Every generation has its own distinct style. Hence, when the first page of your Google Images results yields only low-resolution pictures of the person you are looking up sporting an outdated hairdo and outfit that defined the ’90s, you immediately know something is amiss – this person had either retired from the industry and thus withdrawn entirely from the public eye or, in worst cases, had passed away.
Reaffirming my suspicion that Aaliyah – who suddenly came to my mind upon hearing “Try Again” on the radio some time in 2008 – was no longer around after seeing that there weren’t any recent pictures of her, I returned to the main search page and true enough, news about her death in August 2001 dominated the first two pages of the search results. I stared at my screen in disbelief. The songstress who was pretty much one of the icons of the ’90s had long gone? How did such major happening slip past my radar? (Come to think of it, I was probably too preoccupied with feeding my Neopets to be bothered with pop culture.. but yeah..)
Even though it has been 17 years since her demise, Aaliyah’s legacy lives on through beauty trends that are still relevant today. A capsule collection sparked by a petition (like the Selena collaboration) for M·A·C to reintroduce Aaliyah to the world was created in honour of the late R&B star who, at the mere age of 22, was tragically killed in a fatal plane crash with many others on board. Inspired by her beauty looks and M·A·C products straight out of her makeup bag (like Cherish and the now-discontinued Chelsea Lipsticks, Espresso and Biscuit eye shadows), the collection boasts tones of soulful neutral that will transport you back to the era of brown and frosted lips, as well as visible dark lip liners.
In this third posthumous range by M·A·C, expect classic ’90s beauty trends to make a comeback in a form of Lipsticks (Try Again / More Than A Woman / Street Thing / Hot Like…), Lipglass (Brooklyn Born / At Your Best You Are / Li Li’s Motor City / 1 In A Million), Lip Pencils (Nevermore / Follow Your Heart), Bronzing Powder (Baby Girl) and a 9-pan eye shadow palette (Age Ain’t Nothing).
A free limited edition bandana (as seen on me in the modelled pictures below) is included in every US$35 M·A·C × Aaliyah purchase, and Aaliyah faithful could also buy the entire collection (alongside other perks like the bandana and a poster, together with a special notecard to download the Aaliyah app for exclusive content) for US$250. Every product is encased in a sleek, reflective burgundy packaging (made in a way that would unfortunately turn it into a magnet for fingerprints) with Aaliyah’s signature printed on it in silver foil.
The travel-friendly compact (0.2 oz / 5.85g – the perfect size to carry around although some may argue that it is too small for the price) holds nine eye shadows in “moody deep neutral shade wave” and is designed with a magnetic closure to keep them secure. This palette is generally cool-tone, so the shades may be appear slightly ashy on warm skin tones. Although it also comes with mirror, it is unwisely tinted to the same colour as the packaging, thereby rendering it virtually useless because it doesn’t give an accurate depiction of how the eye shadows look on the lid (especially in a poorly-lit environment).
The following palettes were selected for comparison purposes due to their similarities to Age Ain’t Nothing: Kylie Cosmetics The Burgundy Palette · ColourPop You Had Me At Hello · ColourPop Element of Surprise · ColourPop I Think I Love You
Lovesmoke is described as a sterling silver in Veluxe Pearlfusion (VLXP) finish. This shimmer-packed warm silver with a beige undertone has a lightly creamy texture which applies smoothly on the lid. It has a semi-opaque colour but can be piled on to increase its intensity. This shade blends out easily and can be applied with a dampened brush to better bring out the shine although I find it soft enough to be used with a finger tip (usually at the inner corner or middle of the lid for an added pop of shimmer).
Magic Moor is described as a black with silver sparkle in VLXP finish. This finely milled black has slight red undertones and contains shimmer that is barely noticeable. Pigmented and smooth to the touch, it goes on semi-sheer but is buildable to full opacity. Although the edges can be easily diffused, the colour becomes one tone lighter once it is blended out. This is better applied with dry brush because the product doesn’t seem to come off the brush very well when wet. For comparison swatches, please scroll down to review on Dancing In The Dark.
Care 4 You is described as a mauve-plum with subtle shimmer and Lustre finish. Named after Aaliyah’s posthumous compilation album “I Care 4 U”, this purple micro-shimmer-infused warm mauve draws eyeballs due to its vibrancy. Sadly, it applies streaky with an uneven consistency and fades ever so quickly when used over a larger surface area. On top of that, there is also fallout. That said, all hope is not lost as I figured that it can be applied either with finger or with a really dampened brush to overcome these issues.
Creative Copper is described as a metallic gold with Lustre finish. Pigmented on the first swipe, this pale gold has plenty of sparkle, as well as a smooth texture that adheres well to the lid. The product, however, tends to stack up a bit when first applied, thus potentially causing chunky fallout, so you might have to work a tad faster to spread it out before most of it lands on your face (for those who do the eyes after putting on foundation). The edges diffuse rather easily and the intensity of this colour shows more when it is applied with a dampened brush.
That Somebody is described as a gold brown with gold shimmer and Satin finish. Perhaps due to its really inconspicuous shimmer, this mustard brown (which is probably named after her single “Are You That Somebody?”) goes on almost matte on the lid. But much as I adore this shade, it can be quite frustrating to work with as the kickback in the pan is atrocious and the product comes off in chunks, so it is advisable not to dig too hard into the pan. Moreover, the colour loses a heap of intensity the moment it is blended out. On the plus side, it does fade evenly enough to prevent it from looking muddy on the lid.
Princess of Soul is described as a muted golden brown in Matte finish. This finely-milled neutral cocoa brown has a flat and powdery smooth texture which adheres well to the lid, making it ideal for shaping and defining the lid. Although applies semi-sheer, it is buildable to full opacity. It is also streaky, but to a teeny-weeny extent. The edges, however, might be a challenge to blend out. For a darker payoff, this color can be applied with a dampened brush.
Deception is described as a cool medium brown with Frost finish. This cool-tone greyish beige appears metallic and reflects more light than Gingersnap (below). Despite its gritty texture in the pan, it applies somewhat smoothly on the lid. It is best applied with a light hand (or with finger) because it generally yields an uneven and messy consistency, and like That Somebody, comes off in chunks. Therefore, patience is key when trying to blend out this shade. Also, seeing how the swatch separates on my skin texture gives me the impression that it may crease over time.
Gingersnap is described as a muted pinky coral with Frost finish. This warm dirty pink. has a metallic appearance and consistency creamier than the rest of the shades. Opaque and beautifully pigmented in just one pass, this shade deposits a lot of product and yet adheres very well to the lid. On top of that, the colour stretches far better and blends with a seamless result while still maintaining its intensity. Needless to say, Gingersnap is easily the best shade in the palette in terms of application.
Dance In The Dark is described as a deep cool brown with Matte finish. The colour is pretty intriguing – it is greyish brown in the pan, but almost like a black when applied to the lid. The texture is dry and dusty, and has tons of fallout. That said, the biggest faux pas has to be it becoming patchy and fading to nothingness when blended out. Semi-sheer upon application, it loses intensity the very moment it is blended out (which isn’t easy) but if harsh edges are your thing, it is possible to be built to full opacity. This isn’t suitable to be used on its own because it can potentially turn muddy on the lid.
APPLICATION & SUGGESTED LOOK
VIDEO IS ALL THE WAY AT THE END OF THIS POST
As someone with hooded lids, wearing falses can be a difficult process but these Esqido falsies (Radiance) changed my perception completely. Not only is it extremely lightweight and easy to put on (trust me on this), it sits comfortably and looks flattering on my eyes without being too dramatic. The falsies are voluminous enough to conceal your natural lashes (so it doesn’t appear to be a separate set of lashes from your natural ones), and no eyelash curler is needed to achieve such beautiful curl!
The heavy-duty glue, which has an built-in applicator for a neater application, also deserves some credit because it holds the falsies in place for a long time without causing any discomfort to my eyes. Both products are exceptional and I would recommend them to any beginner in a heartbeat!
Esqido is based in the U.S. but ships internationally. For more information about Esqido, click here.
Try Again is described as a soft muted beige with Matte finish. An essential to nail the nineties beauty look and also my top pick from this collection, this warm beige-brown applies mostly opaque without dragging or skipping, and has a bit of a sheen. The texture, however, feels slightly heavy and thick and has a slightly tacky film on top. Like most Mattes, it emphasises lip wrinkles a bit due to its drier consistency. So far, I’ve worn this out on two occasions and both times (the second was to a buffet) it stays on for about 6 hours before fading away evenly.
Street Thing is described as a pure black with shimmer and Frost finish. Gliding across the lips to deliver an unidentified grungy colour filled with predominantly blue and purple flecks of shimmer, the texture feels very much like that of a Cremesheen lipstick because of the emollient (but tacky) feeling it leaves. Due to its sheer coverage, the natural lip colour is allowed to show through. But at the same time, it also alters the colour of the lipstick, eventually making it look slightly brownish.
On the downside, apart from the fact that this has a streaky and uneven consistency, it also settles into lip lines and gathers around rough patches. This shade is barely buildable too as applying more coats would just add on to its streakiness. Perhaps this is where the nineties makeup trend of filling the lips with lip pencil, and topping it with a lipstick with terribly uneven consistency like Street Thing comes to play. Fortunately for me, this isn’t drying over time.
More Than A Woman is described as a cool deep red with Amplified finish. Lightweight and emollient, this shade is a breeze to apply as it slips across the lips like butter to give an opaque payoff of reddish plum. This shade is one of those rarer reds which you think you already own but in actual fact, you don’t 🤣 The consistency is lightly tacky and it has a glossy finish that reflects light although from certain angles it can appear slightly patchy. Some product pulled into my lip lines after a couple of hours when I wore it but it mostly felt quite hydrating on me.
Just so you know, this collection has received backlash from the beauty community because of what they deem as “boring choice of colours” that do no justice to the Princess of R&B 🙄 Well, I personally find the colours to be a breath of fresh air from the many warm-tone ones out there, and I can definitely see the relevance they have to Aaliyah. Also, news flash, people! This collaboration isn’t about us, but the singer herself. Besides, who are we to judge? Curating this collection were those closest to Aaliyah and I’m sure they know her style better than any Tom, Dick, and Harry.
Knowing that M·A·C actually listens to their customers makes me good about supporting the brand. Now, I secretly hope that some Audrey Hepburn and Lisa Lopes (also known as Left Eye from the R&B girl group TLC) super-fan starts a petition for their own M·A·C line too 🤣
What do you think about this collaboration? And what posthumous M·A·C collection are you currently waiting on? Let me know your views in the comments below, or take a quick poll!
Thanks for reading!