Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment
MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment

De-Pressed About These Pigments

MAC Pressed Pigments ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) were recently launched as an “intensely creamy highlighter offering extreme pearlescence and versatility of finish.” It can be “[applied] dry for a high shine, or on damp skin for a dramatic wet look” with “sheer-to-moderate buildable coverage and natural dimension finish.”

These had me at a loss of words. I spent the past week trying to figure out how these could be used for something that wasn’t purely editorial or only needed to last about five minutes. I was hopeful about MAC’s recent Face & Body launch, as I love highlighting/contouring–I was hoping for something a little more shimmery than the Shaping powders (PRO) that launched a few years ago. Well, these aren’t shimmery; they’re like a disco ball exploded and fractured all over your face, eyes, body, or wherever you happen to put them.

I tried using two shades as a highlighter on the cheek (one on each cheek), and it looked like dirt/sand/grit. It travels to parts unknown within an hour of wearing it on the cheek–I found glitter on my lip, on my ear, and on my shoulder, and I had only applied it to my cheek bones. It’s not a product that applies well with face brushes; it really needs to be applied with fingers or a sponge and really pressed/crushed. The texture really reminded me of MAC’s Crushed Metal pigments, because without grinding them down, they are so loose and chunky.

I tried using them on the body (collarbone/decolletage), and it looked the same – like flecks of brown dirt rather than a luminous sheen or even glittery dazzle. I tried using them on the brow bone, inner tear duct/lid, and on the eyelid in general. The glitter is really, really chunky, and the fall out is tremendous, not just during, but after application. I was getting a ton of glitter in my eye for the six hours I managed to wear these. After six hours, at least half of the glitter on the eye had transferred to my cheeks, nose, or got lost in my eye ball. I even used MAC’s Mixing Medium to see if it would help these adhere better but no luck. Frankly, these were painful to use on the eye – both of my eyes were red and irritated for the rest of the day/night.

I tried using these both wet and dry with numerous brushes (215, 228, 231, 242, 116, 130, 188, and 193) but nothing yielded a result that did anything flattering. On the lid, it’s sparkly and pretty–but the fall out is over-the-top ridiculous. It’s some of the worst fall out I’ve seen. It makes Urban Decay’s Midnight Cowboy Rides Again seem like a dream to work with. It’s funny, too, because they actually swatched beautifully. They looked stunning on my arm!

As you can see, this review is all about “I tried,” but I failed. I couldn’t highlight my brow bone, eyelid, cheekbones, or collarbones with this product.  I have used lots and lots of highlighters in the past ten years, but this is a product that left me grappling for any use that might possibly work.  The texture is rough, gritty, and dry (not actually creamy as described), and the fall out is something to behold; some of the worst I’ve seen in a glittery product that wasn’t loose to begin with. I’m honestly surprised these are eye safe (there wasn’t any warning to the contrary on the box), because they were so irritating from the fall out.

The Glossover


MAC Pressed Pigments Reviews, Photos, Swatches

The texture is rough, gritty, and dry (not actually creamy as described), and the fall out is something to behold; some of the worst I've seen in a glittery product that wasn't loose to begin with.











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MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment
MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment

MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment
MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment

MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment
MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment

MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment
MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment

MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment
MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment

MAC Day Gleam Pressed Pigment
MAC Day Gleam Pressed Pigment

MAC Day Gleam Pressed Pigment
MAC Day Gleam Pressed Pigment

MAC Day Gleam Pressed Pigment
MAC Day Gleam Pressed Pigment

MAC Day Gleam Pressed Pigment
MAC Day Gleam Pressed Pigment

MAC Day Gleam Pressed Pigment
MAC Day Gleam Pressed Pigment

MAC Deeply Dashing Pressed Pigment
MAC Deeply Dashing Pressed Pigment

MAC Deeply Dashing Pressed Pigment
MAC Deeply Dashing Pressed Pigment

MAC Deeply Dashing Pressed Pigment
MAC Deeply Dashing Pressed Pigment

MAC Deeply Dashing Pressed Pigment
MAC Deeply Dashing Pressed Pigment

MAC Deeply Dashing Pressed Pigment
MAC Deeply Dashing Pressed Pigment

MAC Light Touch Pressed Pigment
MAC Light Touch Pressed Pigment

MAC Light Touch Pressed Pigment
MAC Light Touch Pressed Pigment

MAC Light Touch Pressed Pigment
MAC Light Touch Pressed Pigment

MAC Light Touch Pressed Pigment
MAC Light Touch Pressed Pigment

MAC Light Touch Pressed Pigment
MAC Light Touch Pressed Pigment

MAC Spot Lit Pressed Pigment
MAC Spot Lit Pressed Pigment

MAC Spot Lit Pressed Pigment
MAC Spot Lit Pressed Pigment

MAC Spot Lit Pressed Pigment
MAC Spot Lit Pressed Pigment

MAC Spot Lit Pressed Pigment
MAC Spot Lit Pressed Pigment

MAC Spot Lit Pressed Pigment
MAC Spot Lit Pressed Pigment

MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment
MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment

MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment
MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment

MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment
MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment

MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment
MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment

MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment
MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment

MAC Warming Heart Pressed Pigment
MAC Day Gleam on brow bone, Beaming on cheek (your left)

Product & Review FAQ

Where can I purchase it? How much is it?

MAC, $21.00.

Is it limited edition?


Any dupes?

See individual shade review!

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78 thoughts on “MAC Pressed Pigments Reviews, Photos, Swatches

  1. Lilac

    Please do not hurt your eyes just for the sake of testing :) These products already sound way too chunky for testing near the eye, and little scratches on your eyes can be really dangerous. It’s too important to have healthy eyes to risk anything like that :)

    I get that you would like to test the products extensively for your always thorough reviews, but endangering health should not be included in the tests =D

    • They did not have any warnings about not being eye safe, and MAC normally does, so these should be fine re: safety (in terms of the type of glitter used).

  2. I don’t agree with you on this. I bought Warming Heart and while yes, it’s not good for cheek highlight it works fine as an eyeshadow. It is very similar to Bobbi Brown sparkle and Laura Mercier sequin eyeshadows. At least these are cheaper.

    • I can wear Bobbi Brown’s (haven’t tried Laura Mecier’s), but these fall out almost immediately!

    • Arlene

      I agree. WHAT pigment doesn’t have fallout???? I think that as far as pigments go these are awesome and they look beautiful on the eye. I wear day gleam on the center of my lid with brown script to smoke it out and it looks amazing.

  3. Vanessa

    I don’t get how they look so good but perform so bad, wouldn’t the problems in texture appear during the swatch?

  4. t_zwiggy

    Don’t you think that the reason these two shades look like “brown dirt” on you is that they are meant as highlighters for darker skin tones? Not that I expect the lighter shades would work either, with this kind of texture.

    Other than that I have to say that these look awful! The look so gritty in the packaging. I can actually imagine what these feel like just by looking at the pictures. It makes me think of the first time I swatches Urban Decay Eldorado eyeshadow, those chunky glitter particles and the dry texture. Almost sends shivers down my spine.

  5. Brjsmom

    I really wanted these to be great. Wish I had waited for your review Christine, before making my impulse purchase. I bought 2 and as you said they switched great on my hand. I used them as an eyeshadow and a disco ball face!!!! I actually had to take a shower to get it off ( a shower to remove an eye product!)….still had glitter on my face when I went to return them after the shower. The mua was laughing her head off, she said noone should have ever let me purchase these, they are a hot mess….those were her words, HOT MESS

  6. Yellowlantern


    I wasn’t really looking forward to this collection, but those swatches are actually very pretty and kind of make me want some of these. Oh well, there’ll be others. Thanks for the review on these.

  7. I knew it must be MAC, when I saw the tweet. It doesn’t look that bad on the photos though… You swatch it too well, Christine :)

  8. Ana G.

    Why, oh why???? I was so looking forward to these….too bad!!

  9. Teresa

    Do they try their products before shipping them? This is unbelievable..

  10. zulaikha

    Such a shame, they look so pretty on your arm though.

  11. Brittany

    These are so pretty swatched, sucks that they look horrible on the cheek!

  12. Sasha

    With all the recent bombs from mac, poor reformulations and the mild dryness I get from their lipsticks, I am very hesitant to buy any more of their products. I think I’ll be taking my money elsewhere for a while.

  13. Polly


  14. Marta

    XD I always think “How does Christine manage to have such great skin and complexion in her pics?” and feel a little envious (and happy for you). But I’m telling you, Beaming isn’t doing your cheeks any favors. Or anyone’s, I assume.
    I’ve had the same problems with some products that many people loved (UD’s Sellout disappears on me INSTANTLY, no mater what primer, same with Mac’s Naked), so maybe the trick is some arcane Macish ritualistic application or special skin… or weather. Have you tried a humidifier? Maybe the added moisture will help stick it to the skin xD
    Thanks for trying so hard so we don’t have to, and sorry about your eyes!

  15. Alison

    I’m sorry, these sound so incredibly bad I couldn’t help but laugh! “Travels to parts unknown” – your description made me laugh so hard!

    • Alison

      That being said – Poor Temptalia. This sounds like the worst beauty day ever, but its a great read and saves a lot of readers from going through the same nightmare. It really does look like dirt!

  16. Kate

    Ah Christine this is why I love you! I would have seen these at the store and been like “oooh shiny!” and bought all of them. Thank you for your honest (and very thorough) reviews!

  17. Mariella

    Oh my – an F?? Wow! These look so fabulous in the photos and Deeply Dashing and Beaming look like shadows I would dash out to buy ASAP but I truly trust your reviews, Christine, so will likely pass on these, especially since browns and neutrals are hardly shades of which I have a shortage! One thing – it always surprises me to see your lovely, smiling face in the photos and then a low rating on the product. A sad face and a big “thumbs down” gesture would be so much more reflective of what’s going on. Also, I have to ask – isn’t a “pressed pigment” just basically an eye shadow? I wonder why Mac felt the need to differentiate, unless it’s to make it clear that these can be used elsewhere on the face (though from what you’ve said, they go elsewhere on the face even when you don’t want them to!)

    • They swatched beautifully – part of that being you can get it to “stick” and “crush” together better that way!

      They’re part of MAC’s F&B collection, a companion product to the Sculpting creams – so really, the highlighting component. They’re a multi-tasking highlighter – so face, body, eye. Maybe hair would work!

  18. Good to know! I will ignore it!

  19. Cat G

    Well, that sucks. Kudos to the person who guessed right tho!

  20. Marian

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your candor. You’ve saved me lots of money. Thank you, Christine!

  21. Veronica

    I’d say MAC has been giving you plenty of words lately, just that none of them are positive.

    • I liked the Middle Eastern lipstick extension shades (Mehr, Yash, etc.) and the newer Sculpting Creams :)

      • Veronica

        Details, details. 😛

        • I still have hope that they’ll knock it out of the park once more this year!

          • Veronica

            As much I give them a hard time, I’d like to see them clean up their act, too. I like a lot of the products I do own from them.

            Well, that, and if I recall, a lot of the MAC you review comes out of your own pocket, so I’m sure that makes the poorer quality collections even more of a bite. Hopefully, that won’t be an ongoing trend.

            • Been buying full collections since Dame Edna ’07 – I think I’ve only not had to buy somewhere between 5-10 over the past 5 years. From what I can remember, I know that I received full samples for Venomous Villains, Liberty of London, By Request, Bloggers’ Obsession, so I’m sure there were a couple more as well!

  22. Kathleen

    I’m so surprised these got such a horrible rating! I bought Day Gleam, and I absolutely love it. I only like them on the lid/crease though, I was considering picking a deeper color up as an eye socket countour, and the lightest color as well.

    On the face, it reminded me of your review for I believe “Undress Me” Nars multiple, but the effect on lids for a natural look combined with the sculpting creams is AMAZING. I didn’t have any problems with fallout, actually. I primed my face and my eyes, no foundation (I used Smashbox Oil Free primer and Urban Decay Original primer for reference) then used the sculpting creams on my hairline, cheeks, chin, and lid-browbone, then used the new small brush to apply the pigments to my lids/crease. I also have dry to normal lids, and it looked so natural but radiant. I’m all a contact lens wearer, and had no eye irritation for 7-8 hours until I removed my makeup.

    My MA said the pigments were supposed to photograph beautifully, and that’s why they were so glittery in person but that didn’t translate to the camera. Either way, I would rather use my regular cheekbone highlighter, rather than these!

    • Hey Kathleen!

      Odd – these can be tough to photograph, IMO! I feel like because it’s such chunky glitter, if it’s not catching the light, it just looks like a speck of something. Maybe for video, I could see it!

      I’m glad they’re working for you on the eye!! I was hoping they might, but sooo much fall out. I do like the new sculpting creams, though :)

  23. LauraR.

    Thank you for saving me money! I’m a sucker for a glittery brown shadow, but wow these would have been a waste. Since you said they’re similar to the Crushed Metal pigments I want nothing like that near my eyes. I took those straight back to the store (ouch!).

    At this point I’m very hesitant to give MAC any more chances. I’ve got a few good lipsticks from them, but I hate to have to vet everything so thoroughly before buying because so many of their products are bad these days. I’ll stick to better brands from here on out that are more consistent.

  24. Z

    These swatch *beautifully*. I see the “speckiness” you’re talking about in use. I”m curious if Pixy Epoxy from Fyrinnae would help it stick *and stay.* Though if it did, what would you use them for? As a wearer of contacts the large size of the glitter is a major concern for eye use.

    • As long as you can get it to stick, then you shouldn’t have fall out problems – and MAC didn’t list these as not safe for eyes (which they do with pigments and glitters)!

      • Z

        Just because they don’t list it doesn’t mean I’m in a hurry to put large sparkles in dropping distance of my wee eyeballs. :p Getting an eyelash stuck under a contact is agony enough, once I had a piece of glitter/sparkle (UD’s Midnight something or another) and it was…….you can imagine.

        But if anything will make them stick it’s PE.

      • Naie

        My first impression was that they were to be used on eyes…this explains the harshness of the F then. They seem more like eyeshadow colors than anything one would use on one’s face.

  25. Ahahahaha, oh, god, Christine. I know I should probably be upset at how much MAC has dropped the ball recently, but your review for this one is absolutely hilarious. It’s like watching a train-wreck in (well-written, extremely irate) slow motion!

    My favourite line had to have been “they’re like a disco ball exploded and fractured all over your face,” — a true Temptalia F!

  26. Told ya. Bought them and returned them the same day.
    They were better off launching cream highlighters to go along with the sculpting creams.

  27. Rigor_Mortis

    Ouch, they look like crap on your lovely face, Christine. Thanks for the honest and thorough review, as usual.

  28. Eww, eww, eww. It does look like dirt on your face! I can’t believe these are so awful!

  29. I actually just wrote a quick view on two of these that I purchased (Light Touch and Deeply Dashing) and I have to agree, they are a major disappointment. The colors swatch beautifully, but the fallout is like a glittery, shimmery disaster area. That’s fine if it were the intent, but otherwise it is seriously depressing. I wear contacts and when they were used on my eyes I couldn’t wait to take it off and get my contacts out. At first I thought the fallout would be limited to my cheeks and wouldn’t last for too long, but I was wrong. Before it was all said and done it had traveled all over the place on me lol. And it was NOT easy to clean it off completely.

    Maybe I just had such high hopes…especially since in general I love pigments, but hate how messy they can be sometimes. So I was hoping this would translate to a less messy pigment (with hopes of more colors to come). I would LOVE if someone can come up with better ways to make these work for those of us that are having issues lol. I’m sure I’ll find SOMETHING to do with them…

    • LOL! I’m sorry to hear about your experience, Kesha! That glitter was a PITA to remove – it’s funny how it doesn’t *stay* where you want, but trying to remove it all was fun…

      I love pigments, too!!! Probably one of my favorite MAC products. I was like, “OOH, pressed pigments? OOOH, highlighters to complement contouring?!?!”

  30. Courtney

    I’ve successfully used Light Touch as an eyeshadow over Pixie Epoxy and it’s worked fairly well. Even so, this was for costume work, not day to day life. It’s a bit too flashy for that. I dusted some on my collar bone, but that’s about it.

  31. F, ouch. It looks very gritty indeed… I’ll stick to loose pigments.

  32. I’m not a fan either. My first observation was that the top ingredient is talc, which doesn’t exactly scream “pigment” to me. Then, the texture of them was not too great. For a lot less money, folks can buy a great indie brand pigment or get the L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows (which are much like pressed pigments) at the drugstore.

  33. blueraccoon

    Between your review and Dusty’s video about the brushes, this is one hell of a trainwreck. Will you be reviewing the brushes as well?

  34. Chiara

    I bought warming heart and the first time I used it as eyeshadow was a mess! I applied it over a chocolate matte eyeshadow, just to give to it a touch of light but…. it fell down almost on everything.
    I was upset, especially because, you know, in Italy we can’t return product: once you bought it, you keep it.
    So I tried to use it on its own, over UD primer potion and, yes there was a little fall out, but it was a minimal thing. I applied it directly with my finger, no brush because it felt that with a brush I only got the sparkle and not the color you see in the pan. It worked. I paired it with brown matte pencil on the lower lash line and mascara and I used it for work too. The result is sparkling but I liked and my colleagues also said that the final look was good, it helped the green of my eyes pop out.
    I also want to point out that I wear contacts but I did not experienced irritation like Kesha.
    I hope to have helped!

  35. krystal best-pickup

    This is exactly why I love the reviews here on Temptalia. Your as honest as you possibly can be. You don’t sugar coat anything. If you find a product is crap you tell us that the product is crap and why it is so not worth our money. Because of this review I will not even think about buying this product or even taking a look at it. I do not want glitter everywhere especially in my eyes. So again thank you for your honest review here.

  36. Katie

    Maybe light touch would be nice as a highlighter? Not so dirty looking I would think.

  37. Manna Christina

    These are absolutely gorgeous! I gasped, when I saw them @ the counter! Dazzling neutrals! Love the shimmer, so perfect!

  38. Camille

    I absolutely love them…I use them as eyeshadow. They are the perfect glittery sparkly neutrals( Peachy and browns)that I’ve been looking for. Especially with a vampy lip. I get compliments on my eye makeup every time I wear them. Definitely getting all the shades. A most have in a makeup collection!!!!!

  39. Katrina King

    Well, apparently they work just fine if you want beautiful brown stripes on your arms.

  40. sam

    So many F’s for MAC lately! Not good! This is sad- I wanted these to be awesome. Thank you for being so honest! I recommend your blog to everyone that doesn’t know about you yet.

  41. jessica

    hi christine i really really need a recommendation in what are the best eyeliner pencil for the waterline? the waterproof formula!! which one do you recommend or what is your favorite brand?

  42. I work for MAC, and seriously I’ve had the best results with these using them wet. I only apply a tiny bit on top of the cheekbones or on the brow bone, and then I wet the brush (with Fix+ or Charged Water) and buff it in. The more you work these into the skin, the less glittery they look and the more they look like fresh, dewy skin. (very high-sheen, wet-effect) And I agree with the person who said these are skin-tone specific, definitely anyone can use any of them as pretty shimmery eyeshadows but as for a cheek highlight, I would only choose ones close to your skin tone. Using anything darker will just look dirty, like you said in your review. Sorry, just had to put my two cents in, I totally see where you’re coming from Christine, I just thought I’d share my experience from a MAC artists’ perspective.

  43. I was very wary of these when I first saw the promo pics–they just looked SO high-shine that I didn’t know how that would translate to any kind of “highlight” for the cheeks/browbones/what-have-you. The swatches are pretty, but they definitely look crazy glittery. I have no idea what MAC was thnking on this one…

  44. Eek, these sound so awful it’s scary. Plus dangerous too – who knows where that glitter could end up and what damage it could do! I think the problem is that they are trying to create reflection and shimmer by using glitter when they should be investigating pigments that are intrinsicly shimmery, if that makes sense. I really rate the Myface blingtone eyeshadows, which are extremely shimmery and shiny but I don’t think they actually contain any glitter.

  45. Francesca

    I have used the colors I own as a shadow, and I agree that there is fallout for all of them. I used it with Fix+, dipped the brush in that first and then swiped it across my eyes. I still had a little fallout, but not nearly as much.

    I had them used as a cheek contour but it’s too glittery for me there. But I do love them as a shadow.

  46. Caty

    I’m not a huge fan of these but all my coworkers are, so I bought three of them and have been trying to make them work. Here are a couple of tips – I mentioned in your Sculpting Cream review that they work best over a creamy, emollient base such as a sculpting cream, Select Moisturecover concealer, or Mineralize concealer. With these I’m not even worried about creasing or wear time because the glitter makes them so edgy/editorial that I like a little bit of creasing as part of the look. I use Mineralize Concealer and then a Sculpting cream underneath them. I use a MAC 242 brush and I do prefer to use them wet. My favorite look I have done with them so far was with Pure Sculpture as a base, Saddle in my crease, and Day Gleam on my eyelid with a TON of Feline and Carbon packed on top. The glitter came through the black like crazy and it was quite pretty, actually. I do experience a lot of fallout with these, and after wearing them to work two days in a row they started to really really irritate my eyes so I stopped wearing them. Overall I think this product is workable for a certain look (the glitter makes them look almost wet) but it is a difficult product to work with. I wish the glitter in all of them wasn’t silver – it feels weird to me to have a warm brown shadow with silver glitter in it. And on top of it they irritate my eyes.

  47. I think I want to get one to try it with a sticky base like Fyrinnae’s Pixie Epoxy, but if that doesn’t work, then it’s a wasted purchase because I never return anything.

  48. Sandra JT

    I bought Deeply Dashing, before reading this review, and am loving it. As the person who works for MAC said, the more you work these into the skin, the better they work. And look. The more I blend these in, the more of a glossy, beautiful finish I get. It actually has a very reflective finish to it. The only thing I was disappointed in was that there were so few shades released. A dark cobalt blue shade & a dark antique or forest green would both look absolutely amazing in this formula, as would deep plum or wine shades. I hope they come out with a wider variety of shades in these pressed pigments because I’ll definitely be buying more. I also forgot to mention that I didn’t have a problem with fallout, which surprises me after hearing of the problems you had with these. I’m very glad I gave this new formula a chance as I don’t have any other eyeshadows in my massive collection of many hundreds that compare to these.

  49. Nora


    I absolutely love those Pigments – you can avoid fallout by just press them on with your finger, works much better than using a brush!
    they stay put and i adore the glitter!

  50. Grizzabella


    I wanted to say how much I love your reviews and sorry these aren’t working for you. But I have been using the new MAC pressed pigments with great success. I use them over either the Too Faced Shadow Insurance Glitter Glue or Cinema Secrets’ Tacky and haven’t had any problems with fall-out. And if you work them a bit, they’re more mirror shine than glitter ball. Today I wore Light Touch, Spot Lit and Warming Heart for a high-shine neutral eye and after eight hours, still no fall-out. I wanted to post in case some ladies wanted to give them a try…