These days, with influential figures like Rihanna paving the way for inclusivity in the beauty world, and an extensive spectrum of hues being held up as the standard to meet for every international beauty brand deliberating over new product launches, dark-skinned people seem to have it easier when it comes to makeup selection. But instead of pushing out tens of similar products to please everyone (especially people of colour) which makes little sense logistically, M·A·C decides to partner with American-Indian Padma Lakshmi on a collection that is mainly dedicated to brown skin. And quite frankly, I’ve never encountered any makeup specifically developed for brown skin that does not look great on other skin tones.
Padma Lakshmi is an author, TV personality and a former fashion model. But as glamorous as her credentials may seem, her life has been far from smooth-sailing. Growing up in Los Angeles in her teens, she had to cope with racial taunts and persecutions which heightened her insecurities of being a minority. Living with endometriosis also meant that she would experience chronic pelvic pain (among many other issues) during her menstruation, causing her to be bedridden every month for a week and as a result, miss out on important occasions throughout the years.
Instead of wallowing in self pity, Padma concentrates on leveraging her shortcomings for the betterment of life. In the hope that no other sufferers would slip under the radar like she had been, she co-founded The Endometriosis Foundation of America, a non-profit organisation which focuses on bringing awareness of the disease to the general public and helping to find a cure for it. Her choosing not to cover up the seven-inch scar on her arm inflicted by a car accident is another testament of her bravery to break the mould in the entertainment industry which is often unforgiving towards any forms of imperfection. Now, turning her struggles as an brown-skinned girl into a makeup collaboration with M·A·C, she has created a 17-piece collection that caters to darker skin tones, yet complements fair complexions at the same time and effectively hitting two birds with one stone.
Released in March, the gold-emblazoned collection with Mehndi-inspired design includes 6 Lipsticks (Sunset Rose / Nude Fudge / Mittai Pink / Sumac / Apricot Gold / Blue Blood), Cremesheen Glass in Nefertiti, 2 Powder Blush Duos (Moon & Shine / Melon Pink), 2 eye shadow quads (70’s Sunset / Desert Dusk), 3 Powerpoint Eye Pencils (Iced Heather & Kerala Sun / Indian Ink & Mossy Green / Bordeauxline & Molé Brown) and 3 brushes (#168 / #275 / #213) – out of which 4 across different product categories will be reviewed in this post.
Eye Shadow X4: 70’s Sunset
Picking the right eye shadow colours can be a tricky business for most Asians since our non-existent eyelid creases and limited lid space do not allow for much leeway in creativity. The wrong choice of eye shadow can easily ruin our overall look, and too much makeup can also overwhelm our teeny-weeny eyes. But what other options do we have apart from boring ol’ neutrals? The answer – if I may jump the gun – lies in this specially curated palette of four unusual yet harmonious shades in a luxurious gilded case (with a push-to-open latch) which by far has the best colour combination that M·A·C has ever produced in the history of my makeup-obsessed life.
The following palettes were selected for comparison purposes due to their similarities to 70’s Sunset: Too Faced Clover Eyeshadow Palette · M·A·C × Rossy de Palma Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow · Urban Decay × Jean-Michel Basquiat Tenant Eyeshadow Palette
Sand & Clay is described as a midtone cool beige with a matte finish. Although rather low-contrast against my skin, this no-frills warm-toned apricot is pigmented with a delightfully smooth and even consistency, adhering well to the lids with no fallout when applied. Semi-opaque on the first pass, it is buildable to full opacity with the next layer and can simply be diffused around the edges. It can act as a base for heavy colours to build on and bring out the eyes. When used wet, the colour becomes darker with a tinge of glossiness. But once blended out, it loses its intensity and becomes as vibrant as its original dry state. Either way, this shade didn’t crease on my lids.
Cardamom is described as a cool light green with white frost and Veluxe Pearl finish. Infused with silver microshimmers, this shimmery pale cool-toned green has a smooth texture with very minimal fallout even though it has seemingly sparse particles. Sheer upon application, it is not quite visible on my lid unless hit by direct light. This shade works best as a topper or when applied at the inner corners of eyes to add a pop of sparkle or downplay tired-looking eyes. Adding it on the lower lash line can also help camouflage dark circles when light reflects off the eye shadow.
That said, only when it is wet that it can be used to its full potential. In its moist state, it transforms to a slightly metallic finish, and shimmers become visibly more densely packed which makes it more pronounce on the lid. Despite it being more rigid when wet, I was still able to blend it out with ease.
Mumtaz is described as a copper with gold sparkle and Veluxe Pearl finish but a swatch reveals it to be more of a cool berry than the rose-pink in the pan. A colour that defines the socket of the eye, it packs a lot of pigment while providing a smooth and even consistency. The intensity lightens a great deal when blended out even though it is still buildable to your desired level of impact. The texture certainly feels grittier when it is dry so some fallout and kickback are expected. To get around this issue, the eye shadow can be applied wet but the tradeoff would be that it would form harsh edges that are almost impossible to diffuse.
All’s Rosy is described as a midtone plum with gold pearl and a matte finish. This eggplant purple has microshimmers of a somewhat lighter colour and is cooler than Mumtaz in undertones. Although offers pigmented payoff, the texture can be a tad chalky. It is prone to leave fallout due to its loose consistency but on the plus side, it makes it easier to blend out the edges and add a little more depth to the eyes. That said, this shade is best applied wet as it intensifies the colour and it would also be more manageable when the shimmers become more densely packed. But doing so would take you awhile to soften out the harsh edges.
APPLICATION & SUGGESTED LOOK
Powerpoint Eye Pencil:
Indian Ink/Mossy Green
M·A·C is known to boast a plethora of eyeliners just like it does for lipsticks. Powerpoint Eye Pencil is one of its many ranges which promises waterproof, long-wearing in metallic, shimmery or matte finish. From experience, this range of liners does not give the most pigmented of colour but it does stay on the lid for as long as I want it to, and it does take a bit more effort to remove it. Although I’m not really a fan of the application, it was just too hard to pass up on the offer of having two shades for the price of one (to be exact, they’re 50 cents more than those in regular packaging but whatever). Furthermore, that green is GORGEOUS.
Indian Ink is described as a pure black which is a complete lie (seriously, who does all these inaccurate descriptions on the website?) because anybody with a normal vision would be able to see that it is a cool-toned navy blue. The first stroke of this matte liner gives a sheer coverage but it is buildable to semi-opaque coverage with three passes. The texture glided moderately smoothly across the lid without tugging the skin and deposited enough colour for it to be prominent enough atop the eye shadow. As expected, it didn’t budge or smudge on my lower lid throughout the nine hours I had it on despite the oily surface.
Mossy Green, on the other hand, is described as a deep green with a slightly metallic finish. This stunning cool-toned army green has tiny gold flecks which are aren’t conspicuous unless viewed up-close. It glides smoothly and has a lightly creamy texture. Smudge-resistant, it provides semi-opaque pigmentation in one stroke and is buildable to a full coverage. But much as I love this shade, it unfortunately doesn’t translate well on the lid especially on eye shadow because it kinda appears greyish? Nevertheless, this shade wore well on me for over nine hours.
NOTE: I just remembered that I do have blue and green eyeliners somewhere in my stash so check back soon for some comparison swatches of this eye pencil!
Lipstick: Apricot Gold
Apricot Gold is described as a midtone peach nude with Amplified finish. This terracotta orange glides on the lips to instantly brighten the face and give a glistening texture that feels both lightweight and comfortably moisturising. I can see it working beautifully on dark complexions as well, which could jolly well be true judging from its sold-out status online. But it accentuates lip lines and doesn’t really apply evenly especially on the wrinklier areas such as the inner corners of the lips. Still, it’s a lovely everyday colour which was able to withstand a light meal. It wore well on me for about five hours before fading to a stain.
Lipstick: Nude Fudge
The overall great quality and uniqueness (I’m lovin’ all the greens – such novelty!) of the products in this collection, as well as the element of surprise in them makes this collaboration one of the best that M·A·C has done so far. I like how certain shades appeared to be impractical for daily use but turned out to be subtle enough for those who shy away from bold colours and yet made a world of difference to the look. Definitely my best makeup purchase of 2018. I’m kinda bummed out that it isn’t given much airtime to garner enough hype before the next collection (*cough* Patrick Starrr *cough) was rolled out.
What do you think of this collection? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or take a quick poll!
Thanks for reading!