Thursday, September 27th, 2012

MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow
MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow

A Story of Four Misses

MAC Marilyn Monroe Eyeshadows ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) include these four shades How to Marry (soft white), Preferred Blonde (pale champagne beige), Showgirl (dark blue grey), and Silver Screen (true silver). All four are supposed to have a veluxe pearl finish, and they are double the size of a regular MAC eyeshadow.

How to Marry is a pale, cool-toned white with so-so color payoff and a frosted finish. MAC Crystal Avalanche is very, very similar–and it has better color payoff and is part of the permanent range! Maybelline Too Cool is similar but a cream product. theBalm Sassy is similar. Bobbi Brown White is matte. Bare Escentuals Cheers is also similar.

Preferred Blonde is a warm white with a hint of champagne and a frosted finish. It has semi-sheer color payoff. MAC White Frost is whiter. theBalm Envious Erin is warmer. MAC Dazzlelight is a smidgen more beige. MAC Vanilla is not as shimmery.

Showgirl is a medium-dark navy blue with a hint of purple and a silver shimmer. It has so-so pigmentation, but it is a little dry and stiff. MAC Bright Moon is more metallic. MAC Frozen Blue is lighter. theBalm Matt Horowitz is a bit darker. Tom Ford Cobalt Rush is more purple.

Silver Screen is a sheer silver-white with a frosted finish. If it was more opaque, you could get more of a metallic sheen out of it. Buxom Sheepdog is very close but cream. Tarina Tarantino Lovely has a very similar shade. MAC Filament is similar but it also has some quality issues. MAC Misty is similar but more metallic.

Three of the four really look very similar, and even on, it was hard to tell where one shade ended and the other began. The dusty, powdery quality of the texture of these made it difficult to apply and made them prone to fading and fall out post-application. I tried applying them over bare lids, over primer (NARS Smudgeproof), and used damp.  I really couldn’t get half-decent payoff without using a primer and using them wet and packing the color on. “Highly pigmented powder” they are not.  Here’s my thinking: if you dig the colors, consider creating a quad using these four permanent MAC eyeshadows: Crystal Avalanche, Dazzlelight, Contrast, and Electra.

On a different note, I think the composition of these four was disappointing. I would have loved to have seen a matte shade or two, which would have fit with the theme, and it would have made for more versatile and dynamic looks. I didn’t feel like these shades went well with the lipsticks (the bluish-gray was definitely throwing everything off), and it was frost overload.

Keep in mind, online retailers like Nordstrom, Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Bloomingdale’s will also launch the collection online. These retailers typically launch close in time to the in-store release date (October 4th).

The Glossover


MAC Marilyn Monroe Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Here's my thinking: if you dig the colors, consider creating a quad using these four permanent MAC eyeshadows: Crystal Avalanche, Dazzlelight, Contrast, and Electra.











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MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow
MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow

MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow
MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow

MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow
MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow

MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow
MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow

MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow
MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow

MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow
MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow

MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow
MAC How to Marry Eyeshadow

MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow
MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow
MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow
MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow
MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow
MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow
MAC Preferred Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow
MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow

MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow
MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow

MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow
MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow

MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow
MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow

MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow
MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow

MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow
MAC Showgirl Eyeshadow

MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow
MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow

MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow
MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow

MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow
MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow

MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow
MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow

MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow
MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow

MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow
MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow

MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow
After 6 hours

MAC Silver Screen Eyeshadow
After 6 hours

Product & Review FAQ

Where can I purchase it? How much is it?

MAC Cosmetics; September 27th online at and October 4th for in-store. $21.00.

Is it limited edition?


Any dupes?

See individual shade review! :)

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63 thoughts on “MAC Marilyn Monroe Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches

  1. Jackie

    Oh man, I really hope I like them. I ordered 3 this morning :(

  2. That’s a shame! Even though I agree about the shimmer overload and the fact that Showgirl doesn’t really go, it still is probably my favorite one out of the other eyeshadows. So pretty!

  3. Lisa G

    These shades are all so dupeable…it seems the only reason to buy would be for the packaging. Showgirl reminds me of UD’s Strip.

    • It wishes it could be the awesomeness that is Strip, LOL!

      • Kafka

        I love how much you love Strip! It’s still on my list though I keep thinking Mary Jane is close enough (for me) that S&M may be a better choice in order to have some range/contrast.

        Topic: Showgirl is not really a shade that I would associate with Marilyn. But, given my obsession with all shades of grey, it was the only thing other than the lipsticks that I decided to buy. Thank God that plan fell through (when the lipsticks sold out) because your swatch does not look good. Plus, the colour is nothing like what I thought it would be, judging by the pan. Oh well.

  4. I was not at all interested in the shadows from the collection as they are just not my shades.. good thing

  5. I was so tempted to purchase these but I’m glad I passed! None of them looked special and I too was hoping for some matte shades. Looking forward to receiving the 2 blushes from the collection, however!

  6. Nicoco Chanel

    I’m having flashbacks to Dior Swimming Pool TBH.

  7. MiMi

    I’m saddened but not suprised at the shadows in this collection. I would collect them if I were a big Marilyn fan but even if I were, I don’t care for the images used on the packaging. Too bad.

  8. Kristin

    I’m glad I passed on these. Thanks for the review!

  9. Ruca

    I got a somewhat decent look out of these 4 shadows yesterday, but I am considering sending them back. I HATE the size, and they are so dry with sucky color pay-off. Showgirl is the best, IMO, with Silver Screen second to that, but neither is that amazing. Preferred Blonde literally disappeared on my eye as soon as I applied it, even after piling it on! I do need to get Avalanche, so maybe I’ll at least return the white one for that–and then it’ll fit in my palette, which is a bonus for me. The jury is still out on this collection, but one thing is certain: they do NOT feel anything like Veluxe Pearl formulas to me. Not one bit!

    • It’s like a poor man’s veluxe pearl formula. I don’t know – more like they slapped VP on it to make it sound appealing, but no, nothing about these says “veluxe pearl!” They’re really basic shades – why do we have to work so hard to make them work?

  10. katherine

    Ok, I get that they were going for classic Marilyn colors and adding some “glamour” by making them sparkly, but I would not buy these at all. your right Christine a few matte colors would have been apprciated. I have seen a few swatched and the fall out is laughable. To me it was pointless to make them so big, i would rather have half the product and better quality. I wish they would have taken it one step futher and done colors that would dupe the legendary color she originally used that aren’t made anymore. That I would buy.

    • I really wish they coordinated and worked better together (and also that they were just better, period!). A great contouring eyeshadow would have been very appreciated here.

  11. Blergh. One thing I’ve learned from reading this blog and from my own experience: anything MAC does, another company does it better. I’m over it!

  12. Aida

    Ouch…! I was hoping they wouldn’t suck :((.

  13. Mariella

    Yikes – D??? Poor Marilyn deserved better, I think, than a mediocre bunch of products.

    • Jami

      I agree!! This collection could have been amazing considering the packaging is pretty cool. Bummer the product inside is worthless.

  14. Liz

    It’s a darn shame. Thank you as always for your awesome shots and reviews. They just didn’t grab my attention at all, so much anticipation. I cannot justify buying something from the collection just for the heck of it…dissapointed.

  15. Sadly, it feels like just lost the recipe for their great eyeshadows and now they can only produce mediocre ones…

    On a side note, these shades are not what I imagine Marilyn wearing. One light, shimmery shade maybe, but not 4 of them. Where are the medium shades, the darker one, the matte or satin finishes?

  16. fabiola

    Thank you Christine for your always honest review. I went to my local nordstrom for a pre-sale, and I didn’t like one single product of this collection, it is a shame, Marilyn is such an icon, but this collection has nothing that unique.

  17. xamyx

    This is seriously amusing. Even my old-school WnW shadows were better than these. Maybe someone should start a petition on to have MAC stop with all the useless collections, and go back to fewer collections with more quality control, and maybe add a few more permanant items.

    • Lilinah

      Wet ‘n’ Wild eyeshadows hurt my eyes – i will never buy their eyeshadows again because of the pain. I also found them to smear and fade on me.

      The one shadow i got from this Marilyn collection does not hurt my eyes, goes on smoothly, and does not fade on me.


  18. Allie

    Formula issues aside, these colors aren’t anything we haven’t seen a million times. I was iffy on the smoky blue but for the price it simply isn’t worth it. Skipped!

  19. The only one that is drastically different is show girl… and even then it’s frost city. PASS!

  20. Sarah

    The rest of the collection is so far so good… but these aren’t even colours that spring to mind when I think of Marilyn.

  21. Ruthless

    How are those formulas veluxe pearl? Confused, the texture is way different than the VP shades I own. Meh.

  22. Sophia

    It’s unfortunate how crappy these look and mos probably are, I was really looking forward to these but I have to skip now, thanks for saving us some money and time Christine. Macs quality is really going down, first office hours and now Marilyn Monroe.

  23. Cecilia

    (scratches head) …and these were sold out in less than half a day??

  24. Michelle

    Not sure if this collection is women of colour friendly. I will hav to wait and see what the lipsticks look like.

    • kendo

      Seriously. I have medium-colored skin, and I couldn’t wear any of the powder products in this collection, even if I *could* find them somewhere.

  25. Meggy

    What color were you wearing in the after 6 hours pics?

  26. Carrie

    I’m glad I have enough stores around that I can wait for your reviews and not have to jump on the online ordering the second that the collection appears. I was interested in these. Now though…not so much.

    I think I’ll check out Crystal Avalanche instead, and luckily I already have Envious Erin which will help. Thanks again for saving me money and sanity!

  27. Nikki Dobos

    I find the colors Mac chose for this collection odd. Almost like they didn’t really research Marilyn well enough. She really only wore matte white, shimmer white and brown eyeshadow. She also wore brown eyeliner and only half lashes. She was not a woman who varied her look. I’m just a little boggled by their choices.

    • Carlie

      Marilyn wore a frosted white which they got right. She wore matte browns which they decided to leave off (which is upsetting). She did wear black liners and also blue. She also wore white liner. Blue eyeshadows as well. She varied, but her most famous look was the brown, white, with black liner and lashes and a blue/red lipstick for black and white film. I’ve seen her in lip shades similar to scarlet ibis (the orange one) and all the other reds.

    • Mou

      actually, this collection was made by the photographer that worked really close to her when she was alive. He was the one that collaborated with the MAC product developers and came up with a concept of what Marilyn would have worn if she was still alive; kind of a amped up version of the classic Marilyn. Also, this collection is more about celebrating classic beauty rather than Marilyn’s iconic look which can get very costumey really quick. That’s another reason why the colors are so sheer so that everyone can use them including different skin tone. If you’re having trouble putting on the colors, ask your MAC artist, they are trained to show you how to work with the formula since the formula is different than most shadows you see on the market.

  28. Savannah

    It still bothers me that they didn’t release a single matte shadow with this collection. What were they thinking with all these frosty shades?

  29. L

    Gosh! I wish i saw the full review before purchasing this one! I kind of figured I was taking my chances, the office hours collection I was really digging too, until I heard all the bad reviews! I think I might still like “preferred blonde”, maybe if I layer it. I do like light eye shadows. But I was surprised that there were no matte shadows. I love my shimmery shadows, but I really love the look of mattes.

  30. So, so disappointing! And you’re right – three of them look super similar. What a shame.

  31. Amanda

    I wanted Showgirl so bad until I saw this! Now I don’t want any of them. That really is a big let down because I was going to buy all of these. What a shame. That’s like 84 bucks x’s however many people won’t touch these. Wake up MAC!

  32. MissLovely210

    Snoozefest. Glad I skipped this entire collection!

  33. MichelleChefNYC

    Come on MAC! Why is it that every launch seems to be a massive fail when it comes to eyeshadow products???? I used to look forward to MAC launches, I haven’t bought anything new in a MAC store in 6 months…

  34. Pat

    At this point, what’s the point of buying MAC anymore when Inglot is just as good but cheaper and more product?

  35. melanie

    i don’t understand mac anymore.. it’s like they are putting on a public display of them slowly murdering their own brand by putting out all these crappy products

    • Ra

      Agree, this collection is just ridiculous.
      I can’t even feel that they loved these products. It’s like they produced them in a hurry.

  36. Linnea

    The lip products were so promising!! Good thing I really didn’t like the look of any of these colours..

  37. Kristen

    always helpful, thanks, Christine! I think I will get “preferred blonde” as a highlight to keep in my purse. really just because I love the packaging, yeah, I’m getting sucked into this collection’s marketing for sure.

  38. super grateful that you did this review so i saved a hundred bucks! thank you!

  39. Rae

    Marilyn Monroe? Ugh…I’m so tired of seeing her everywhere. She was nothing more than a sex symbol. She couldn’t act or sing. In 50 years they’re going to launch a “Snooki” line. Might as well.

    • Melina

      I completely agree. People today admire this promiscuous harlot. I for one admire Elizabeth Taylor; she was and still is the epitome of elegance and glamor.

      • Rachel

        Elizabeth was married 8 times to 7 different husbands in addition to numerous “Romances” outside of her marriages. Elizabeth Taylor is really no different than Monroe, she just fooled people into thinking promiscuity could somehow look classy, there’s no such thing as a graceful whore. When it comes to blondes, I for one found Grace Kelly & Rita Hayworth far more naturally beautiful and far more talented than Monroe. As far as dark haired beauties go I think Ava Gardner could give Elizabeth Taylor a run for her money. But I agree Marilyn is not worth all the fuss when it comes to her beauty and certainly not her acting.

        For the most part all of these actresses were promiscuous, I personally prefer to admire other women completely and for more serious reasons, as natural beauty is not something that anyone has any control over.

  40. Emily

    The review is dead-on right. Dusty, powdery and fallout city. I love MAC but this is not veluxe pearl, it’s more lustre finish or that awful NARS gold glitter eyeshadow that sephora put on sale for $6 called night sun.

  41. Lilinah

    Since you put this line on your Worst of 2012 list, i thought i would add my comment:

    I’m between 15 & 20 on the MAC scale, with neutral skin tone.

    I thought the packaging of the MAC Marilyn collection was really quite nice and much better than a number of other MAC collections in the past couple years, with sensitive pictures of Marilyn that have rarely been seen. The ONLY item i wanted and purchased from this collection was “Preferred Blonde” Eyeshadow. I am extremely happy with it, it is a favorite of mine and i keep it in my basic makeup kit.

    Skin tone clearly effects how colors show on everyone.
    “Preferred Blonde” and “How to Marry” and “SIlver Screen” all look VERY different from each other on me.
    “Silver Screen” is very cold silver.
    “How to Marry” is a warm creamy off-white.
    “Preferred Blonde” is golden champagne.

    For me, this shadow applies smoothly, gives good and even coverage, and i have no trouble with it wearing well for most of a day. It does not look dusty or talc-y on me, and i get no fall out from it.

    I am over 60 and have somewhat crepe-y eyelids. However, matte eyeshadows are just deadening on my eyes and i only use them in the crease. On the other hand, shimmery eyeshadows brighten and enliven my eyes. “Preferred Blonde” is a perfect every-day eyeshadow for me, and an excellent light color in a more dramatic look. I’m only sorry i did not get a back up of “Preferred Blonde”.