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 Tempting Fate Collection

The Tempting Fate Collection’s gilded baroque packaging, unique textures, and overall fall aesthetic earn it the title of the most beautiful release from MAC in 2021, according to me. I limited my purchases to the three items I would use the most or don’t have as many of in my collection. I ordered the lipstick first from MAC and it arrived within days. The palette, which I ordered the next day when it became available, got lost in transit for a few weeks and had to be reshipped to me. The particular shade of strobe glaze was only available in the UK at the time, so I ordered it from Selfridges. Now that I have all the items together, I can finally review the collection!

MAC Tempting Fate Lipstick in Tarnished Reputation

There are six shades total ranging from a pale nude to deep berry in matte or amplified lipstick finishes. Tarnished Reputation is in the matte formula and though it looks pink-orange in some lighting, this pulls vibrant coral orange on my lips. It’s a bit too bright for my taste on its own, but I like the way it looks with a dark lip liner.

I only have a few MAC lip products, so my experience with them is limited, but I believe this is their traditional formula and quality. It also has the familiar vanilla scent. If you’re a fan of MAC lipsticks, I think you will like the ones in this collection too.

MAC Tempting Fate Strobe Face Glaze in Punk in Spice

There are three shades total. As of October 1st, Punk In Spice has yet to be made available in the US from MAC. However, I could get it from Selfridges US and it’s also now at Look Fantastic US. When I spoke with a MAC representative, they said the shade was not UK exclusive, but they did not have a date as to when it would be available elsewhere. I watched this review from Sinem Salih who did an amazing job making me want this strobe glaze even though the product looked so sheer I wondered if it would even be worth the price. I could also clearly see how gel-like the effect was on her cheek, but I still wanted it! I hate that kind of texture but I somehow convinced myself Punk in Spice would change my mind and make me step outside my comfort zone to do some glossy editorial looks. I’m not convinced I did the right thing in buying this product, but I don’t fully dislike it.

For starters, I think it’s important to make clear that this MAC Strobe Glaze is very different from MAC’s Strobe Cream, which is a product I actually like as a glowy primer underneath foundation and liquid highlighter when patted back on top. The Strobe Cream gives a more traditional highlighted almost metallic shine. The Strobe Glaze is gel-like and a bit greasy when rubbed in. The purpose is to give a dewy wet look when used subtly or full on glossiness. It reminds me of a combination of Danessa Myrick’s Dew Wet Balm with Colourpop’s Cheek Dew Serum Blush formula. At first I was using what I considered a small amount and absolutely hated the look. However, I realized I needed to use the tiniest amount to get a palatable glossy cheek.

In the leftmost photo in the gallery above, I show what my small amount looked like on my cheek (which I despised) and the other photos showed how I was able to tone it down when using that much. Applying a light layer of any kind of powder over the Strobe Glaze kept some of the shimmer but made it look less glossy. It was still greasy to the touch, but a lot less sticky than before. The biggest downside though to using this amount of product is that it gave my skin more of a textured look and I noticed lines I hadn’t seen before.

Although I could use the product this way with powders on top or to intensify a powder highlighter, if I wanted to use the product on its own and actually be happy with it, I needed to use half as much as I was before!

I have a large face, so this is the amount that works for me per cheek, but if you have a smaller face you may want to use even less! I can get Punk In Spice to look even more to my liking when I dab the remnants of my foundation on the brush on top of it. It tones down the glossiness but leaves the shine. Eventually after about an hour or so it finally dries down. Sticky products on my face usually drive me nuts, but this product is so lightweight that it thankfully doesn’t bother me. Though it dries to the point of no longer being sticky, I can still feel greasiness if I rub the spot where it was applied, so this product is really not for someone who likes cheek products to dry down to nothing.
I should also note that the ideal order for me to use this is applying it to my bare skin in areas I want the wet look and applying foundation and all the rest of my makeup after. I would prefer to leave the concealer step last since this takes off some of my concealer anyway and I need to cover the spots back up because of my intensely dark under eye circles. Plus, setting the concealer with powder will help to set the Strobe Glaze further in the spots where the two products touch.

If I utilize these tips, I see myself continuing to use this from time to time after my review, which is shocking considering I normally hate glossy-balmy highlighting products. For those who want that glossy dewy cheek, the Danessa Myricks Dew Wet Balm produces a prettier look. Feel free to see photos in my past review to compare. I ended up selling my Dew Balm anyway. The only reason I would keep using Punk in Spice is because using it with other products like foundation, powder, and highlighter reduces the feeling on my skin I tend not to like, as well as being able to use it by itself if I only use the tiniest amount. The tiniest amount of Danessa’s Dew Balm was still too much for my personal taste on its own. MAC’s Strobe Glazes have only been limited edition thus far, but it’s a permanent product in Danessa’s line. Then again, Punk in Spice will likely go bad before I could even use up a quarter of what’s in the tube because of how little product is needed. I believe the Rose Gold Glow shade of Strobe Glaze would require a ton of product though if you are of light-medium and darker skin tone and want to use it as a blush.

For my personal taste, the Strobe Cream is better than the Strobe Glaze (even though it’s more expensive), but I knew going in that the Strobe Glaze wasn’t a product meant for me. As much as I like the Strobe Cream, I enjoy the free samples and don’t love it enough to actually buy the full size, which really says a lot about my take on liquid illuminating products. I always still prefer a powder highlighter.

MAC Tempting Fate Feast Your Eyes Eyeshadow Palette

MAC says this palette contains three textures never seen before from their collections: Metallized Prismetallic Eye Shadow (All That Jam), Luminous Leather Lustre Eye Shadow (Yesterday’s Gossip, Golden Rage, Midnight Stunner*, Brocade Renegade), and Glitzy Sparkler Eye Shadow (Feast Your Eyes, What a Pear, Velvet Vamp).
MAC classified Midnight Stunner as a Leather Lustre on their website and on the actual packaging, but the other three Leather Lustres are like a cream-powder hybrid with a satin matte finish. Midnight Stunner is most similar to the Glitzy Sparkler What a Pear in terms of pigmentation and texture. The shimmer in both of them aren’t as sparse, nor with as transparent of a base, as Feast Your Eyes and Velvet Vamp. However, if those three are considered Glitzy Sparklers then surely Midnight Stunner should be one as well. So, I believe that shade was mislabeled. It wouldn’t be the first mistake with this collection considering every single one of my eyeshadow pans are skewed to the left and have gaps between the shadows and the edges of the circular cutouts. While I waited for the palette to arrive, I had plenty of time to watch videos and I could see that this misalignment of the shadows was a common occurrence. The palette has not been restocked (even though everything else that sold out since the launch has been restocked multiple times), so if it does become available again, I hope they will have fixed the issue for everyone else. It says a lot about where MAC is at as a company by letting these be sold in this condition. MAC Limited Edition releases are some of the most coveted collector items within the makeup world, so to have them so sloppily put together with a possible misprint as well is an indication of the drop in quality MAC fans have been noticing in the last few years.

MAC’s eyeshadows are among the very few products I don’t like from the brand, but since these are all new formulas, I was hopeful this would be different. I’m happy to say I really like this palette but I had to figure out how to use the Leather Lustres because my goodness the longevity was atrocious!

If you’ve used this product and had no issues, please let me know in the comment section what kind of eye primer you use or whether you have dry or oily eyelids because I would love to know how others use this without using the tips I’ll be sharing here today.

I have to start by explaining I use MAC Paint Pot as my eyeshadow primer, and one would expect there to be zero issues when using MAC products together. However, after about three hours I noticed major creasing and fading of the Leather Lustres specifically from that point onward. After experimenting many times, I discovered these only work with MAC Paint Pot if I put the Leather shade on top of it and then set it with a powder. It doesn’t work if I set the Paint Pot with powder before applying the Leather shades. The powder has to be the last step.

With Paint Pot as the base and set with powder, there is still minor creasing after three hours. By seven hours the creasing is more noticeable and the shadow fades in some spots. At 8 hours it’s still pretty good overall, but it will only continue to get worse from this point on.

If I want the absolute best results where longevity and creasing are not issues, I have to apply the Leather shades to my bare skin, apply a powder on top to set it, and then use Nyx Glitter Primer on the eyelids in order to lock the shimmers in place and produce a more opaque look. With this method, the eyeshadows will still be going strong after eight hours. By eleven hours there is barely any change except to the Yesterday’s Gossip shade which I can’t get to last no matter what method I use. Applying the shimmers to the lid while damp can still work to pack on the shade enough to cover the skin underneath and keep the shimmer in place, but I do notice some cracking and wearing off that starts around eight hours of wear. So, I very much recommend sticking to the bare eye method from the crease and above but Nyx Glitter Primer under the shimmer shades.

Feast Your Eyes and Velvet Vamp are great on their own for a scattered glitter type of effect and they are so much more reflective and sparkly than my photos show. I couldn’t capture how multicolored they look in swatches with my camera’s focus setting, so that’s why the picture below of Velvet Vamp is blurry.

Because of how beautiful the Glitzy Sparkler shades are, I still feel as though the palette is special. All That Jam was also quite the surprise with how pigmented it was and how easily it applied to the lid with opaque results without any additional help. It’s also the star of the palette along with the Glitzy Sparkler formula.

Going back the the Leather Lustres, I have to add that beyond the longevity issue, they are a stiff formula and require a dense brush to have the pigmentation level I need for my skin tone. For the crease, I use them with the Sonia G Jumbo Blender. Sometimes I’m impatient and skip using brushes altogether and apply them to my lids with my fingers for the fastest results. I think overall, this entire palette is very much geared towards those who like to apply shadows with their fingers.

Brocade Renegade is the deepest shade in the palette, but it’s such a bright purple that it doesn’t add much depth, so it’s impossible for me to get anything but a soft look for my skin tone. MAC describes this palette as “rich” and “decadent” but that isn’t the case for me, especially since Golden Rage, the shade that looks dark chocolate in the pan is a very warm mid tone brown. It’s so warm that it’s nearly orange. I don’t mind, but it limits the kind of look I can achieve using this palette alone. It’s not a unique color story, but overall, I do really like this palette since I know how to use it. The only shade that is truly a dud for me is Yesterday’s Gossip and that’s because it doesn’t last on me, looks quite ashy on my lids, and I don’t get as much of the pink tone as I’d like. It’s only really good as a brow bone shade, but it ends up just looking like my skin tone anyway.

There’s one other aspect I would like to address which is that I noticed MAC changed the photo on the website to reflect a palette where the shades are arranged differently than mine. Even in the featured photo section of the page, you see two different MAC employees from different countries where one has the palette in the order of the shades on the website (from Thailand) and the other has them in the order of my palette (from Mexico).

I don’t know if this is purely a matter of some MAC employees getting their hands on a promotional palette that looks more aesthetically pleasing arranged in this new way or yet another clue pointing toward production issues. Is it merely a difference in look? Are these other palettes formulated differently? Was this how the shades were intended to be arranged all along, but palettes like mine were sloppily put together because of a manufacturing issue? Is the arrangement difference intentional based on regional preferences or miscommunication between multiple manufacturing sites? If MAC does restock this palette, will they all be arranged in this way on the website or do different countries get a different arrangement?
I wish I had the answers, but contacting MAC has been unhelpful in the past, so I don’t think I would get an helpful answer to this either.

This collection was not the slam dunk that I thought it would be, but I still like it. I’m rooting for MAC to become that “It” brand it used to be with a higher standard of quality again with some innovation and creativity. It’s hard to forget how badly they botched that Sims collaboration from their end. With talks of a Whitney Houston Estate collaboration planned for 2022 and the photos I’ve seen sneak peeked for Holiday 2021, I don’t know if I’ll be getting my wish.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

-Lili

My Concealer Collection and Declutter

This is the next installment of my Declutter Series! Concealers are the only category of products that never go ages without being tried, so everything I’m discussing here (besides the concealer sample card swatches) have been tried at least once before. It’s also easier to tell whether I like one or not because my needs are very specific. For me to like a concealer it has to be pigmented enough to cover my intensely dark undereye circles (like nearly black under eyes) and have minimal settling into my fine lines. I might hold onto multiple foundations if I’m in the mood for one that is dewy or matte, sheer or full coverage, etc. With concealers, they either meet the requirements I need or they don’t, so there isn’t any reason for me to hold onto as many as I currently have.

As I noted in my Foundation Declutter post, I use the Dermablend Flawless Cover Drops as concealer, and it is currently tied with the Pat Mcgrath Concealer as my favorite product to cover my dark undereye circles. I have hyperpigmentation and scarring on my face, but I’m not nearly as self conscious about those areas as I am with my under eyes. For that reason, my favorite concealers will always be full coverage ones. Since I discussed the Dermablend product in my foundation post, I will be excluding it in this one.

MAC Pro Palette Studio Finish Skin Corrector x 6

Although I hardly use color correcters, I got an incredible deal on this palette and thought that not only could I get the Ochre and Pure Orange shades I used to have in the liquid form, I could also use the Orange color as concealer on its own because it’s deep enough to pass for brown. I also figured Deep Brown would make interesting eyeshadow base, particularly with multichromes. I didn’t take into account the fact that cream complexion products are extremely finicky on my skin. There isn’t a single cream foundation stick I’ve tried that I’ve liked. I also have a high rate of failure with cream concealers for under my eyes. I lucked out with this product that I can get a decent 5-6 hours out of the shade Orange if I set it. However, I like this better when paired with another concealer and actually used on top of it instead of underneath it.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser and Dark Spot Corrector in Tan and Caramel

I was surprised to see that Tan is actually darker than Caramel, and is a decent shade match for me. It has been a long time since I bought these and despite severely disliking them, I kept them in the hopes that I could find a way to make them work. I did not succeed at that. The biggest issue, beyond settling into my lines, is that there just isn’t enough coverage. I find it ironic that this is specifically a “dark spot” corrector and supposed to help with aging eyes, yet mine looked pretty terrible using this. I was even more disappointed because this is one of the most hyped concealers in the Beauty community. I waited years for Maybelline to finally expand their shade range so that I could see for myself what made them magical. Instead, it was a complete waste of money. I think the powdery/velvety finish is interesting and I can see why others with less problematic undereyes could like this. I should have gotten rid of them when I knew I wouldn’t use them anymore, but now that they’re very old I definitely have to toss them out.

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Concealer in MD22 and MD24

PMG’s Concealer in shade MD24 is a great match for my under eyes. When I used it in other areas of my face, I noticed it turned into more of an olive color. I love the high pigmentation and natural looking finish so much that I bought MD22 in the hopes that this would work better for me in all areas. I like that it’s light enough to brighten my under eyes, and it does remain neutral in other parts of my face. Because it is a little lighter than my skin tone, I still prefer to use other concealers elsewhere on my face and keep this one exclusively under my eyes.

I’ve only recently begun to experiment with mixing the Pat Mcgrath Concealer (MD24) and Tarte’s Shape Tape (Tan Deep Sand). The results are that I get a better shade match that neither alone can provide. The combo dries down to a semi-matte finish that gives me the lasting power of Shape Tape without the dryness and without needing to powder it. This might become my new favorite mixture, but I need to continue to test it out. Plus, I have to admit that it’s a bit excessive. I’m not sure I can recommend others spend $57 (if full price) to follow my example.

If I’m using the Pat Mcgrath concealer by itself, it sets on its own quickly, but it will fade within four hours. With a powder, it lasts until the end of the day, but not all powders will work. I’ve only seen good results with powders that contain cornstarch as a main ingredient, such as the Pat Mcgrath Under Eye Setting Powder, Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder, and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. When I tried this with the Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder, Fenty PRO FILT’R Instant Retouch Setting Powder, and Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, the concealer faded quickly. I had this post ready to go when I decided at the last minute to buy the PMG Under Eye setting powder, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it, but I wanted to note that if I add extra moisture to my under eye (like an eye cream) I like the way it looks better than if I just apply concealer and powder with no skincare underneath. However, using extra moisture leads my concealer to break down in 6-7 hours whereas I’ve worn it “drier” for up to 9 hours and it was still going strong.
Essentially, when I use this concealer under the perfect conditions, it looks amazing, but getting it that way is a bit of a challenge. Skin discoloration is the prime source of insecurity I have when it comes to my face, so I’m willing to take my time with the concealer step in my routine. The end result is worth the trouble to me, for now, but it’s possible I might get tired of the inconsistent results and just stick to the Dermablend Drops and/or Shape Tape. But when it’s good, it’s so good!

If you’re interested in purchasing this one, it’s important to know that the bottle is made of glass. This is not something I’d feel comfortable taking with me traveling. I’m afraid I might even break it at home! Also, the $32 price tag is a lot, but I waited for the brand to have a sale and got it for 30% off.

Tarte Shape Tape in Tan Sand, Tan-Deep Sand, Deep, and Deep Sand

As mentioned earlier, this got partially unseated as my favorite concealer after many consecutive years. When it comes to using PMG’s Sublime Concealer with a powder versus Shape Tape alone or with a powder, I like the results of PMG more. In any case, Tarte expanded their range to include Tan-Deep Sand, Deep Sand, and a few others. Knowing Tan Sand is super light and Deep can sometimes be darker than my skintone when I get less sun, I was hoping Tan-Deep Sand would be a nice middle ground shade. Unfortunately, there is barely a difference between them despite their jump in number from 42S to 47S. The reason I have a light color at all is because I needed it to mix with Deep. I guess I should be glad my new mixing shade is slightly less stark? As for Deep 53N and Deep Sand 53S, I expected them to be the same shade with different undertones. While I’m happy Deep Sand has more yellow in it, it’s also a little darker than the shade Deep, which I absolutely didn’t want. This only has a PAO of 6 months, so when it’s time to get rid of my Deep shade, I’ll have no choice but to mix my remaining Tan-Deep Sand and Deep-Sand concealers together if I want to continue using them. I kept Tan Sand past its date because I wanted to try and use it up, but I’ve thrown it out now.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about this concealer is that it’s too drying or it looks scaly under the eyes. While it can do that if the under eyes aren’t prepped and hydrated properly, I realized that this concealer doesn’t need to be set with powder. Skipping setting it has definitely helped to make it look less dry.

Despite having new favorites, Tarte Shape Tape is like a comfy blanket. I don’t feel secure with my concealer collection without having it there as a backup. At least once a year, Ulta puts these on sale for half off, so that’s the time when I stock up. Tarte does that at least once a year as well on their own website. The travel size is also available for every shade, but the full size is 10 times the product for less than 3 times the price. The full size is way more cost effective.

Hynt Beauty Duet Perfecting Concealer in Dark and Deep

Ulta had a sweepstakes of sorts and I won these two concealers! The jar is made of frosted glass. Dark is an outstanding shade match and the product inside is super creamy, but that is why it doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t matter if I leave it alone or use powder, this concealer gathers alarmingly quickly in the lines under my eyes in a very unflattering way. Matte liquid concealers tend to set fast. The only cream concealers I’ve had success with are stiffer, less emollient ones, which is why the wonderful texture is what keeps me from using products like these. If you typically opt for cream concealers, you might like this one and it does have great coverage. Since I can’t use them, I’m not keeping them in my collection.

Nars Soft Matte Concealer in Amande

This concealer has a whopping 30 month period-after-opening! I admittedly have owned this for a bit longer than that. It’s one of the few cream concealers that stays put and doesn’t crease as badly. I prefer leaving it unset but if I do use powder, less is better. Amande is the best shade match I have in Nars concealers I’ve used in the past (though the formula of the famous Radiant Creamy Concealer was terrible on me). Even though I like this, throughout the years I kept reaching for Shape Tape instead, so this product was hardly used, which I think is why it’s still in such good condition. I’m not willing to get rid of it yet. I want to hold onto it for one more month so I can form a more solid opinion of this concealer. If I don’t, I have a feeling I’d repurchase it in order to find out, especially since I’m such a fan of the Soft Matte Foundation and I’m curious to see how the two work together.

Too Faced Peach Perfect Matte Instant Coverage Concealer in Nutmeg

I thought this product looked so beautiful under my eyes, but the scent they have in the Peach Perfect line is so overwhelming and headache-inducing that I couldn’t handle it. I tried to wear it twice, but hours later the smell remained. Each time I wore it, I ended up washing it off because I could not deal with the fragrance. It’s a shame because this is one of the few cream concealers that work for me and this had the potential to be in my top 3 favorite concealers. It’s being phased out of Sephora, so anyone who wants this can pick up some of the few remaining shades for 50% off. It’s creamy but somehow doesn’t move on my face. The finish is natural and it has the amount of pigmentation that I need. If Too Faced releases an unscented version in the future, I’d buy it. Unfortunately, I don’t foresee that happening.

Maybelline Super Stay Full Coverage Under-Eye Concealer in Tan

I bought this on a whim in-store. I knew the shade was too light but the only other shade available was too dark and I really wanted to try the formula (and also use a coupon with a spending minimum). I was pleased with the amount of coverage it provided. I heard it was supposed to be less drying than Tarte Shape Tape, but I did not find that to be the case. For this reason, I didn’t use it ever again. I’m fairly certain it’s old now, so I’m throwing it out.

Benefit Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer in No.9

I bought this because I wanted to test out the formula but didn’t want to commit to a full size and this was the darkest shade available as a mini. Even though it’s a liquid, this settled too much in my not-so-fine lines, so I did not test this further or try to get a better shade.

Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer in Dark Caramel

When I mentioned before how all my concealers get tried as soon as I get them, this one is the exception. Every so often, I would get a sample of this concealer as a gift with purchase, so I knew I liked it. When Ulta put it on sale for 50% off, I bought it…three years ago. I hadn’t even removed the safety seal until the day I started working on this post.

The shelf life of unused makeup isn’t that long, so I’m surprising no one by saying this was expired when I finally opened it. The smell of crayons was extremely strong. On the bright side, I can at least say that I liked this concealer based on the samples I tried earlier in my makeup journey. It’s full coverage, which I need. Clearly, though, I didn’t like it enough to actually start using it once I had the tube in my possession. I wish I could remember why, but I’m not going to put this on my face or buy another one. If I get hold of a sample again, I will update this post with my findings.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eyes Concealer in 35.5 Rich W

I bought this after seeing PopLuxe’s rave review. He often cites this as one of his favorite concealers. The shade match was atrocious (I fully blame websites for making this appear darker online than in person). Even the name implies that this is going to be a dark shade. 35.5 Rich W is darker than my Shape Tape mixing shades, yet if I wore those under my eyes (which I have), they don’t look anywhere near as lifelessly grey as the one from It Cosmetics. I’ll give this some credit for being medium-full coverage, but It Cosmetics is notoriously terrible at making shades darker than medium. I’m glad I only bought the mini size and didn’t pay full price.
Aside from their brushes and mascaras, I haven’t had much luck with their other products. I think I’m going to take a long break from this brand.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place High Cover Concealer SPF 35 in 5N Deep

This is an extremely old and discontinued concealer that I kept around for shade comparison purposes (I haven’t used it on my face in many years). It’s the best shade match I’ve ever had, or at least in the top two, and it was a favorite for a long time. I found better products since then, which is why I never repurchased it. Since it’s so dried out that I could barely swatch it, I can’t even use it to compare the color, so it has a new home in the garbage.

Samples and First Impressions

Estee Lauder Double Wear Radiant Concealer in 5N Deep and 6N Extra Deep

The texture of this sample reminded me of how my discontinued Double Wear concealer used to feel, which is a bit strange considering this is in a liquid tube and I can’t imagine it’s supposed to be this thick. That’s the trouble with samples and full sizes sometimes; it’s possible they could be different due to the container. I tried the 5N Deep sample anyway, and it creased too much for my liking.

Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer 450N

I actively watched this fade over and over in the area of my smile line. I applied more and set it, but it refused to stay over my smile line and still partially faded around my mouth. Ironically, the place that the majority of the time fades, under the eyes, is where it remained the best for a short time. Without powder, this lasted about two hours. This still only lasted about four hours on the powdered side before the fading was unflattering. Even if this lasted longer, I’m not crazy about the dewy finish, and I mean real dewiness not the natural finish or semi-matte kind. I don’t want my under eyes to shine because it brings attention to the sunken hollows of my under eyes, which isn’t so bad as long as the dark circle stays covered, but not great if the concealer starts to wear off as the day goes on.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Light Capturing Self-Setting Concealer in 41 and 52

Shade 52 creased within minutes. When set, this still barely lasts an hour. It settles in lines and fades and just does not work for me. I was very disappointed considering how well MUFE products usually work for me, and this is supposed to be self-setting. It’s honestly one of the worst concealers I’ve tried, so even though this is just a first impression review, I can’t recommend it.

Too Faced Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer in Chai

I used this sample for swatches, but I’ve purchased the full size concealer before and in this same shade. This is a much loved product that did not work for me. It didn’t give me the coverage or finish I wanted. It settled in my lines. I swiftly returned it.

Final Thoughts

After the decluttering process, this is what I’m left with:

I’ve going on a low-buy and no-buy for a lot of product categories, but the concealer category isn’t one of them. I don’t mind continuing the search for the ultimate concealer that works for me and could potentially be even better than Dermablend Drops, Shape Tape, or Pat Mcgrath. I’m not in a rush to get anything new and I still don’t want a large concealer collection, but it makes sense for me to expand the area that combats my biggest insecurity.

Thank you for reading.

-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