MAC Black Panther, Holiday ’22, and More

We’ve got ourselves another MAC Cosmetics post! These are the products from MAC that I purchased during the final few months of 2022. I’ll begin with the two item types I haven’t purchased or reviewed from MAC before, but the blushes and highlighters are formulas I’m very familiar with and will probably not have much new to add. For those interested in my previous MAC posts, the list with links can be found on this index page here.

Additional MAC Items

MAC Glow Play Lip Balm in Floral Coral

This is one of a few items I redeemed as a free birthday gift from MAC’s Reward Program. It’s a sheer product in a soft formula. The top layer of the bullet instantly melts when it touches my lips. If I apply the amount of balm to my lips based on how it feels, I get almost no color. I can build it up to show a pink tinge, but the amount I need to apply for that leaves my lips feeling excessively wet in a way that isn’t quite greasy or oily, but it’s a similar enough sensation that is uncomfortable for me. After I wear it for a short time, it gives me the feeling of dripping around the edges and a strong urge to wipe it off.

For this reason, I haven’t been using this beyond the handful of times I wore it to test it out. And even though it feels moisturizing, my lips aren’t actually being conditioned. The moisture lasts a few hours before I feel like I need to reapply, even if there’s still some balm left on my lips.
If I want to wear a slightly colorful balm for a short time, like in photos, this is fine. If I want a balm that’s actually lip conditioning and having color isn’t a necessity, I’d reach for plenty of other balms instead. So, I don’t really recommend this. According to a sneak peek I saw on IG, MAC might be releasing a Valentine collection of new and/or existing shades of Glow Play Lip Balms and other lipsticks. I won’t be purchasing them.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation in NC47

This was a Black Friday purchase when MAC had 40% off complexion. The pump for this foundation is sold separately, and unfortunately was full price. I wish the package with the pump came with an extra cap that could fit over the foundation instead of the little dispenser cover piece because I always lose tiny parts to makeup and skincare (like the little spoons to scoop out products in jars).

With “fluid” in the name, I expected this foundation to be watery like the Uoma Beauty Say What Foundation or Kosas Tinted Face Oil, but it’s more viscous than those while still managing to feel lightweight on the skin. MAC describes it as being a, “buildable, medium to full coverage [foundation] in a natural matte finish.” While I agree with the buildable claim, the amount I would normally pump out and blend in with my Blendiful gives me light coverage, and I have to use quite a bit more product in order to get a solid medium. I can technically build it up to nearly full, but I have to focus on targeting my areas of discoloration specifically, and at that point it can look a little mask-like since it’s not my absolute perfect shade. So, I keep it at a nice medium and use concealer in the areas I need more coverage.

Additional photos of me wearing this foundation, under a different lighting situation (using my ring light), is in the highlighter section.

When I wore it the first time, I thought it was a pretty good color match, but upon subsequent usage and building it up to medium-full coverage, I realized it’s about a half a shade off in depth and it’s my correct undertone family but not perfect. The fact that I can wear it at all is quite surprising because I remember a time when I tried a sample of NC47 and it was too light for me, but the next shade NC50 was way too dark. I figured the hypothetical NC48 shade (if it existed) would be my perfect shade, but apparently NC47 can work for me in winter. Since I plan on wearing this at medium coverage level, it’s good enough of a match for me to keep it in rotation.

I do like the natural-matte finish of the foundation. It’s supposed to be sweat and humidity resistant, but I challenge that as well, since I managed to look sweaty on a day that was only 75 degrees Fahrenheit outside (and even colder in the house) when all I was doing was taking blog photos and rearranging my makeup drawers in the span of under two hours. It makes me wonder how this will look on me in the summertime when it’s between 85-98 degrees.
After I noticed how it was looking, I powdered my face (I initially skipped that step) and that helped to take away the extra shine. The other days I wore it were not hot days and I wasn’t doing anything that would make me produce sweat, so my face remained looking matte even without powder. So, I’m not sure what to make of those results. I will say that I love the fact that this sets on me to the point of being dry to the touch without a trace of wetness/creaminess and no transfer on my fingers that I can see. I love my natural and dewy foundations, but those usually come at the price of various levels of being transferable. I’ve had to train myself to just not touch my face and to be careful when switching outfits and hugging people. It’s actually a relief to have a foundation with some coverage again that I don’t have to be so careful with. I just wish they had my full on perfect shade in depth and undertone.

This is a pretty nice foundation. I like it, but I still prefer my Rose Inc and Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra. I can also think of past Nars Foundations and the original Makeup Up For Ever HD and Ultra HD that I preferred as well when I owned them. I haven’t been using this very long, and normally I don’t review a foundation until I’ve worn it at least 10 times, so there’s still room for my opinion to change. If that happens, I will try to remember to update this post.

My Latest MAC Highlighters

I make it a point now to try and make my MAC purchases via Selfridges because of the price difference being in favor of USD, or from MAC’s website when they have a sale of 30% off or higher. However, it was only the MAC Indulgent Glow Face Kits that came to Selfridges, so I had to purchase the others elsewhere. Of course, I could have waited until a potential sale for the collaboration items, but I didn’t want to take the chance of them selling out, so I purchased the Black Panther Royal Challenge and Whitney Houston ones at launch. I did at least get 20% off on Black Panther’s Royal Vibrancy when I bought that one from Ulta. At the time I’m posting this, the Black Panther Collection is on a deeper discount on MAC’s website, along with last year’s holiday items.

For those who may be curious, in all four highlighter photos I’m wearing the MAC foundation in NC47, The Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer in Terracotta (newest shade addition to the line that came out after my review), and the Pat Mcgrath Divine Rose III blush.

MAC Indulgent Glow Face Kit/Set in Sparkling Wine

These kits came in two versions: Sparkling Wine and Rosé. I was impressed by the presentation of the box in a beautiful creamy light pink color and with a raised pattern on the surface.

The bag the items come in is quite cute. I haven’t found a purpose for it yet, but it’s a nice “free” addition considering MAC Extra Dimension Highlighters have risen in price to $40 (or $44 for collaboration versions). This set being $44 normally, means the bag and brush that come with it are essentially free. I paid $35 for it from Selfridges, so the deal was even better.

I didn’t have high expectations for this brush, but it actually surprised me!
The more deeply shaped and intricate the embossed pans are from MAC, the harder it will have been pressed. That makes the top layer a bit tougher to pick up product from when using softer bristle brushes. This one feels soft, but the strands themselves are strong enough to really dig into the highlighter while still dispersing the product softly across the skin. Rather than following the direction of the brush, I swirled it roughly in the pan in a circular motion to get the most product pickup with the least effort.
I’ve used this brush enough times that it softened the surface of Sparkling Wine, so I can now pick up the product with my natural hair brushes. Prior to that top layer being broken into, it was extremely difficult.

I’ve also used this brush to apply blush and bronzer in a sweeping motion and it’s pretty good with those as well!

The highlighter embossing encapsulates the “Bubbles and Bows” theme MAC chose for holiday 2022.
MAC Highlighters tend to be smooth to the touch, but even when I rub my finger across the smoother part of the bow, it feels slightly rough and dry. However, it has such a healthy glowy sheen with a few twinkling sparkles that are just enough for me to feel like this is a festive highlighter I would want to wear to a holiday event, and not enough to be considered glittery. This contains medium size sparkles instead of large ones, which is probably why I actually find them to be quite pretty and wearable.

Ever since Fenty’s Trophy Wife highlighter came into being, I have feared pigmented deep yellow highlighters because of how terrible they look on me. So, I was afraid this one might be too yellow because of the way it looks in the pan, but then my fear switched to worrying it might be too light after seeing the swatch. However, on the face, it looks so pretty to me! Sparkling Wine has a semi-transparent base with just a hint of a yellow tinge to it. The color that peeks through blends with the undertone of my skin while not being pigmented enough to cause a stripe with the low amount of product I apply to my face. It also balances out the pearly looking particles within the highlighter. It looks lighter than Royal Challenge in swatches because the color of the inside of my arm is lighter than my face, but on my cheeks, the fact that Royal Challenge has a more pigmented and lighter base color gives it the lighter appearance, whereas Sparkling Wine’s slightly tinted base allows my darker cheekbone color to show underneath which makes it look darker than Royal Challenge overall. I really like this! As the embossing starts to wear down, I know I’m going to struggle with that part of me that doesn’t want to ruin it versus the side that wants to make sure I get good use out of the products I own. However, this embossing is lingering quite well so far, so I guess I have a ways to go before I need to start worrying!

MAC x Whitney Houston Extra Diminision Skinfinish in Just Whitney

This is another highlighter that was hard-pressed in a way that just affected the very topmost layer and is now getting easier to use as the print is fading. And, once again, I’m reaching the point where I want to keep it intact, but want to be able to wear it. This is slightly smoother and less drying feeling than Sparkling Wine. It’s certainly closer to the kind of deep golden highlighter shades I tend to prefer to wear. Just like all my other highlighters from the brand, this lasts all day and remains shiny without losing its reflectivity as the day goes on. It’s a solid product, but because it’s the most common type of color in my collection, I instinctively compare it to everything else I own, and then it doesn’t seem quite worth the $44 price tag. If the highlighter was in standard packaging, I believe it should be within the $28-$35 range. Because of the collaboration with such a powerhouse of an icon (or at least Whitney’s Estate on her behalf), the pretty limited edition packaging, and the highlighter embossing, the special factor is there. So, I don’t mind it being the price I paid, but I’m just not sure this particular color being added to my collection would be worth it otherwise. For anyone else though, I would recommend it with the acknowledgement that it could be considered a bit overpriced.

MAC x Black Panther Extra Dimension Skinfinishes in Royal Challenge and Royal Vibrancy

I still haven’t watched the Black Panther sequel, but I loved the first one, so I felt an inward obligation to purchase at least one thing from the collection. I tried to purchase the Black Panther Cosmetic Bag, but that was an utter mess. Even though I purchased it at 2am EST (I assume it launched at midnight), my order ended up canceled due to being “sold out,” but they didn’t cancel it until three weeks later after it was sold out at other retailers too. The most irritating part is that I called them about nine days in to ask them about the fact that they priced it at $35 whereas everywhere else had it for $25 and then they later changed the price to $25, but I hadn’t been reimbursed. That call, had the bags truly been out of stock, would have been the prime moment for them to let me know there weren’t any left and to cancel my order so I could have time to buy it somewhere else. However, they didn’t do that, so I don’t believe their statement to me about the bag being out of stock since the launch day, yet it somehow took weeks until it read “sold out” on the website.

Anyway, these two shades are gorgeous, but a better combination for me is to have Royal Challenge on the bottom and a little bit of Royal Vibrancy added on top. That way, I can get some of that darker shimmer without the dark cast when I turn my head at certain angles. In photos, Royal Vibrancy looks perfect for me, but I’ve been unsuccessful in capturing the dark cast I’m referring to from it being a little too deep bronze-red for me.

The texture feels soft and smooth. It’s softer than the others, but it’s also not as hard pressed because the embossing isn’t as detailed/intricate. Also, it’s lasting me quite a while. I forgot to take a photo of Royal Vibrancy prior to being used (or at least I lost the photos of it if I took them) so the picture I included above shows it after about eight uses and it looks nearly untouched! Granted, I was swiping highlighter across the entire pan and not just zeroing in on one specific spot in order to keep it looking even.

At the same time that I purchased these two, I also bought the Tom Ford Shade Illuminate Highlighting Duo in Tanlight that reminded me of a combination of those shades. However, in swatching them together, I see that the tones are slightly different. The lighter shade in Tanlight is more flattering on me than Royal Challenge and the deeper shade is not as dark, and therefore works on its own for me better than Royal Vibrancy. Most of the time I just mix the two Tanlight shades together for a highlighter shade I love a lot and it’s in an even smoother finish than the ones from MAC. Considering I paid around the same price for Tanlight (it was slightly discounted at Nordstrom) as the two MAC highlighters combined, it’s funny that the Tom Ford one was the better purchase for me. However, I also bought these as Black Panther/Wakanda Forever merchandise, so I don’t regret it.

While I could have waited for these highlighters to go on a deeper discount, I like the franchise and didn’t want to chance missing out. So, for me, these were worth having. I think I will stop using Royal Vibrancy though, in order to keep one looking pristine, and just start using Royal Challenge mixed with a different darker highlighter, such as the R.E.M. Interstellar Highlight in Miss Mars.

My Latest MAC Blushes

I currently have 35 MAC blushes in my collection (this number fluctuates as I get rid of some and purchase others) which is by far the most blushes I own from a single brand. Despite having so many, I can’t help but remain interested in them because MAC makes some of my favorite finishes, plus they’re pigmented, and are very long wearing. These four I’m discussing today are the remaining few that hadn’t been reviewed yet on this blog.

MAC Glow Play Blushes in Just Peachy and Groovy

That’s Peachy was the other free birthday item I chose. Based on how it looks, I thought there was no way it would show up on my skin. However, I felt the same way about Peaches ‘N’ Dreams, which ended up working on me too, so I tried it on a whim and was floored! Granted, I have to build it up a ton to get a flush of peach, but it still works and I think it’s beautiful!

Groovy looks like a deep coral-orange on me, and thankfully not a pure orange. As much as I love Heat Index, which was previously my favorite shade, Groovy dethroned it after just once use. I avoided getting this color for a long time because Nikki and a few others mentioned the formula difference in Groovy compared to the other Glow Play Blushes. It’s been a few years now since the Glow Plays launched (January 2020), so I think the original disappointing batch of Groovy are no longer being sold. Or at the very least, I was lucky and got one with the same texture as the others. I was more willing to chance it because I waited for a 40% off sale on blushes.

The Glow Play line remains one of my favorites from MAC and in general because they have the softness and sheen of a cream/putty with the benefit of drying down. They’re buildable and blend right into the skin. It’s a really gorgeous product that I highly recommend trying for those who haven’t.

Because there are such subtle differences among the shades I own, I figured it would be helpful to show the ones I own all together and in swatches.

And for those who like limited edition packaging, MAC currently has the shades Heat Index and So Natural in their Lunar New Year 2023 packaging for their “New Year Shine” collection.

MAC Mineralize Blush in Hey, Coral, Hey…

I included a picture of how the blush looks on my finger, plus a swatch that isn’t fully blended, to demonstrate my issue with this particular Mineralize Blush. The deep reddish-coral pigment is gorgeous and is a tone that looks pretty and suitable for me when I pick it up, but it’s got a light base powder that when blended lightens the shade overall and turns it ashy on my skin. This is even evident looking at the surface of the blush itself between the darker and lighter patches. It’s not super ashy, but just enough on the cusp to make me not want to wear it.

I’ve had issues with most of the Mineralize Blush shades I’ve tried in the past (and said it looked too matte and dry and lighter on my skin than it looks in the compact), and now I’m starting to wonder if the base color in this particular line of blushes from MAC is the reason most don’t work for me. Love Thing and Flirting with Danger are currently the only two that I’ve liked and don’t look ashy on me because the pigment is deeper than I’d normally wear, but is more toned down and lighter when blended on my actual cheeks. It’s unfortunate that it took me buying six of them to finally realize why some shades of Mineralize Blushes work for me, yet others don’t. But, I’m happy that now I know that if MAC creates more colors in this formula, it’ll be safe for me to get them as long as they are the deepest ones (and deeper colors than I normally go for). Any of the colors that look medium-dark or lighter in the compacts just won’t work for my skin tone.

Hey, Coral, Hey… isn’t staying in my collection, but I still recommend the Mineralize Blush line overall, as long as it’s well established to be careful selecting the right colors if you have a dark/deep skin tone. The two shades that work for me are in my top favorites, not just among MAC blushes but among my blush collection as a whole.

MAC x Stranger Things Powder Blush in He Likes It Cold

This color makes me think of MAC’s Flirting with Danger and Frankly Scarlet blush shades. I’ve tried several times to capture the variations in undertone, but they barely show a difference on my skin tone. I retook the photos again, but had to do brush swatches because my older powder blushes from MAC really don’t like to be finger swatched anymore. Nikki, who I’ve mentioned several times here, did a clear comparison of those three shades that can be found here on her blog for those interested, as well as a ton of other MAC content and more. Essentially, the undertone of those shades are going to make a bigger difference if you’re lighter than me (and then perhaps on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re much deeper).

I tried my hardest to skip buying this blush because I had similar enough shades to it, but I think I ended up paying $15 for it when it went on sale, so I couldn’t resist. This release celebrates Stranger Things Season 4, but I only watched seasons 1-3, so I don’t understand the “He Likes it Cold” reference (but it sounds creepy). It’s a pretty color, applies smoothly (even smoother than MAC’s older matte powder formula), and performs as fantastically as I expect from a MAC blush, so I’m happy I bought it. I just caution using a light hand with this particular shade.

That’s everything for today! I’m on another year long low-buy, so I would love to say it will be a long time before I do another MAC post, but that feels unrealistic as it’s one of the brands I purchase from the most. It can be expected that additional new releases from MAC will be reviewed here at some point, if not at launch, then perhaps after a big sale.

Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Disclaimer: Other than free birthday gift items everyone who joins MAC’s free reward program is entitled to (I can’t recall if you need to be a certain tier for it though), I purchased all the other items with my own money. I am not affiliated with the brand. There are no affiliate links in this specific post.

MAC Surrounded By Stars Palette, Peaches ‘N’ Dreams Blush, and Macstack Mascara Reviews

I buy products from MAC fairly often, but I like to review multiple purchases at once, rather than doing them individually. Today’s post is a review of all the latest additions to my ever growing collection of makeup from MAC Cosmetics.

MAC Extra Dimension X4: Surrounded By The Stars Skinfinish Palette

This item is part of MAC’s Magnificent Moon Collection that I purchased online from Selfridges containing an existing Extra Dimension Highlighter (Oh, Darling), two existing Extra Dimension Blushes (Hushed Tone and Hard to Get), and one new Extra Dimension Skinfinish Blush/Highlighter in the shade Surrounded By Stars, which is also the name of this face quad. This release was in celebration of Ramadan and EID, which I admittedly don’t know anything about aside from them being an important time in the Islamic religion. By this point, it seems this collection will not be released in the US. As a lover of celestial imagery and MAC’s Extra Dimension Skinfinish formulas, I couldn’t pass this up like I did with the MAC Mosaic Masterpiece Collection from 2020 that I hoped would come to the US, but it never did.

I already own Hushed Tone, but the other products are new to me. Hushed Tone was my favorite Extra Dimension Blush shade from MAC for a while, but it’s on the lighter side of medium which means it is harder to see on my skin. If I build it up too much, the shimmer particles become too apparent for my taste, which is why I usually reserve this blush for the winter time when I am at my lightest. Faux Sure replaced Hushed Tone as my favorite because it has just as pretty of a sheen but is on the medium-dark spectrum, so it shows better on me. Oh, Darling is a bit light for me and Surrounded by Stars only works for me as a highlighter, so I prefer to combine those two products. Surrounded by Stars can look a bit subtle because of the tone of it, so adding the tiniest amount of Oh Darling gives it that extra pop at the highest points of my face. As for Hard to Get, the only reason I don’t already have a single of that shade is because I knew it was darker than I like to wear for blush. It doesn’t look too dark in my photo since I applied such a sheer layer, but I can literally use it as a shimmery sculpting blush if I want. In fact, when I reach for this palette, I like to put Hard to Get just above where I would contour and have it be a deeper gradient going into Hushed Tone.

I forgot to mention that in the last photo above, Surround By Stars with Oh Darling are both on top of the Suqqu blush.

It was only around six months ago that MAC released a similar product as part of the MAC x Rosalia Aute Cuture collection. Those were more of the highlighter formula whereas these are the softer to the touch blush formula, which I prefer. I’m quite pleased with the fact that I can find a use for all these shades, though I am more lightly to reach for my single products over this full palette. This is especially because I have a difficult time using limited edition products and ruining the embossing on the pans. I am happy to have this anyway.

MAC Wild Cherry Glow Play Blush in Peaches ‘N’ Dreams

I reviewed the HD Cherry Tree Blush previously, but I used my points at Ulta to get this shade. It’s not very pigmented, so it takes a ton of building up to get it to show on my cheeks, though my camera still had a hard time picking it up. It looks quite orange in the compact, but it translates to a true peach on the cheeks. I do like this shade and just like all the other Glow Play blushes, the blend is beautiful and the blush lasts as long as I need it to on my cheeks.

I couldn’t decide which photo shows the blush better so I just put them both here. It may depend on the viewer’s device settings and screen brightness.

MAC Macstack Mascara (Mini with the Superstack Mega Brush)

I bought this with my Ulta Reward Points as well. I purchased the version with the Superstack Mega Brush which is supposed to be better suited for those with longer lashes naturally and/or for everyone to use on the upper lashes. There is also a Superstack Micro Brush for those with naturally shorter lashes or for those who just want a smaller brush to get at the lower lashes.

I applied a thick line for my eyeliner, which makes it difficult to see my eyelashes, but I do have decent length to them. It’s just not as visible without the lift that a good mascara provides. My lower lashes are quite fine though, so I typically have an issue applying mascara there (except with a select few favorites), but I still went for the mini size of the Mega brush mascara.

I cannot deny that I can achieve a false lash effect with this mascara. I don’t have issues with smudging and it’s also fairly easy to remove the mascara. However, the more layers are added the more it’s prone to clump despite being marketed as, “… a continuously buildable mascara that stacks on infinite layers of volume and length.” Even if I keep passing over the lashes repeatedly without dipping back into the tube (so still within the first coat) it will start to clump if I keep at it for too long. After using it a few times, I wondered if it was because it starts trying to dry. The formula is supposed to allow the user to build up multiple coats, even on fully dry lashes, so the dried lashes do soften back up, but then it just builds on top of the clumps rather than smoothing them out. So, the most clump-free tactic I have is to skip wiggling the applicator side to side like I usually do to build up volume with other mascaras. Instead, I try building up the first coat using straight upward strokes for about 30 seconds to a minute before dipping the wand back in the tube (even if there’s still product on the wand) just to get a fresh wet coat and continue building it up, just stopping short of it starting to get that first clump. I then use the tip end of the applicator to smooth that clump back off (since it’s easier to fix one spot rather than multiple spots in multiple sections of the lash) and then leave the mascara alone. Another method is to repeat that step of building up a layer in the first minute, stopping to let it dry, then building up a second later but only in a minimal amount of strokes (5 to 15) in order to stop before the clumping begins.

The only time I had an issue with flaking was in the beginning when I had drier layers and clumped layers. Considering how much I dislike spidery lashes or clumps because it makes my lashes look like they’re suffering from split ends, I’m a little torn on my feelings about this mascara. I love the effect it gives in the end when I get it right, but it’s a little more finicky than my tried and true favorites, so it’s not always worth the effort for how quickly I need to do my makeup sometimes. I do like it, but I will not be buying the full size at full price. I could possibly see myself buying it at half price after my mascara no-buy is over (which I technically already broke for this).

That’s everything for today! Thank you as always for taking the time to read… or if you’re new here, welcome!

-Lili

MAC Cosmetics Lunar Luck, Wild Cherry, and More

MAC Cosmetics is probably the most reviewed brand on my blog. They frequently release eye catching collections that manage to make me want even their repromoted shades, just to get the limited edition packaging. They often have sales, which plays on my deep love of getting a good deal. Their staple products are top notch and they’ve held onto their generally good reputation for decades. Unfortunately, MAC has made some questionable production decisions in the last few years to the point where I seriously considered taking a break from them. Today’s post is not about that, and is instead about sharing the newest additions to my MAC collection.

MAC Lunar Luck Eyeshadow x 9: Made My Fortune

This palette was a gift from one of my best friends, and for that reason I will cherish it. It’s one of those things I wanted for the packaging, but not the makeup inside, since I tend to not be the biggest fan of MAC’s eyeshadows. I can at least say the quality of this one is the best I’ve tried from them. The shimmers have pigmented bases, but are a bit tame in sparkle reflectivity, even when used wet. I appreciate that they were easy to apply smoothly to the lids and inner corner. The mattes were also more pigmented than I expected from MAC, and slightly easier to blend than the ones I’ve used in the past. Creating the two looks shown below was enjoyable enough that I may continue to use this palette from time to time, but not enough to make me want to purchase anymore MAC shadows. There isn’t a whole lot of versatility among the two light mattes that hardly show on me (Shell We Celebrate and Sunkissed Orange) and two shades that look nearly identical when used next to each other (Propitious Poppy and Plum What May). The shimmers (excluding Supreme Harmony) don’t look that far off from each other in the pan, but I was pleased to see they are distinctly different on the eyes. Wish Me Luck!, 15 Minutes of Flame, and Born to Rule (as a highlight shade only) are my favorite eyeshadows in the palette. I’ve really been into the brown shimmer eyelid look lately. I still feel $32 is a bit pricey for the quality, so for anyone wanting this palette, I hope you’ll be able to get it on sale!

MAC Glow Play Blush in No Shame!

I’m a big fan of MAC’s Glow Play blush formula, so I wasn’t satisfied with having just one from their collection. I got this for 50% off on Black Friday.
These blushes tend to look more vibrant and pigmented than they actually look on the skin, which can be tricky in trying to figure out which shades would work for me. No Shame! takes a lot of building up to get it to show on my cheeks, but the end result is pretty. It has that familiar putty-like texture that sets to a natural finish, just like the others.

At the time that I’m writing this, I cannot find this shade on the website any longer. I think it’s safe to assume it has been discontinued, and I believe the reason is because of the release of HD Cherry Tree.

MAC Wild Cherry Collection Glow Play Blush in HD Cherry Tree

HD Cherry Tree is like a deeper, slightly more berry version of No Shame!. Quite a few people managed to get their hands on this blush before the US launch, so I purchased mine from one of them (and for less than the retail price)! I was unlucky that as soon as I flipped it over to let the plastic protector naturally fall out, the entire blush popped out with it. However, since it’s a bouncy blush, I was able to squish it back in the compact. Good as new!

I’ve only purchased the Glow Play shades that I think would show up on me, and it’s a bit unfortunate that they look quite similar to each other.

My hope is for MAC to expand the range even further to fill in some gaps, like a medium-deep reddish brown, a terracotta, and a deep pink-mauve. Then again, I’m trying to buy fewer MAC products, so maybe it’s good that they don’t have those shade options!

The Wild Cherry collection is limited edition, but I wonder if MAC intends to make HD Cherry Tree a permanent shade in the future, but without the special packaging. There are two other Glow Play blushes in the Wild Cherry line, but I don’t plan on buying them. Between the Wild Cherry packaging and last year’s Black Cherry packaging, I prefer the look of this new one.

MAC x Lisa Blush in Melba

There isn’t much to say about this blush since I already reviewed it before, but I wanted it for the limited edition packaging since purple is my favorite color. I know Lisa is from the band BLACKPINK, but I don’t listen to their music, so the collab aspect didn’t entice nor deter me.
Melba only works for me when I’m at my lightest (typically winter), so I gave my original blush to my sister. This color is still so difficult to get it to show on camera*, but it is visible in person. After wanting to repurchase it for so many months, I decided to go ahead and do it when it was 40% off on Veteran’s Day. Around that time or soon after, I saw the sneak peeks of the MAC x L collection, but I had no idea they would repromote yet another product and that it would be Melba! It worked out in the end since I gifted my new and unused standard packaging version of Melba to the friend who gave me the Lunar New Year Tiger palette.

*Another photo showing Melba is in the Illuminate Face Palette section demonstrating how GoldieLush looks on the cheeks.

I’d like to add that my last purchases directly from MAC’s website was last November and December and both of them were listed as delivered according to the tracking history on my account page (I didn’t get shipping confirmation for either one), but they never arrived. I had to contact customer service for reshipment. Prior to that, my eyeshadow palette from the Tempting Fate collection was lost in the mail (after already being delayed for a week before getting shipped). I would typically view the carriers as responsible for undelivered mail, but the lack of shipping confirmation in two of those instances makes me wonder if the fulfillment center nearest to me is having issues and if it’s fixed by now.

MAC Pro Face Palette: Illuminate

I was eligible for a free birthday gift in November, which was supposed to be an eyeshadow quad. Only three out of four shades were in stock, and it wouldn’t let me add them to my cart without choosing a non-existent fourth available shade. I asked customer service what I should do in this instance, since you can only redeem the gift with a purchase and I only had a few days left before the offer expired. The solution was to send me this palette, which I jumped on since I don’t really like MAC eyeshadows anyway.

This palette consists of cream highlighters that have an almost waxy texture. It reminds me of both edge gel and the Danessa Myricks Dew Wet Balms. I didn’t have high hopes because products in that consistency tend to remove my foundation underneath it, and this one did too, but it’s easy to apply a little concealer back on top without interfering with the shine level. Unlike the Dew Balm, this gave a perfectly smooth wet sheen without looking greasy. It doesn’t dry completely, but it’s not dewy enough for my hair to cling to it either. I was very happy with the results! It also makes a great base to intensify powder highlighters that are applied on top of it, although I don’t usually go for the super highlighted look. Powder highlighters are my preference, so I don’t know how often I’ll actually use this, but it certainly made a nice birthday gift!

Please ignore the slightly lingering indent on my skin from wearing a mask. I took 3 of the 4 photos on the same day, which is why GoldieLush doesn’t have that mark.

They look nearly identical in photos, but the slight pink tinge in Starry Opal, the light silvery tone of Malted Milk, the traditional medium gold in GoldieLush, and the orange tint to Peach Plush are identifiable in person.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Dark Tan

I wanted to try this powder for so long, but trying to figure out which shade I should choose out of Dark, Dark Tan, Dark Golden, Dark Deep, and Dark Deepest (which didn’t look all that deep in all the photos and videos I scoured the internet to find) was quite frustrating. It’s helpful when brands list their products by order of either lightest to darkest or darkest to lightest, but these didn’t seem to follow that order all the way, which added to my confusion. The biggest difference between multiples of them seem to be the undertone, but MAC doesn’t have any descriptions of these shades. It would be great if the brand created a chart pairing MAC foundation shades with the suggested powder matches.

This powder tends to look lighter on camera, so it took ages for me to get an accurate photo. I can understand now why the same shade looks so different in the photos and videos I’ve seen others take too.

Based on the broken up powder photos from MAC’s website, I thought Dark Tan and Dark Deep were my two best options, but I questioned whether Dark Deep was slightly too dark and possibly a bit orange. Since powders can sometimes deepen on my skin when I wear a dewy foundation, I decided to ultimately get Dark Tan. Dark Tan is admittedly a tad light, but it still works for me. The bigger issue I have is that it looks a little dry on my skin because I grew unaccustomed to having such a matte look to my face, plus it being a bit light. I have only used this a few times, so I will continue to experiment some more using different brushes. It’s possible I applied too much or that it looks better with other complexion products. Because I was so iffy about whether I’d like this powder or be able to select the right shade, I decided to wait as long as it took for this product to finally be on sale for higher than 30%. It took years, but I was thrilled when MAC added this to the 50% off deal for Black Friday. So, that made satisfying my curiosity less of a financial hit!

This is everything new I’ve added to my collection from MAC so far. I do intend to get the Magnificent Moon Extra Dimension x 4 highlighter quad palette when it gets released. Of course, I shouldn’t because I’m on a highlighter no-buy, but this falls in line with one of the exceptions listed in my Beauty Resolutions post. I love moons. It’s one of the central aspects of my one and only tattoo, so that kind of imagery is significant for me. Other than that, I’m going to continue trying to slow down on the frequency of my MAC purchases so I can enjoy what I already have!

Thank you for reading!

-Lili

MAC x Rosalia Aute Cuture and MAC Collection Update

After the slightly disappointing Tempting Fate release, I wasn’t sure if I should get anything from the MAC x Rosalia Aute Cuture Collection. However, the gorgeous face palette just named “EXTRA DIMENSION SKINFINISH X 4: R PICKS” was calling to me. I love the Extra Dimension formulas and MAC tends to nail their staple products and long standing formulas, so it was a little lower of a risk to purchase it.
Today, I’m reviewing the quad from the collection, showing how the shades look on me, and giving some comparison swatches. I’m also going to review other MAC products I’ve purchased but haven’t featured here until now.

I should also mention that three products I’m reviewing today are collaborations, but I have very limited knowledge of the artists and designer MAC chose to work with, so I’m focused on the products and not the celebrities.

MAC x Rosalia Extra Dimension Skinfinish x 4: R Picks (Limited Edition)

My very first thought when I saw this palette was how much it reminded me of the Dior Backstage face palettes that also come in four shades and have a very similar embossing in the pans. Dior’s is $45 for 10 grams ($4.50 per gram) and MAC’s is $60 for 16 grams ($3.75 per gram). A higher than usual price is to be expected with collaborations, and MAC’s palette still has a better price per gram, but I wasn’t planning to get it without a discount. Ulta released a $15 off a $50 purchase coupon, so that’s how I ended up with this product and I’m so happy I did!

For those interested in details about the packaging, this palette is made of cardboard but there is a thin plastic layer around the edges of the pans and mirror. This makes it look more sleek, glossy, and gives the illusion of being made out of a solid sturdy plastic on the inside, even though it is not. I don’t mind the cardboard, so I think adding the thin plastic covering was a clever move to elevate the packaging in a cost effective way. I also like the texture of the raised “R” pattern I can feel on the outer print of the palette.

I was thrilled to see the peachy pink blush tone shade, Guindilla, is wearable on my skin despite being such a light color. I have to build it up in order to get it to show, but it still works without becoming too glowy because this shade has less shimmer in it than the other three and it has more of a satin texture to the powder than the others. It’s also less shimmery than the line of Extra Dimension Blushes. I’m very glad it doesn’t have a harsh metallic reflect that some blush-highlighter hybrids possess, such as the Coloured Raine Glowlighters. I can wear this as a blush, but it also makes a nice blush topper. I’ve only tried it once as a standalone highlighter. It works but the shine is subtle and has to be built up.

The one I thought I would get the least use out of is Rosa Peach, the “tan gold” shade. It’s a bit light for my skin tone, but it doesn’t look as off if I apply it closer to where my blush starts on my cheekbone. I really don’t like Rosa Peach on my bare skin or non-blush areas because the blush is what keeps it somewhat matching in tone. I use a small amount and try to really blend it in to make it work.

The shade I figured would best suit me, and it does, is Miel de Azhar. It’s not as dark as it appears in the pan. A small amount of Maca or Rosa Peach will pop on my face, but with this bronze color, I can keep it looking subtle with a light layer or build it up to medium intensity. I can only guess that perhaps a shade like this could be used to bronze someone with a lighter skin tone, but the shimmer level might be too much for some people for bronzing purposes.

The yellow coloring of Maca works better with my undertone, but it’s still a bit light for me. So, I use it sparingly and blend it in. My preference though is to apply Miel de Azhar to my face and then use Maca for strategic highlighting where I want even more brightness.

My shirt color (in conjunction with lighting) can sometimes throw off what my skin tone appears like on camera, so I made sure to post additional photos wearing the shades from this palette. Black clothing tends to have the best results, but I don’t like wearing the same thing all the time. Between the face photos and swatches, I hope these are still helpful.

MAC x Teyana Taylor Mineralize Skinfinish in House of Petunia (Limited Edition/Discontinued)

I missed this when it initially launched, so I was surprised when MAC restocked it earlier this year and it coincided with either a big sale or it was in the “goodbyes” sale section. I can’t remember. It’s a light warm gold in the Mineralize Skinfinish formula with a pearly sheen and larger visible shimmer particles randomly throughout. Sometimes it looks nice on me but sometimes my brush picks up too much pearl and/or glitter particles and then I don’t like the effect. So with each use I never know if I will like how it looks on me or not. For that reason, I don’t wear it as much as I originally hoped. I try to use a little and keep it sheer but it can be intensified with a heavier application and especially if applied on a damp face (like with MAC Fix + sprayed first).

MAC x Harris Reed Embrace Your Duality Palette (Limited Edition)

It really looks like it says “Harry” on the cover of the compact, but it is indeed “Harris.” One of my best friends purchased the eyeshadow palette and wasn’t thrilled with the quality, so I didn’t get anything from this collection at first, even though I really wanted the packaging. When this was in the “Goodbyes” section (where MAC has products discounted before being discontinued) for $10, I thought I might as well get it and see if I had better luck with the colour bases than my friend had with the shadows.

These bases can be used on the eyelids, cheeks, and body. On the eyes, these crease on me within minutes, so it’s a no-go. With the Tempting Fate collection, I found that adding a layer of powder over the creamy Leather Lustre shades helped with creasing, so I’ve tried that with these bases as well. It helps for about an hour, so that’s not long enough for me to want to use it again unless it’s strictly on the lid and away from the crease of my eyes and where it’s partially hooded.

The pink shade, Over Ambitious, feels like a cream blush and applies beautifully to the skin. It’s not completely transfer proof, but once it sets it will mostly stay in place and hair won’t stick to the face. I attempted to do a blush-draping look with it and really liked how it turned out! The glittery yellow gold shade, called Be Your Own Light, is greasier in consistency with a gritty texture. It looks pretty from afar but it’s way too sparkly for my liking up close.

I’m not interested in putting makeup on my body, so I haven’t tried these anywhere other than my face. This product is no longer on the US website, but the last time I checked, I saw it was still available on MAC’s Canadian website. Perhaps it’s also still for sale in other parts of the world. Although I don’t like these on the eyes or the yellow shade as highlighter, I love the pink shade as blush, so I do recommend it at the discounted price for anyone who may come across it.

MAC Glow Play Blush in Heat Index

This was one of two blushes in the Glow Play line that I debated getting, but ultimately, the blog post from Nikki is what helped me decide to go with the Heat Index shade instead. When I became interested in MAC products again, her blog was especially helpful, so I recommend any MAC lovers to check it out!
I am such a fan of this Glow Play formula and wish MAC would extend the shade range. They do have quite a few already, but most are on the light side or are tones I don’t wear. The texture of this blush is most similar to the Stila Heaven’s Hue highlighters. It’s a buildable formula that works well with my Sonia G Mini Base brush. I’ve also successfully used it with my fingers, but I have not tried it with a sponge. MAC frequently has deals going on and the most recent one of 30% off just ended a week ago. With so many brands now with so many good cream formulas at affordable prices, I can’t say I recommend getting this at full price, but it’s absolutely worth it for 30% or more.

MAC Mineralize Blush in Flirting with Danger

The last time I reviewed the Mineralize Blush line, I wasn’t a fan of how dry the shades looked on my skin. I decluttered all of them except Love Thing and was determined to keep away from this formula of blush. However, when I saw Flirting With Danger in person at the MAC store, I couldn’t get it out of my mind and ended up purchasing it during one of the sales. I love this blush so much! It’s the perfect mix of red and orange but in a wearable natural tone, as opposed to something hot and poppy like Electric Bloom from Pat Mcgrath. I like vibrant blushes sometimes, but I also appreciate a version that’s a bit more toned down like this one. I will probably still avoid getting anymore Mineralize Blushes in the future, but I’m happy to have this one and Love Thing.

Also, this shade is quite pigmented, so I use a small amount and love the sheered out look on my cheeks. I’m not restricted to using a light fluffy brush. I can use a dense one with it as well, as long as I just use one tap and really work it into my skin.

MAC Extra Dimension Blush in Under My Plum (Limited Edition from the Black Cherry Collection/Discontinued)

For some reason I thought I already reviewed this on my blog! I posted about it on Instagram ages ago and I took all the product photos and even had comparison photos ready, but I don’t know what happened. In any case, Under My Plum performs just like all the other Extra Dimension blushes, but I think it’s a little less shimmery (or at least the shimmer in it is darker and less noticeable). It’s distinctly different in color to the other shades I own, but on the cheek it really isn’t that much different than Faux Sure or Sweets For My Sweet. It’s even listed as a dupe on Temptalia’s blog for the shade Wrapped Candy in this same formula.

This isn’t available for purchase anymore. If you skipped it, but you own any of the other shades I mentioned, I don’t think you’re missing out. I used it a few times and then went right back to wearing Faux Sure, my favorite in that line.
If it’s the packaging you feel you missed out on, MAC will apparently be bringing a similar shiny pink compact back in 2022. I’ll link my source. Petallic Metallic is not a new shade, but I don’t believe they’ve done this exact packaging before. I’m also not sure if they’re only doing Extra Dimension Skinfinishes for Spring or if they will have blushes in the collection as well.

Photo credit: to Angelnaked_1 on Instagram. That user’s original account (Angelnaked1) was reported so many times by brands that Instagram removed it. The person returned now as Angelnaked_1.

MAC Pro Refill Blush in Dollymix and Swiss Chocolate (Discontinued)

Earlier this year, MAC really whittled down their permanent blush collection. Before that happened, I was able to get Swiss Chocolate, which I realized I could possibly use it as either a bronzer or contour. In person, I saw it was too warm for contouring, but it’s dark enough that it still sculpts a little. So, I use that shade sometimes as a brontour, but not a blush. It was part of the Powder formula and is unfortunately discontinued.

I also bought Dollymix, in the Sheertone Shimmer blush formula, which is still available at MAC. It’s like a less pigmented and shimmer version of the shade Fleur Power. It’s pretty, but I’m not likely to reach for it over my go-to MAC favorites.

That concludes the review! For anyone wondering what my total MAC blush collection is looking like now, I’ve sold or given away 7 but I still have 29! I have to admit, it’s pretty insane, but that’s how much I love their blushes!

I know there are a few more collections that will release this year from MAC (like the upcoming MAC x Lisa in early December), but I don’t think I’ll purchase anything else from them until 2022.

Thank you for reading! This is actually my 100th post! Even though I’ve had this blog since 2015, the bulk of my posts have been from 2020 and onward. That’s why it took so long to reach this milestone, but we’re here!
Have a great week and I hope you’ll come back again next Monday!

-Lili

MAC Cosmetics Blushes, Highlighters, and Powders

My MAC products are scattered throughout my collection, so I didn’t realize how many different items I had until I started looking. I initially wanted to review everything from MAC that I own (much more than what is pictured above) but the post was getting absurdly lengthy. So, I will likely do a second MAC post in the future.

BLUSHES

MAC has five different finishes of powder blushes: matte, sheertone, sheertone shimmer, satin, and frost. They are sold in compacts for $25 or the Pro refill pans for $17. Some Pro refill shades are only available in the refill form (like Ambering Rose) and some blushes are only available as compacts (like Format). They also have Extra dimension, Mineralize, and Glowplay (bouncy) blush formulas. I only own two Extra Dimension blushes and then the rest are Powder blushes.

MAC is an artist brand that works with professional makeup artists. Pros who meet the necessary requirements get a discount on products. Because of this, I thought the items in MAC’s Pro line such as makeup refills, empty palettes with custom inserts, etc. were exclusive to MUAs, but anyone can buy them. I’ll discuss inserts, palettes, and refills more in-depth after the blush section is completed.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: All the individual product shots of the blushes and swatches were taken outside in natural lighting. I could hold the blush pans and my arm at whichever angle I needed to get the sun to hit it directly, without casting any shadows. However, I was unable to do that with my own face. The weather is also an issue as it’s either too cloudy and raining (we’re in hurricane season) or it’s too sunny and I start to sweat profusely in just minutes of being outside. Florida summers are brutal!
Because I took my face pictures indoors, sometimes my skin tone looks lighter or darker due to the lighting. However, I kept the photos that show the blush as closely to how it actually appears in person. This wasn’t as much of an issue with the matte shades but the shimmery ones, which reflect differently in the light, were trickier. This is why I made this post so picture heavy to be as helpful as possible; it’s not easy to figure out which blushes will work best based on the photos on MAC’s website.

BLUSH BRUSHES USED: I only used squirrel and goat blush brushes for my cheek swatches. Each brush was wiped clean between uses and only used for a maximum of two blushes to ensure there was no shade mixing.

FOUNDATION AND PRIMER USED: I’m wearing Nars Sheer Glow foundation in Macao as well as MILK’s Hydro Grip primer in every photo for consistency. The finish of this glowy foundation, plus the hydrating primer, accounts for the dewy shine in the photos with even the matte blushes. I considered using a matte foundation but the Nars one is my best current shade match. I expect the matte blushes to stay matte on a matte foundation, but I thought it would be interesting to see how much a dewy foundation might affect mattes.

I’m not wearing any contour, bronzer, or setting powders either in order to show the blushes on their own.

Melba is described as a matte soft coral-peach. This blush highlights the reason I wanted to do this post. Based on the shade in the pan, I would never expect a shade this light to be in any way flattering on my skin tone. There’s enough peachiness to keep it from appearing ashy on my skin tone the way other blush shades that are too light would look. Although this is extremely subtle on camera, it’s more noticeable in person as a natural-looking slightly pink flush. Melba isn’t as pigmented as some of the other matte blushes, so it takes quite a lot of building up in order to be seen on my skin tone, but I find the effort is worth it.

About two months ago, MAC had a deal to choose 7 products (out of a gigantic selection) for $63. This was why I decided to give this shade a try. I don’t know why I like this shade so much, as I prefer blushes that make a little more of an impact, but I’m glad I have it.

Prism is a muted pinkish-brown matte. It looks a little more mauve on bare skin, but over my warm foundation, the pink in the shade is more visible. I’ve had this sitting in my collection for a while, expecting to give it away because I didn’t think it would work on me. After seeing some swatches on others and noticing how many times a blush I thought was too light ended up working for me, I decided to give it a try. It’s a nice subtle buildable blush.

Coppertone is a matte peach brown and another shade I’d assume wouldn’t work for me due to the color in the pan. Just like the previous blush, this leaves a very subtle flush as the brown blends into my foundation but the peachiness pokes through just enough to look natural and beautiful. The pigmentation level makes it easier to build up than the other more natural blushes. Melba and Prism are intended for light to medium skintones, whereas Coppertone is probably best for medium and up. I spoke with a MAC representative via live chat who said “Our blushes have a small amount of grey in them to ensure they work for a variety of skin undertones and saturation.” I was always under the impression that white or grey additions to blushes is what makes them ashy, but I’m just the messenger! I don’t know how MAC does it, but their range is phenomenal.

Desert Rose is described as a matte soft reddish-burgundy. This blush is even more pigmented than the others, so I wanted to show how sheer it could be applied. It looks quite cool-toned in the pan, but it warms up when applied over my foundation. I like this shade more than I expected.

Burnt Pepper is a matte warm rich terracotta. I enjoy this shade with a light application (a little lighter than pictured here). It’s a flattering tone but when built up too much I look like I have a sunburn. I believe I used the Chikuhodo Z-1 brush for this picture, but less dense brushes like the Z-8 and FO-3 are perfect for this blush. They deposit the exact amount of color I want. I do think a sunburnt look can actually be cute, as long as the rest of my makeup is on the minimal or neutral side so I can avoid looking clownish.

When searching for blushes best suited for dark skintones, Raizin was the most suggested shade I saw. It is a golden reddish-brown matte and very pigmented. I dipped my brush into the pan once and this is the amount of color that was deposited onto my cheek. With just one application!

This blush is better suited for someone of a darker complexion than me, but I think it still looks nice as long as I apply it with the lightest hand and a brush that’s not very dense. I used Chikuhodo’s KZ-04 which doesn’t get much airier than that, yet it still deposited quite a bit of product! I will continue to use this blush in the future by applying a sheer layer and then adding a lighter and/or brighter shade just on the apples of my cheeks.

Gingerly is described as a sheertone capri bronze. I have no idea what that means, but in any case, it is another very natural looking blush on me. Although there is a slight difference between this shade and Coppertone, I wouldn’t be able to identify which was which when applied to my cheeks. They’re both matte brown shades that blend into my skin, so if I had to choose between the two, I would pick Coppertone purely because of the pigmentation level. Since Gingerly is the sheerer shade, it takes longer to build to the same pigmentation level as Coppertone. It’s pretty, but because I have so many brown blushes that suit me better, this one wasn’t worth me buying. Those with NC/NW 45 and lighter complexions likely enjoy this blush more than me.

Pinch Me is a sheertone rosy-coral. It’s the most “me” kind of shade as I’m always looking for blushes in this tone. I didn’t buy this shade sooner because I assumed it would be a touch too light. Again, I was tricked by the pan color. It’s also quite pigmented for a sheertone formula.

Sunbasque is a “gilded peach with pearl” sheertone shimmer. To me, it’s the shimmer version of Coppertone. While writing this review, I was frequently mixing up their names because the tones are so similar. You can mostly see the sheen as the base color is faint on my skin. Now that I have Peachtwist and Format, I don’t see myself reaching for this anymore.

I have Kelsey Brianna Jai to thank for giving Peachtwist a try, because the way it looked on MAC’s website, I didn’t think it would be dark enough for me. It’s another sheertone shimmer blush and described as a light peach with gold pearl. As I mentioned before, I prefer this shade over Sunbasque because it’s slightly darker and I think the gold pearl in Peachtwist compliments my yellow undertone a bit more. This is easily one of my top favorite MAC blushes.

Ambering Rose is a muted rose sheertone shimmer. It’s currently only available as a pro refill and not in compact form. It’s darker than Peachtwist, though it still has that gold pearl. Between the two, I still prefer Peachtwist because I tend to like lighter and brighter blushes over darker ones, but if I use a light application with Ambering Rose, I can see myself continuing to use this.

Style is a coral-peach with gold pearl and a frost finish. I consider this shade the shimmer version of Melba. Although it also works as a beautiful highlighter or blush topper, I’ve never worn this alone as just blush in public. It’s definitely not made for my skin tone, but I’m drawn to it anyway.

Format is described as a pinkish brown, but I can see golden pearl on my cheeks from this frost finish blush. This blush is only available in the compact form. It reminds me a lot of the Coconut shade in the ELF Bite-Size Face Duos recently released (which I intend to review next month). I would consider this to be a much darker shimmery version of Coppertone.

Modern Mandarin is a satin blush only available as a pro refill. It looks light orange in the pan and is described as a red-orange shade, but it looks so pink! I’m not opposed to the shade, but out of the nineteen blushes in this post, I find it to be among the least flattering on me. This is also the only MAC blush that gives me trouble picking up powder on my brush. The scrape marks are visible on the pan where I’ve tried to clear off some of the top in case there was hardpan, but it didn’t help. It continually gets hardpan as it feels like the formula of this particular satin shade is wetter/creamier than the others. I don’t have an issue swatching this blush with my finger, but for some reason, it’s harder with a brush (even when switching to a dense synthetic one).

I want to love it and keep using it myself, but I can’t recommend it due to the formula issue.

Fleur Power is a soft bright pinkish-coral satin finish. It’s a pretty shade and very pigmented! It looks and performs more like a matte than a satin. It also deepens up a lot when applied over foundation. I made sure to give adequate time for the foundation to set before I put Fleur Power on top (in case it was too wet and therefore causing it to darken so much), but it did not change the result. It deepens the more it’s rubbed into the skin.

It’s the kind of shade that will work on a wide spectrum of skin tones, and works for me, but it’s not particularly exciting. This kind of color is commonplace, though perhaps not usually in a dark-skin friendly formula. Between this and Pinch Me, which has similar tones, I prefer Pinch Me; though it doesn’t change the fact that I still think Fleur Power is pretty and I’m happy to have it in my collection.

Loudspeaker is described as a bright orange coral satin blush, but it’s definitely a reddish orange color. This blush was formerly named ‘Devil,’ which was among the most recommended shades for darker skin tones. I’ve been looking for the perfect orange that everyone says looks so beautiful on deeper skin, but I’m starting to think whether it’s a lighter or darker orange, orange shades just aren’t a good match for me. So far, I haven’t liked the results of oranges from MAC, Fenty, Natasha Denona, etc. The only one I’ve liked is Benefit’s Majorette Blush (of course discontinued now) which was on the coral-orange side.

I only used one or two swipes to get this level of pigmentation on my cheeks. I can see the shimmer particles in the pan, though it just looks matte on my skin. I would say this blush is intended for NC/NW 50 and above, but really it’s for anyone who wants to make a statement. I consider this and News Flash to be useful on the more editorial/artistic side and less every day wear (except on deep skin tones).

News Flash! comes up as a matte in the search bar, but is referred to as a “red-orange with pearl.” I can’t see any shimmer in the pan or swatches, so the matte description is more accurate. I double-checked to ensure I read the website correctly, as I think the Loudspeaker and News Flash descriptions are reversed. News Flash seems more orange-coral to me with Loudspeaker being red-orange with visible shimmer specks in the pan.

I don’t believe this blush was ever sold in the regular size blush pans. It’s the size of a MAC eyeshadow at 26mm, but it sure does pack a punch! What you see on my cheek is what a single dip in the blush with my Koyudo Somell Garden Blueberry Brush can produce! This shade is so bright that it’s almost neon. I predict I’ll only use this blush on rare occasions, as it’s still a bit much for my tastes.

Cheeky Bits is a mid-tone pinky coral in the Extra Dimension finish. I was surprised to see it’s less shimmery than the other sheertone shimmer and frost finish blushes, but perhaps I’m meant to use it on a wet brush for more impact (which I don’t want anyway). Regardless, it’s a beautiful shade and reminds me of a more user-friendly Modern Mandarin.

Hushed Tone is described as a neutralized pink peach. It’s like a peachy bronze with just a hint of pink that I absolutely love! It doesn’t make as much of an impact in terms of color, so this is great for a more natural day. What makes it special to me is the gorgeous sheen that it has in person.

Hushed Tone is extremely close to Peachtwist. I find it difficult to properly describe how the shades look similar but the effect is so different. Hushed Tone has more base pigment color whereas Peachtwist has a stronger sheen. The way the glitter reflects is a little different. Hushed Tone’s powder looks like a more refined shimmer and Peachtwist gives a stronger highlighted effect, though I would still call it shimmery, not glittery. For someone with a lighter complexion than mine, the color differences between the two will stand out more. As the shades look similar enough on me, if I had to choose one, it would come down to a preference of sheen. It isn’t subtle for either blush but Hushed Tone is a little more natural-looking because of those finer particles. However, I could not part with either one.

Matte blushes were always my preference, but I’m tempted to try more of the Extra Dimension blushes because I really love how refined the shimmer in this formula is. What stops me (besides having nineteen MAC blushes already) is that this doesn’t appear to be in a pan. If it’s like the Extra Dimension highlighters, then it’s attached to a plastic mesh, and after having so many mesh products fall out, break, or arrive broken on me, I’m trying to avoid buying those kinds of products as much as possible.

BLUSH SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISONS

For an additional resource that helped me decide which blushes I wanted to buy, I recommend The Fancy Face’s MAC Blushes Video .

From what I can tell, Melba is pinker, Gingerly is a little more orange, Prism has more brown, and Coppertone is redder. But Gingerly, Coppertone, and Prism look virtually identical on my cheeks.

Hushed Tone, in terms of color, is a mixture of Sunbasque and Peachtwist though leaning more heavily on the Peachtwist side.

The Sheertone Shimmers are from lightest to darkest: Sunbasque, Peachtwist, and Ambering Rose. The differences are barely detectable while looking at the pans (particularly between Peachtwist and Ambering Rose), but on the cheeks, it goes from too light, then perfect, to too dark.

Fleur Power and Pinch Me are quick and easy to use because they are suited for me, but Desert Rose, Burnt Pepper, Raizin, News Flash, and Loudspeaker all require a light hand.

Even though some of the blushes I own are better suited for the lighter or darker ends of the spectrum, it’s amazing how many I am still able to pull off, and that’s a testament to MAC’s formulas. They really spent time over the years curating the best selection. There are some discontinued blush shades I wish they still offered, but with how many blushes look similar on my cheeks, I know I don’t actually need more.

INSERTS

The top 12-well in the picture is the larger insert for creams, gels, lipsticks, etc. Below that is the 24-well smaller insert. Lastly is a two-blush insert inside my MAC double-sided palette. Each side holds three blush inserts for a maximum of six blushes per side. I have one double-sided palette that currently holds MAC blushes. The other I turned into a regular magnetic palette to hold other brands’ products by placing magnetic sheets inside. Some people don’t know this, so I think it’s very important to state that MAC refill products only stick properly to MAC palettes because the refills all have magnets attached to the bottoms of them.

Magnetic palettes (like Z palettes) have a magnet sheet on the bottom that tin eyeshadow pans can stick to. MAC palettes have a metal sheet within the plastic that the magnets attached to the eyeshadow or blush can stick to. I can confirm that my single MAC eyeshadow refill stayed put in a regular magnetic palette if I had it squashed by other tin pan eyeshadows on all sides, but it would otherwise slide and fall on its own.

Also, the refills do stick to the MAC palettes on their own, but the inserts feel a lot more secure, as I believe the inserts have metal in them as well.

Highlighting Palettes

This is the Get it Glowin’ Hyper Real Glow Palette. This trio contains the highlighter shades Gold Coasting, Get It Glowin’, and Rosy Cheer. They are a bit on the golden side. MAC sells a pale pastel version (Get Lit), peach version (Shimmy Peach), and pink version (Flash + Awe). I currently own the latter and will include a photo, but I don’t have swatches as I intend to give this away or sell it.

Although the golds in the Get it Glowin’ palette look distinctly different in swatches, I can’t tell the difference on my cheeks. In fact, spoiler alert, I can’t tell the difference among any of the gold highlighters in terms of the color. It just comes down to how smoothly they apply, how intense they can get, and how sparkly or fine the glitter particles are. Within this palette, I did notice the actual Get it Glowin’ shade was more subtle than the others, despite it being the iciest one that should have stood out the most against my skin tone. Out of the three shades, Rosy Cheer seemed the smoothest and most flattering on me.

Extra Dimension Skinfinishes

I first owned Whisper of Gilt in the limited-edition snowflake imprint that was a holiday release a few years ago, and now in the regular packaging. I loved the shade but was so worried about ruining the shape that I hardly used it. Now that I have the “less exciting” imprint after including it in my 7 items deal, I will start using this one.

Unlike the highlighting trio, which didn’t appear that much more intensified when applied to wet skin, the formula of this shade allows it to be built up a lot more. But I’ve never been interested in rocking a blinding highlight, so I’ll continue to use it dry the way I normally do. I would describe the shade as a light gold, but MAC says it’s a, “light soft white with shimmery sheen.”

I don’t think it looks the best on me on camera, but I love how it looks in person and will keep wearing it whenever I won’t be taking pictures.

I used the tiniest amount of La Leyenda because I didn’t want to ruin the rose. I mostly collect MAC highlighters for the limited-edition packaging. There are so many other highlighters that I love, that I don’t feel like MAC’s formula is so amazing that it needs to be used, except perhaps Whisper of Gilt, which is the standout for me. I don’t have much to say about La Leyenda other than it is fine as a highlighter but stunning for packaging, presentation, and representing Selena.

MAC had a gorgeous holiday eyeshadow called Stylishly Merry (version 2, not the original purple one) that I missed out on getting. So, when they released the Snowflushed highlighter the following year, it was the closest dupe I could find. It has a beautiful coral pink to gold shift in the pan but it is unfortunately too glittery for my taste as a highlighter. I wore it as a lid shade in the same photo, and the color shift doesn’t translate on my cheeks or eyes, so that’s a little disappointing. However, it still makes me happy to own for collector purposes.

Mineralized Skinfinishes

Gold Deposit is a golden-bronze shade I wanted for so long, but when I finally bought it, I only used it a few times because I found it to be too much for me.

When testing it out again for this post, I’ve realized that I can get a more subtle application when I use my Kumano-fude brushes. It still makes quite the impact, but it’s toned down enough for me to feel more comfortable wearing it in public.

The best use for Sunny Side I have found is as a color-correcting setting powder under my eyes. As I’ve gotten down to the last bits of my Tarte Shape Tape concealer, it hasn’t been covering my dark circles as well. This powder is perfect for brightening up and covering up darker patches. I’m not sure how well I captured it in the photo, but it’s a very noticeable difference in person.

Also, although it is in the normal Mineralize Skinfinish packaging, this particular shade was limited edition.

Limited Edition Powders

The Archie’s Girls Collection Flatter Me Pearlmatte Face Powder and MAC x Chris Chang Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder are both items I purchased purely for packaging. In fact, I even bought a second Chris Chang compact (each compact is unique in pattern) so I could remove the actual product inside and put one of my DIY blushes or highlighters inside. That way, I could keep one in nearly pristine condition (the original translucent powder was too stark on me), and the other I’d be able to use without worrying about damaging it.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I will list my favorite blushes and highlighters from this post, but this list is purely subjective because it comes down to my own personal preferences. The quality of MAC’s permanent collection is of very good quality and I would confidently recommend them to anyone. It’s just about finding which ones suit your needs best. Although there are plenty of shades I enjoy in my collection, my list will include the blushes and highlighters that if they disappeared today I would repurchase immediately.

BLUSHES: Hushed Tone, Coppertone, Peachtwist, Burnt Pepper, Pinch Me, and Format. I would be tempted to, but probably not immediately repurchase Melba, Desert Rose, Fleur Power, and Cheeky Bits. The blush Style is so beautiful that I would probably repurchase it for blush topper/ highlighter purposes.

HIGHLIGHTERS: Whisper of Gilt and Gold Deposit.

That’s all for today! Thank you for reading!

-Lili