Friday, May 6th, 2011

MAC Saffron Eyeshadow
MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow

MAC Surf Baby: Eyeshadows

MAC Surf Baby Eyeshadows ($15.50 for 0.05 oz.) come in five shades: Saffron (deep coral caramel), Short Shorts (frosty white champagne), Sun Blonde (dirty yellow gold), Surf USA (frosted teal), and Swell Baby (mid-tone grey).

  • Saffron is a rusty orange-red with a soft sheen. It has a satin finish, and it was originally launched with Mickey Contractor (’11).
  • Short Shorts is a pale white gold with a frosted finish. It has a frost finish. This is a shade we’ve seen before–think Soft Force, White Tie, Manila Paper, etc.–for a permanent dupe, Nylon is your best bet, though is a little yellower and more metallic in the finish.
  • Surf USA is a vibrant medium-dark teal that leans green. It has a frost finish–but it is a very, very subtle frost. It’s more like a cross between a satin and frost finish, actually. It’s a more vibrant version of Gulf Stream–the closest permanent dupe would be Shimmermoss, which is bluer and not nearly as vibrant. You’d be better off trying NARS Misfit as a dupe, though it’s a little greener.
  • Sun Blonde is a golden mustard yellow with a satiny sheen. It’s this great mix of gold and mustard yellow. It has a frost finish, but like Surf USA, looks less like your typical frost and more like a satin. It’s kind of like a much richer Gorgeous Gold (without the duochrome, obviously!). I can’t think of a dupe for this one in MAC’s past/present line. Maybe a darker, metallic version of Jasmine.  NARS Mangrove would be comparable though.
  • Swell Baby is a medium, silvery gray. It has a satin finish. It’s a little lighter than Print.

These are some of the best eyeshadows MAC has put out in the past year (excluding Peacocky’s Mega Metal Eyeshadows, which were some of the best eyeshadows put out by MAC ever, if you didn’t pick up any, FOR SHAME!), and the reason being is that all five have excellent color pay off with smooth texture. To hit all five out of the park, I think, is quite a feat–for any brand–and MAC does so well with these.

The Glossover


MAC Surf Baby: Eyeshadows Swatches, Photos, Reviews

Every shade is worth getting--it just depends on your personal preferences for colors and the like. Short Shorts is the least unique of the five, while Sun Blonde is the most unique.











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MAC Saffron Eyeshadow
MAC Saffron Eyeshadow

MAC Saffron Eyeshadow
MAC Saffron Eyeshadow

MAC Saffron Eyeshadow
MAC Saffron Eyeshadow

MAC Saffron Eyeshadow
MAC Saffron Eyeshadow

MAC Saffron Eyeshadow
MAC Saffron Eyeshadow

MAC Short ShortsEyeshadow
MAC Short ShortsEyeshadow

MAC Short ShortsEyeshadow
MAC Short ShortsEyeshadow

MAC Short ShortsEyeshadow
MAC Short ShortsEyeshadow

MAC Short ShortsEyeshadow
MAC Short ShortsEyeshadow

MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow
MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow

MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow
MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow

MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow
MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow

MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow
MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow

MAC Sun BlondeEyeshadow
MAC Sun Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Sun BlondeEyeshadow
MAC Sun Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Sun BlondeEyeshadow
MAC Sun Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Sun BlondeEyeshadow
MAC Sun Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Swell Baby Eyeshadow
MAC Swell Baby Eyeshadow

MAC Swell Baby Eyeshadow
MAC Swell Baby Eyeshadow

MAC Swell Baby Eyeshadow
MAC Swell Baby Eyeshadow

MAC Swell Baby Eyeshadow
MAC Swell Baby Eyeshadow

MAC Surf Baby Eyeshadow Swatches
Saffron, Short Shorts, Surf USA, Sun Blonde, Swell Baby

MAC Surf Baby Eyeshadow Swatches
Saffron, Short Shorts, Surf USA

MAC Surf Baby Eyeshadow Swatches
Surf USA, Sun Blonde, Swell Baby

MAC Surf Baby Eyeshadow Swatches
MAC Saffron Eyeshadow

MAC Surf Baby Eyeshadow Swatches
MAC Short Shorts Eyeshadow

MAC Surf Baby Eyeshadow Swatches
MAC Surf USA Eyeshadow

MAC Surf Baby Eyeshadow Swatches
MAC Sun Blonde Eyeshadow

MAC Surf Baby Eyeshadow Swatches
MAC Swell Baby Eyeshadow

Product & Review FAQ

Where can I purchase it? How much is it?

MAC Cosmetics on May 26th in-stores, $15.50 each.

Is it limited edition?


Any dupes?

See individual shade review.

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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118 thoughts on “MAC Surf Baby: Eyeshadows Swatches, Photos, Reviews

  1. Oh wow, I can just imagine how horrible Saffron would look on me, but I really want all the others. And this is coming for someone who doesn’t really care for MAC’s shadows.

    • babette

      Why don’t you care abt MAC shadows? For curiosity’s sake :)

      • Liz

        Well, I don’t care for them because they are usually sheer, chalky, hard to blend, or all of the above. I’ve used a few really good ones, but in general, one can do better.

  2. Sarah

    How close do you think Swell Baby is in color to UD Revolver? (ignoring the finish)

  3. rowan

    surf usa is really amazing!

  4. Amanda

    These swatches really changed my mind…gotta have em!

  5. t_zwiggy

    Wow, these swatches look amazing! Too bad I don’t like any of the colors. :(

  6. Nenita

    Hi Christine, is Short Shorts similar to Fresh Daisy that recently came out?

  7. vanessa

    I originally only maybe wanted Saffron and Swell baby, but OMG after seeing these swatches I would love to get all of the colors, you are so right they are all worth getting!! Thank you MAC for finally putting out some gorgeous pigmented shades! This is a great collection:)

  8. yep! I’ve taken three of them indeed ^^ I love theese eyeshadows!

  9. luna

    Daddy. I want them and I want them now!

  10. Hepcat288

    could albatross be a dupe for short shorts?

  11. JC

    i’m really loving surf usa & sun blonde. the others i just don’t think i could pull off. saffron is nice too though.

  12. Via

    Very pretty! Nice job, Mac.

    I’d never actually wear Saffron, but they did a fantastic job making the color identical to actual… Saffron!

  13. Annalisa ♥

    I bought Short Shorts and Surf USA, love them!

  14. Agnes

    Thank you for these swatches! I noticed that Sun Blonde here looks completely different than on MAC website (UK). That’s the only shade that is like that and others are true to what is on the website. Why is that, why is there a difference? Is Sun Blonde really that vibrant?

  15. Mo

    How similar is Surf USA to the teal/turquoise eyelid shade in the Wet N Wild Blue Had Me At Hello palette?

  16. Sophie

    Lovely swatches, thanks!! I think I’ll be picking up Short Shorts.

  17. Gina

    Wow, these look unbelievable!

  18. Pame

    surf usa is so beautifull me want it lol

  19. Rayanna

    Is there any different from this Saffron to the Mickey Contractor one?

  20. Michelle

    Thanks for all you do!!

    If you have the chance, is there any way you could do a comparison between Short Shorts and Shore Leave from Naughty Nauticals? I should have bought a backup of Shore leave…. :)

  21. I really like Surf USA!

  22. is sun blonde basically like sweet and punchy? from last years to the beach collection?

  23. salamander

    Oh, man, I was going to be completely immune from this and save all my money and then the teal had to be awesome. They have got my number, for sure.

  24. Carrie Ann

    These are gorgeous. I already have Saffron and just got Fresh Daisy, which looks very similar to Short Shorts, but I’m all over Surf USA, Sun Blonde and probably Swell Baby. I’m crazy about teals and golds, so this collection is right up my alley. I know what you mean about the Mega Metal Shadows, Christine. I’m obsessed with them. :)

  25. LOVING Sun Blonde!

  26. Luna

    Is there a NYX dupe for Swell Baby????? :-)

  27. Nat

    i would never buy these colors or know how to wear them, but seeing the swatches makes me want them all.

  28. Jill

    I absolutely love the look of Short Shorts. I’m looking for a new white/cream color to wear as my everyday under-brow highlighting shade, too, and this seems to be just what I’m looking for! I also LOVE Sun Blonde and Surf USA. Definitely going to be getting those. Thanks for another awesome review!

  29. meme

    Just curious is many of you readers buy MAC in the Pro pots you put into your own pallet or go with the individual pots/stack collections? I like pallets as I can customize them for a go to current look I tend to keep repeating. Also great for travel – though my MAC pallets are pretty big to haul for travel. I am really interested in decreasing carbon footprint, so I am hoping more companies do pallets that are magnetized as well as switching to packaging that is recyclable. If I don’t donate my stash when I weed through it to a women’s shelter, I really dig out all the product, tossing it to the regular garbage, then put the containers in recycle. However so many are made of mixed plastics, it’s too time intensive to separate out the various plastics to get to the ones a recyclers can use I have heard personally as well as read about. Europe seems to be far ahead of the states in making skin care/makeup products in fully recycled containers. Curious if any other readers trash, recycle? And if not, please consider at least taking what products you can to your local women’s shelter…they are usually desperate for usable skin care and make up. Some have rules on some types of products. You need to know what you have to donate and call ahead.

    • Lizzy Claiborne

      We just buy pans of permanent colors at any MAC Store or on the web site. And then do the Ritual De Potting when the special packaging gets old.
      Mac has made an effort- but they need to put the foot down. They were trying to get people to buy refills and pallets, really pushing the four tops to newbies too. But they just didn’t get it. MAC needs to fancy up the paper covers and ditch the cases and 85% of us will be so happy!
      They take the empties back for recycling. Take in six empties, free lipstick. Didn’t you know that?

  30. Anne

    If I already own the NARS Misfit duo, would it still be worth picking up Surf USA? Or are they similar enough that I can just skip it?

    • If you LOVE and wear your blues/teals a lot, I don’t think they’re that similar, but if you rarely wear them, then I think you could skip.

  31. Oh la la Surf USA looks so gorgeous. Thank you so much for swatching them Christine. :)

  32. Love all the colors! I might purchase everything from this collection

  33. Candy

    Christine, is Copperplate like Swell Baby? Is it lighter then Swell Baby?

    • Copperplate is a little more than just gray, so it’s different from Swell Baby, which is closer to Print – Swell Baby is just gray :)

  34. Mia

    Thanks a lot for the swatches, I really appreciate it :)

    Btw, does Sun Blonde remind you of Straw Harvest from the Spring Colour Forecast collection?

  35. Laura

    I got Surf USA, but now I’m really considering Sun Blonde too!

  36. Stephy

    Thanks for the swathes Christine! Totally loving “Surf USA” and I really love that “Swell Baby”!!! I’m such a sucker for grays!!!

  37. OMG! I think I am getting all 5 of them!

  38. alexus

    is short shorts similar to femme fi?

  39. Jess

    Hi Christine! How do Short Shorts & Surf USA compare to Sugar Skull & Peggy from the Kat von D Momento Mori palette that came out last year?

  40. Vvn

    surf usa, I need!

  41. Deb

    Sun Blonde Sun Blonde Sun Blonde!! These are all beautiful, but I’m a sucker for unique yellows!

  42. Hannah

    You kind of make me feel really really bad for not picking up one of the mega metal shadows. Like im literally hating myself for not getting it!

  43. AnGeLwInGz

    Loving Surf USA!

  44. Abbey

    is it $15.50 because of the special packaging

  45. Pamela

    Is Sun Blonde similar to the pro shade Bright Sunshine or the LE Bright Future from Style Warrior?

  46. Sophie

    wow these look awesome – but is saffron similar to VV’s de-vil? (with less shimmer i guess)??

  47. Rosalie

    Can I b2m for these?

    • Pamela

      The do not usually allow LE items for Back to Mac. But it depends on the MA. I’ve received a LE item but with the caveat “Just this once, but going forward we cannot do that.” So it doesn’t hurt to ask.

      • stella

        send it back to mac through the mail. most of the stuff I sent back was LE items and it worked.

  48. leesie

    Surf USA, you are coming to live with me. That’s all there is to it.

  49. I want sun blonde and surf usa!

    Christine, if possible, could you show us what some of the crushed pigments would look like over some of the shadows? I think they’d rock together 😀

  50. Casey

    How does Sun Blonde compare to Mac’s Gold Mine?

  51. Natsume

    These are such lovely colors.. Especially Surf USA! It’s so pretty. I actually want several items from this collection, but hey, it’ll be my graduation gift to myself! :}

  52. Saffron, You and me will make a great couple, that colour with my light blue eyes will look crazy bananas!. I`m also gonna pick up Surf USA, such a gorgeous shade!

  53. Glessie

    Hey Christine. Your reviews always make so excited to spend money. Ahahah :X Anyways on a random note, do you think they should just make a new finish: being that it’s a subtle frost. And frost and satin baby. :) thanks for all your reviews.

    • If they continue to do them, sure, but if it’s just a couple, then I don’t think so – it would just make it more confusing, given that MAC already has a pretty wide assortment of finishes.

  54. Sarah M

    I love sun blonde eye shadow!!! I thought surf usa would be my favourite but it’s not. The collection overall has really surprised me because I was expecting to hate it but I think it’s my favourite, so far, this year. (Early days though!) I’m still on the fence about swell baby. I love the colour but don’t know if I NEED it! Well… I have all four of the other shadows so maybe I can part with another £12.00 so I have them all?! :-)

    • LOL! Haha, collect ’em all mentality :) Been there before!

      Swell Baby is a nice eyeshadow, though it does seem more dupeable to me, since it is a really neutral gray. But at least the quality is nice, so if you don’t have a gray… :)

  55. Vita

    I must must must get Saffron!

  56. Sara

    Swell Baby is gorgeous! so is Surf USA but blue/turquoise eyeshadow never looks right on me.
    Can you please do a look using Saffron? It looks so pretty but i have no idea how to use it.

  57. Katy

    I’d wear Sun Blonde. It’s kind of seaweed-ish and cool.

  58. Christine, how does Surf USA compare to Cool Heat from a couple of summers ago? It looks very very similar in the photos but maybe with a little more shimmer?

  59. Ember

    Great swatches! Thanks Christine. Loving Surf USA. Is Sun Blonde close to Going Bananas?

  60. Jessica

    i want them all :(

  61. Kim

    Would you say that short shorts could be used as an all over wearable lid color? Or just a highlight, inner corner sort of thing? And to me it kind of looks like short shorts looks like gilded white but eyeshadow form! lol

  62. Nichole

    the texture looks really nice, and sun blonde is surprisingly different than now it looks…i expected it to look like goldenrod or something…but i really like that! i may need to swing by and pick that up!! they all look surprisingly different swatched than they do in the pan, so its kinda hard to say i won’t be going to check out the collection. i think the packaging is really cute and summery and reminds me of scrapbooking paper! lol

  63. Kiaya

    Would the Short Shorts work as a dupe for Cool Incantation and would Saffron be a decent dupe for Rose Potion? I’m in love with both of those, and sadly almost out. They all look pretty. The only one I’ll pass on is Sun Blonde. :)

  64. TLC

    That Surf USA is beautiful! Must have it! Think I might have to splurge once again on myself. Thank you MAC for making me poor!

  65. Hepcat288

    can short shorts be a dupe for albatross?

  66. I bought Saffron, Surf USA and Sun Blonde yesterday. I loved them right away when I saw your swatches – thanks Christine!

  67. Meghan

    I only like “short shorts.”

  68. Kiaya

    Would the Short Shorts work as a dupe for Cool Incantation and would Saffron be a decent dupe for Rose Potion? I’m in love with both of those, and sadly almost out. They all look pretty. The only one I’ll pass on is Sun Blonde. :)

  69. Crystal C.

    Hey Christine, im currently scouting for a good gray color since i dont have one yet. Which do you think would be a better option for someone who is a first timer with grays, swell baby or print?

  70. Amanda

    I tried to send a message via your contact page, but I didn’t get any confirmation if it went through. It just cycled back to the main page after I hit send, so here it is just in case:

    I came across an eBay seller that is using almost exclusively your photographs to sell MAC products:

    [link removed]

  71. courtney

    I really want to get short shorts with the eyeliner i think it will be beautiful for summer

  72. Sheryl

    I just bought Surf USA & Swell baby today, and the Strange potion lipglass!
    I LOVE Surf USA, & the lipglass, but the Swell looks like a very close dupe for Bough Grey from the Give me Liberty LE collection. I haven’t actually tried to wear it yet, because i’m not sure if I’ll keep it, no point in having 2 that similar if not the same! I didn’t like the way bough grey applied, very hard to get the color to go on smoothly…does anyone else here have both and if so, is there a difference?

    • Bough Grey is a lot bluer on me!

      • Sheryl

        ok, thanks Christine :) maybe different skin tones, pick up the blue more? I’m pretty fair & cool..

        • Yes, if you’re cooler, you’ll likely see more of the cool tones be pulled out :) For instance, if something is neutral, it may look a little warm on someone who’s warm/cool on someone who’s cool!

    • Sheryl

      oops! Hey Christine, I just noticed that you had commented above on bough grey being bluer than Swell Baby, but I just did swatches on my arm, and they are almost exactly the same??!! Only real difference I can notice is that Swell Baby goes on much nicer & easier!

      • Interesting – Bough Grey was definitely bluer on me. Not blue blue, of course, but not the same!

        • Sheryl

          Yes that is interesting!!
          anyways, just thought I’d let you know that I’m going to return the Swell Baby…..i tried both on my eyes today, (bough grey on one eye, swell baby on the other, and I couldn’t tell the difference). Think I’ll get one of the pencils instead!

          Thanks for all the wonderful reviews & swatches you do for all of us!

  73. Yelena

    Christine, is UD Flipside somewhat similar to Surf USA? I have flipside so I dont know if I need surf usa but it is a gorgeous color!

  74. Chris


    USA and Sun are perfect colours.

    • Chris

      Bought Surf USA, but not the Sun (way dirtier than it shows here or on the mac site). However, I thought I wouldn’t buy Saffron but I might change my mind.

  75. Rita


    I wanted to ask you waht camera do you use for reviews? For example this photo do you use flash or not?
    Waiting for your answer.

    Best regards,