Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad ($44.00 for 0.19 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette from the upcoming RiRi Hearts MAC (Fall Edition) that launches at MAC stores on September 26th, online on September 30th, and counters and international locations on October 3rd.

Edited at 9/18 at 10:24AM PST: It features four eyeshadows, and the eyeshadows do not have names (only the actual quad has a name). Originally, the shades were listed with working names (so they are not finalized and often serve as placeholders). When I wrote the review, I swatched each shade to the corresponding working name (because they were permanent shades) to try to determine if, in fact, they were the same. I’ve kept that information below, but I wanted to update and clarify based on information I received this morning. I also received official shade descriptions and corresponding finishes, which I’ve added to the shades below.

To that end, I swatched each supposedly permanent shade against the individual, permanent eyeshadow I had previously (some of mine are quite old, so you may find quality differences even when colors are similar). I’ve included these swatches below for your reference. The only one that was wildly different was Smoked Cocoa #1, which was listed as Shroom–it is much, much cooler-toned and lighter. My Copperplate (which is from the original release of the Matte2 formula, so several years ago) is darker/more pigmented than Smoked Cocoa #2–the texture of my original definitely had a more buttery, silky feel, but they looked nearly identical when I compared the pans.

Smoked Cocoa #1 is described as a “dirty cool champagne [with a Veluxe Pearl finish].” It is a cool-toned, off white with a frosted finish. It had fairly good color payoff, and it applied smoothly and evenly. It lasted well for eight hours before showing signs of fading. MAC Winterscape is similar. MAC Star Crystal is a touch pinker. MAC Creamy Bisque is less frosted. See comparison swatches.

Smoked Cocoa #2 is described as a “muted mid-tone grey [with a Matte2 finish].” It’s a neutral-cool taupe with a matte finish. It had a soft, finely-milled texture but was noticeably less silky compared to my original Copperplate eyeshadow (which this was listed as in my information), and as a result, Smoked Cocoa #2 appeared lighter when swatched side-by-side, though in the pans they both looked the same. It applied easily and blended out well. This wore well without showing signs of fading until nine hours of wear. Maybelline Tough as Taupe is grayer and a cream product. bareMinerals Rowdy is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches.

Smoked Cocoa #3 is described as a “black with silver pearl [with a Lustre finish].” It is a darkened matte black base with fine silver sparkle and shimmer. This could be a number of eyeshadows, and it could very well be Black Tied as it was originally listed as, since Black Tied is essentially a matte black base with silver sparkle. If it’s any consolation, my permanent pan of Black Tied is even worse. The quality of this shade was horrendous; it was dry, patchy, and incredibly sheer. It was a total pain to apply and blend out on the lid. It seemed faded after seven hours. There are so many of these types of shades on the market, and the main way they differ is that some are more pigmented than others. See comparison swatches.

Smoked Cocoa #4 is described as a “dirty black charcoal [with a Satin finish].” It is a bluish black, so it looks almost gray at times, but it is still quite a dark shade. It looked really deep in the pan, but this did not translate in application as the pigmentation was very, very weak. The texture is dry, stiff, and a total pain in the behind to use. It didn’t want to apply smoothly, and blending this shade out took far more patience than I had. It looked noticeably faded after six hours of wear. There was a very fine hint of navy micro-shimmer in the shade that I didn’t really catch in my permanent pan of Nehru, so while I think they are certainly similar (especially when applied–those micro-shimmers never show up!), they may not be the same shade. MAC Fashion Legend is darker, less blue. LORAC Black is darker. MAC Typographic is grayer, matte. bareMinerals Amnesia is darker. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

palette

Smoked Cocoa

F

While two shades perform decently, two are not just poor, but truly horrendous shades from the pigmentation to texture to wear. They're not blendable, and at $44, there are so many better options on the market for a smoky eye palette. It's not just disappointing but feels like a genuine slap in the face as a long-time MAC customer and fan to see such a lack of quality in a palette created for a highly-anticipated launch.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

5/10

Texture

5.5/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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LE
product

Smoked Cocoa #1

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
LE
product

Smoked Cocoa #2

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
Click to Reveal More Glossovers!

See more photos & swatches!

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa #1 Eyeshadow

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa #1 Eyeshadow

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa #2 Eyeshadow

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa #2 Eyeshadow

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa #3 Eyeshadow

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa #3 Eyeshadow

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa #4 Eyeshadow

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa #4 Eyeshadow

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
Shroom vs. Smoked Cocoa #1

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
Copperplate vs. Smoked Cocoa #2

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
Black Tied vs. Smoked Cocoa #3

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
Nehru vs. Smoked Cocoa #4

The Dupe List: Smoked Cocoa #1

See More Dupes

The Dupe List: Smoked Cocoa #2

See More Dupes

The Dupe List: Smoked Cocoa #3

See More Dupes
Click to Reveal More Dupes!

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40 thoughts on “MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad Review, Photos, Swatches (RiRi Hearts MAC)

  1. Malia

    Omigosh! I shouldn’t be surprised that they’re still pushing bad stuff but its shocking to read just how bad!

  2. Dominique

    I am glad I purchased Bare my Soul, most M.A.C quads are poor quality ( very poor in fact ) but BMS is highly good. I’ll pass on the Riri collections, what I had planned to do whatever the reviews in fact.

  3. Ouch! So sad..the lighter shades are lovely. Why can’t MAC get black/almost black right? Those two swatches are so pathetically dismal.

  4. KaseyCannuck

    Seems like cheap quality and mismatched colour knock-offs were bought from “wholesale” sites or Ebay and dropped in this palette. I know a lot of the palettes have quality issues, but not matching the permanent colours??? Come on…

  5. Glenda

    Truly disappointing! Thank you Christine for always being thorough, objective, and consistent with your reviews, regardless of name brand. Being new to make-up, I don’t buy anything without your trusted reviews! :)

  6. I didn’t expect this to be so bad. Those dark shades seem to have non-existent pigmentation.

  7. When I first saw pictures of the palette, I thought I’d like it, but to pay that price for only two usable eyeshadows? Not a chance. The darker shades are absolutely abysmal, especially the Smoked Cocoa #4. I’ve had cheap, 99-cent eyeshadows that apply better than this. How disappointing!

  8. Andie

    Even though this palette got a terrible rating, I love the eye look you made with it! It looks great!

  9. Oh my, this is not good… I can almost feel your disappointment when I read this, lol. Come on, MAC, step up your game!

  10. furandlace

    Good lord…you gotta laugh at MAC. So embarrassing.

  11. Veronica

    *siiiiiiiiiiiiiigh* Of course, it’s the cooler-toned palette that’s the dud. 9_9 Well, thank you for the review, Christine. It saved me some money. It’s a shame that this is the big miss of the collection when most everything else looked decent.

    Copperplate is gorgeous, though. I’ll have to give the permanent shade a look. :)

  12. meganlisa

    Wow! Thanks for your honesty. The eye shadow palettes looked so pretty but I would have been mad (not just disappointed) had I made an effort to get this palette. This whole collection seems ….not so great. I loved the summer Rihanna stuff. Am I missing something or am I right that this fall stuff is worth skipping?

    • Just depends on your taste, I think :) The collection isn’t a slam dunk, and a lot of what isn’t good is about the norm (e.g. Retro Mattes being dry… more typical than not).

  13. That was painful to look at. Ouch. So far the only thing in this collection I’m going to buy is RiRi Woo.

  14. This is the reason why I’m not a MAC fan! They’re not consistent in the quality of their products! I prefer to buy MUFE or Benefit in the same price range! Too bad.. the colors look pretty on you though, Christine! :)

  15. Amanda

    It would be cheaper to just buy a four pan palette and permanent refill shades! MAC just doesn’t give me that fluttery feeling anymore when there’s a new launch. You’d think with all of the higher quality mid range brands out there now, they’d try to step up their game a bit. Very, VERY disappointed in MAC nowadays…

    • Amanda

      Never mind about that price thing… for some reason I read the price of the quad as $64 which would be ludicrous! Anyway, you’d still be better off getting the permanent shades for quality alone…

  16. I feel bad for MAC fans seeing posts like this. Such a relief for me though that multiple bad customer service experiences in stores kept me from ever getting sucked in. I prefer MUFE, NARS, Urban Decay, etc at these prices & I’ve definitely been rewarded with both great products & great customer service. I love all of your excellent reviews though Christine! Definitely helps avoid this kind of thing – no matter what brand it is :)

  17. Avatar of Rad Rad

    Haha Christine is that your first F rating in a while? I really like the two lighter shades – the palette does look slightly similar to the All about Orange Rainy season quad.

  18. Bea

    Awee.. this is so disappointing.. and on top of that I wish they would try to make colors that are not “already out.” :-(

    From the looks of things I already have these colors from UD and Lorac…. (Example: Smoked Cocoa #2 looks like the UD Naked 2.)

  19. Hey, at least they didn’t try to foist CARBON on us again in this quad. However, they seem to have replaced it with something just as lousy (Cocoa #4!). Pretty pathetic and makes me wonder just how much input “RiRi” had in this or if she’s just being paid a whole lotta dough to let her name and image be used.

  20. such depressing swatches.. not your fault of course!!!!! Talking about the pigmentation of the shadows :)

  21. Veronica

    Wow, that is shameful. When companies like LORAC are releasing sets of 12 single-pan, full-sized, AMAZING quality eyeshadows for $36, the fact that MAC still pulls this bs is ridiculous. I’m just disgusted with MAC.

    • I agree. This is RiRi REALLY sad! I wonder if stuff like this is actually harming their “bottom line”. It sure is affecting my attitude toward LE items, about which I used to get so excited. Now, I find I’m generally underwhelmed and I think, among long-time MAC fans, I’m probably not alone. I mean, just look at the bulk of the comments here.

      • KaseyCannuck

        I’ll wager their bottom line is doing just fine at the expense of people who don’t read blogs like this one and snap stuff up just because its MAC, not to mention the people who buy the whole collection just to put it on EBay the instant everything sells out.
        I can’t help but wonder how much money is going into the actual products…it’s like they’re using bargain basement ingredients and getting exactly what they paid for, while we keep paying for the vanishing quality!

  22. At least with MAC pan shadows only being $10 right now you can get all the shades it’s suppose to be for cheaper than the quad!

  23. Carrie

    At this point, it’s seeing an LE product get a B or above that’s a surprise. That’s an incredibly sad statement to make. Although I know they have some good stuff in their permanent collection, the continued poor quality has left such a bitter taste in my mouth that I’ve sought out dupes/near-dupes for some of the products of theirs that I was still using. The only thing I might continue to use in the future is their brush cleaner.

  24. Danielle

    It’s a scary thing when MAC’s eyeshadows start bordering NYC territory in terms of chalkiness and overall low quality. You’re essentially paying 44 dollars ( The price of a high end foundation! ) for 2 functional eyeshadows. Ri-ri -dickulous.

  25. Michelle

    Wow! I am a recent MAC fan and have been let down by the quality in their palettes. Have a Veronica one that is terrible. Glad my money went on Vice 2 by UD instead of this.

  26. Wow I am absolutely shocked at those last 2 shades. That is just inexcusable!

  27. Brenda

    Sigh, again. I used to buy everything from MAC – except mascara..now they’re one of those companies I only purchase a couple items from – eyeliners and blush, sometimes lipsticks. Everything else (including some lip items) I can find better quality for reasonably comparable pricing (Canadian) somewhere else.

  28. Does it make me a bad person that I scrolled down to the rating first, and when I saw the “F” I chortled with glee? MAC does it again!!!

  29. Anna

    Im not sure if someone asked (or maybe you wrote this somewhere), but i must know, which eyeliner was used in that make-up? It’s gorgeous!
    And even if the quality of the quad is poor, you did amazing job, Christine :-)

  30. Lynda

    Oh my. What a horrible quad.

  31. I really wanted this quad but these swatches are just awful. Very disappointed with the last 2 shades

  32. Annie

    This actually shocked me, because I’ve always loved MAC’s eye shadows, in fact, I’ve sworn to use only that brand of eye shadow, and the fact that the quality of the two darkest eye shadows were that of cheap drugstore brands is pretty disappointing.The classic MAC eye shadows I’ve known were soft, pigmented, no fallout whatsoever ( I’ve had a couple of glittery eye shadows and I’ve never experienced any fallout). I had seen the Ri Ri collection at Macy’s, and as beautiful as the colours were, I refrained from purchasing it,because of the fact that…well the colors looked very similar to the permanent collection, and certain colors wouldn’t have worked well together anyways, and coming upon here seeing these sad views…it makes me want to cry…I guess just because it’s a LE doesn’t mean anything special…just special packaging that is all..

  33. Mary

    I purchased this here in the UK and it is not like your swatches.
    The darkest navy black is highly pigmented as are the other shades.
    I don’t understand why your one is so poor.
    I love mine. The colours are perfect.