Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters ($23.00 for 0.12 fl. oz.) are a new and permanent product that will release in-stores on April 7th. There are three shades: Bright Forecast (mid-tone peachy coral), Light Boost (soft yellow cream), and Radiant Rose (light shell pink). They come in a twist-up, pen-type applicator. These highlighters are designed to provide a “sheer wash of color to highlight, brighten, and perfect.”

  • Bright Forecast is a soft peach with subtle orange tones. The peachy tones of this shade are good for brightening and lightening dark under eye circles without creating a green cast (that yellow-based correctors can cause). I found this one did the best to minimize my dark under eye circles while still looking natural.
  • Light Boost is a pale beiged yellow. Yellow is good for lightening darkness. This would work well as a subtle cheek or brow highlighter on those with yellow undertones.
  • Radiant Rose is a soft, pale pastel pink. Pink helps to brighten the skin tone. It can also be used to brighten the under eye area, like Benefit’s Eye Bright. This shade felt more opaque than the other two, and when I used it underneath my eye (without concealer on top), it was a little pale on me. I loved it more as an eyeshadow base and brow highlighter.

The Prep + Prime Highlighters come in a click-type brush pen that takes several initial twists to release the product, but after that, you should only need a couple clicks to dispense the product. Over time, I’ve become less of a fan of brush-type products, just because I hate the way the brush feels and looks as you use it and the product seems to just sit in there. I’d much rather use a separate brush that you can wash without fear of getting water back into the product. I did find that while it can be easily applied onto the skin with the applicator, blending and application went better using a fluffy brush like the 217 for small areas (or fingers).

I applied each shade over my cheeks and under eye area, because I really wanted the effect to stand out. I felt like when I just did the under eye, it was difficult to really see what was going on. I wouldn’t normally use these as I did for the swatch photos, but I figured what good are photos if you can’t spot the difference? These have a subtle effect, and if you layer concealer over them, the effect is even harder to pick up–not necessarily in a bad way (like, ooh, so subtle it’s not worth it), but it’s a subtle, natural effect that works well and looks lovely. More like, “Oh, you look pretty today, did you cut your hair?” kind of way.

These wore really well for me, and I even used Radian Rose as an eyeshadow base.  It looked really beautiful as a brow highlighter and lid brightener by itself, but it also held up as an eyeshadow base, too.  I didn’t notice any fading and certainly no creasing or settling into fine lines over eight hours of wear.

There are numerous brands with highlighter pens, including:

  • Dior (Sun Beam may be comparable to Bright Forecast; Roseglow to Radiant Rose)
  • Fresh (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Fusion Beauty (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Givenchy (Moon Light seems most comparable to Radiant Rose)
  • Guerlain (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Sephora (#01 seems like Radiant Rose, #02 seems like Light Boost; #06 seems like Bright Forecast)
  • YSL (Light Peach seems comparable to Bright Forecast, Luminous Ivory to Light Boost, and Luminous Radiance to Radiant Rose)

These can help correct and brighten but they won’t necessarily conceal on their own. Bright Forecast can help a good deal with under eye circles, but it’s not opaque, so for some, it may be enough on its own. They’re definitely comparable to cult-favorite YSL Touche Eclat. Sephora also seems to offer a very comparable color range in their variation on the highlighter pen, and at $12 a pop, it might be worth trying (overall Sephora ratings show it to be good, though I have not tried it myself, so I cannot weigh in).

MAC is roughly half the price of the higher-end highlighter pens, and they seem to provide double the product (I saw many listed at 0.05 oz., a couple closer to 0.10 oz.), so the product seems to be priced in line with quantity and MAC’s price range.

The Glossover


MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters Review, Photos, Swatches

These are easy to use, difficult to mess up or go overboard with, and work well to brighten, lighten, and add radiance for brows, eyes, or cheeks (depending on your skin tone!).











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MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Bright Forecast Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Bright Forecast Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Bright Forecast Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Light Boost Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Light Boost Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Light Boost Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Radiant Rose Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Radiant Rose Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Radiant Rose Prep + Prime Highlighter

Product & Review FAQ

What's on your lips?

Guerlain #165 Rouge Automatique.

Where can I purchase Prep + Prime Highlighter? How much is it?

MAC Cosmetics on April 7th in-stores, $23.

Is it limited edition?


Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

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35 thoughts on “MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters Review, Photos, Swatches

  1. Julia

    These highlighters are not doing much for me, because, like you, I am also not a fan of the built in brush applicator. However, I am loving the lipstick you are wearing! What is it? (Sorry in advance if you put it in the FAQ and I overlooked it!)

  2. Edelmc

    I have to admit I have been checking your website everyday hoping to see your review of these cause I wanted to see what you thought of them. I am very excited about these! Did you get a chance to look at the other eye product in the range? Also, I love the lipstick in the swatch photos- what is it?

  3. Amy

    These are interesting. I already have something similar to this but I might consider picking it up when I run out.

  4. I just purchased the light yellow one. Usually I prefer pink to brighten, but I thought I should try something new. I like the texture and Inc am looking forward to try. i am a NARS Gobi complexion and both light ones suit well.

  5. Lady Di.

    Fantastic review Christine! I love that you applied it so that we can see exactly what the shade looks like. I think I will be picking up Radiant rose and perhaps bright forecast. I am a huge fan of YSl touche eclat and I can tell these are going to be similar, I am so excited about it! Thank you!

  6. Verna

    I think i might buy radiant rose one, it looks fair enough for my snow white skin.

  7. Chloe

    umm worth a shot maybe

  8. amelia

    i dont really know what i’d use this for… but they are certainly tempting. i dont realy get what these pens do, they just seem like an extra step…. touche eclat never worked on me. that said, i dont know if i can resist MAC, and the price is so good!

  9. Rae

    Ooh, these look eerily similar to the Studio Lights pens that MAC used to do ages ago – I can’t help but wonder if they’re the “updated” version of those! They do look (and sound) a lot better ^^

  10. Ani_BEE

    I just really don’t understand this fad … Then again I’m not a fan of High Beam either from benefit.

  11. Oooh, I hate brush pens for make-up! They seem to have very little product and it’s hard to dispense. I have a Sephora brand highlighter and one from Laura Mercier in brush pens and it’s just so finicky.

  12. Rona

    I like the look of bright forecast as a blush, hopefully it won’t be completely overpriced in Europe like mac always is!

  13. Since they’re permanent, I might just wait to try these out. (Saving up for the Quite Cute collection!) I would probably try Bright Forcast or Light Boost.

  14. Maggie

    I think I’m going to buy Radiant Rose, I’ve never had anything like these products before, they seem like a good addition to my collection :)

  15. Altea

    I’m a bit confused. I have brownish (hyperpigmented) circles and they get worse when I’m tired or around my period.
    I never understood which color is best to conceal them. Most concealers just make them look grey(ish). I tried yellow-based and pink-based concealers and I can’t see much difference…
    Pale pink eyeshadows usually make me look more awake and conceal the hyperpigmentation on my upper lid, but if I use pale pink powders (like benefit powderflage) over concealer on my lower lids it seems to make it worse.

    Right now I’m using MAC prolongwear concealer in NC20 which is my foundation shade…I’d like to try these but I’m not sure which one to pick, and the MAs haven’t been much helpful in the past…

    Any advice?

  16. Angelcat47

    Both Boots No 7(Target) and Milani also make products similar to these,albeit in skintone shades;I currently use the Milani one for light concealing and brightening.

  17. gaby

    Christine you are awesome and you are doing a great job! I was wondering if you have tried the Chanel ÉCLAT LUMIÈRE because I use it and love it and think that maybe the Bright Forecast can be a good dupe 😉

  18. Kris

    Oh, I have questions! Christine, are you wearing tinted moisturiser in these pictures? If yes, did you apply the pens on top? I mean, ideally, what would you do: apply them below or above your overall face colour? Could you use them as a cheekbones highlighter instead of shimmering powder/liquid? I guess if they’re not so great a concealing, I’m a bit confused as to what they do…

  19. Pawsha

    Worth going in a checking out the colors on my skin.

  20. ssnug

    I bought Radiant Rose a few days ago and i love it!~ (I am a NC20)

    Christine, i totally agree with you that the effect is subtle in a good way… i did not expect the product to conceal all the flaws completely and perfectly when i decide to buy the product, But to hide those flaws and look natural at the same time! So this has met my expectation.

  21. Vivian

    I like the new, more extensive, rating system!

    Love it how you’re always improving Temptalia, even when I think you’ve got it all covered and it couldn’t possibly get any better.

    Well, except, maybe, if you were to keep away from the sun and change you skin color (LOL, I read this on twitter and laughed hard at people’s craziness 😀 ).

  22. Ana G.

    I’ve just tried Bright Forecast and I thought it was amazing!!Didn’t even need to put concealer on :-)

  23. Lauren

    Would these work well on the high points of the face? :)

  24. Tasha

    Christine your work is absolutely fantastic! Thank you for making honest reviews and allowing us to see products before they’re even released :) Are you working on a review for the primer that comes in this collection? I’d love to know your thoughts on it before I make the leap to purchase it. Many times I find products for under my eyes don’t live up to their claims! (unfortunately) Thanks again! (btw you’re very beautiful :))

  25. Emma

    Hello Christine,

    I was about to go out and purchase a YSL Touche Eclat when I decided to check out Temptalia – and I’m glad I did! I decided to purchase one of these highlighters and so far I’m liking it. However, I’ve always been unsure as to when to apply it; I don’t really like applying concealer before foundation but I feel that, even though these aren’t considered as concealers, that I need to apply them beforehand – would you say that was right or that I could use it either underneath or on top?

    I’d also like to say how brilliant Temptalia is. I’ve been a regular visitor but never commented before!

  26. I picked this up in Bright Forecast the other day. I like it a lot. It covers discoloration quite well on it’s own for me, & even better with a bit of concealer on top. I have to make sure I blend it well though, or else the peach tones can be overwhelming.

  27. Meghan McGraw

    I think I’m going to get one of these today. I hope the Radiant Rose color won’t be too light for me, so I might go with the yellow. I sure hope MAC gives samples though for me to try them out before! I’m excited to try them.