      The Dior Pore Minimizer just did not work on me at all. I was so sad because I really really wanted to love it! I’ll have to try Bioderma products some day!

  5. says: Krithi

    This is something new to me
    Is it different from primer ?
    well i thought even primer would do a job of controlling the oil know?

  6. says: Grace

    Hi Jaa, it’s meant to be, you and this lotion:) My skin is on the normal size (which is not always the case). When it’s oily again in summer. I may give this a go!!

      1. says: Liz

        I used to be SUPER OILY. I think most of my 20s and early 30s was spent searching high and low for the best mattifying products. But I LOVE the look of dewy (not sweaty) skin. Go figure – we always want what we don’t have, right?! The oil production finally seemed to have decreased this past year and a half or so… so there is an end to the madness and it’s called aging, LOL! T-zone is still quite slick mid-day though. :)

        1. says: Jaa

          Same here, Liz! I used to be quite oily myself but lately only on the T-zone that gets kind of “dewy” mid-day. I suppose aging has its benefits after all!!! ;D ;D ;D

  7. says: Sylirael

    I’m impressed that it both mattifies and keeps things just nicely dewy! Although I’m not in need of mattifier (my skin would literally crack open if I took oil away, LOL), it;’s always good to hear when a product really works! :-)

    1. says: Jaa

      I know right? Usually mattifiers are really matte but this one is totally different. It feels like a moisturizer more than a primer!

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