Thursday, August 30th, 2012

MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick
MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick

MAC & Carine Roitfeld: Tropical Mist Lipstick

MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick ($16.50 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “sheer translucent nude.” (I will also note that MAC’s website only describes it as “nude,” which is more misleading than the press release’s description.) It’s a wash of warm beige with a soft, frosted finish. It has a lustre finish. For all intents and purposes, it looks like I put lip balm on, because it looks completely colorless on my lips. As far as dupes go, any lip balm that has more of a sheen than a glossy shine would substitute.

It was hard to judge how long this worn on me, truly, because the only thing I could see visually was that lustre-like finish, kind of frosted but barely. Instead, I took a napkin and pressed my lips against this after two hours (at which point, it seemed like it was gone), and there was nothing on the napkin.  I repeated this experiment twice more – the second time, after an hour and the third time, after three hours. There was a little bit of product visible on the napkin after an hour, and again, none after three hours. The fact that color is coming off shows that it’s not 100% clear or invisible, but because your lips are not invisible or clear, they tend to “absorb” the color so it’s less noticeable on. I’m not a big fan of lustre finishes, as I tend to find them drying, and Tropical Mist was no exception, as it was somewhat drying after wearing it for six hours (back to back).

It’s sheer. It’s translucent. It’s pretty much exactly as described by MAC, except it’s nearly invisible. Sheer doesn’t mean clear, right? Translucent is the adjective more likely to suggest clear, though after reading about ten definitions across various dictionaries online, it suggests something that allows light to pass through but in a slightly diffused manner (e.g. frosted glass).  On that note, I’m going to go with this needs a wee bit more color to give it a more diffused quality but only take off one point.  Since it’s somewhat drying, it’s not something I can recommend, and I think some will be hard-pressed to shell out $16.50 for something that’s going to look virtually colorless and not hydrating. I imagine some will expect a lower grade, but remember: MAC said this was sheer and translucent, so that’s the starting point for discussion.

The Glossover


Tropical Mist

Since it's drying, it's not something I can recommend, and I think some will be hard-pressed to shell out $16.50 for something that's going to be colorless and not hydrating.











Loading ... Loading ...
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches!

MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick
MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick

MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick
MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick

MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick
MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick

MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick
MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick

MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick
MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick

MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick
MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick

Product & Review FAQ

Where can I purchase it? How much is it?

MAC Cosmetics, $16.50.

Is it limited edition?


Any dupes?

For all intents and purposes, it looks like I put lip balm on, because it looks completely colorless on my lips. As far as dupes go, any lip balm that has more of a sheen than a glossy shine would substitute.

What makeup are you wearing?

(Your right) On eyes: MAC Sahara Dust Eyeshadow (brow bone), MAC Cactus Thorn Eyeshadow (inner lid), MAC Desert Eyeshadow (outer lid), MAC Carbon Eyeshadow (crease), Tarina Tarantino Puppeteer Eyeliner, and Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Lengthening Mascara. On face: Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation (03), MAC Sand Storm Cremeblend Blush. On lips: MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick. | (Your left) On eyes: MAC Dew Eyeshadow (brow bone, inner tear duct), MAC Camo Eyeshadow (inner lid), MAC Bad Lieutenant Eyeshadow (outer lid), MAC Carbon Eyeshadow (crease), Tarina Tarantino Puppeteer Eyeliner, and Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Lengthening Mascara. On face: Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation (03), MAC Bootcamp Bronze Cremeblend Blush. On lips: MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick.

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.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

71 thoughts on “MAC Tropical Mist Lipstick Review, Photos, Swatches

  1. Jess

    I don’t get the grade you gave this. It sounds more like a D. If it’s drying and clear, why are pigmentation and texture 9/10?

    • Please read the post! Because there is a fine line between sheer, translucent, and clear, I spent a whole paragraph talking about it. Unfortunately, reviewing makeup is not an exact science where “sheer” doesn’t mean one specific opacity (let alone that I have the equipment to test for it!). Lipstick that’s drying comes out of claims (product – it lost 2.5 points there), not texture – the texture is just fine. It’s soft, fairly creamy, and glides right on. It’s somewhat drying – not the most drying lip product I’ve used – but not hydrating.

  2. That’s not even a lipstick.

  3. Teresa

    16.50 for a lipstick sheerer than a lip balm..seems legit :/

  4. Aylish

    Confused as to why a product that does nothing and costs £16.50 got B-?! Surely this should just be one massive fail.

  5. OMG thank you for saving me from this one as I’m such a sucker for a pale lip. I can’t even tell you are wearing lipstick. To think you can get more colour out of a lipgloss… sheesh!

    • xamyx

      I love a pale lip, too, but this is ridiculous. I was just considering a Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick *very* similar to this. I think I’ll go back for that one, as it’s half the price, hydrating, and likely more pigmented.

  6. Yellowlantern

    It’s hard to tell since the lighting between the two shots of your lips are just slightly different, but I think you need to give your lips more credit. I’ve heard you say you think your lip color is corpse like, but I’m just not seeing it.

    Anyway, boo on this clear-why-bother lipstick.

  7. Cinthia Garcia

    wow that’s horrible… I can buy a chapstick for 99 cents that gives me more than this. Thanks for the review Christine! :)

  8. Bersy

    Maybe it’s my monitor, but it looks to me as if this lipstick evened out your lip color a little, like tinted moisturizer is supposed to do for the face. Not that you have splotchy lips, Christine!

    Except for the hydration issue, this may be what I’ve been looking for. The women in my family suffer from “faded lip syndrome”, for want of a better term, and we’re always searching for subtle, natural lip color to enhance what color we have left. Cherry chapstick is my Mom’s old standby.

    Now, if there was only a MAC store nearby so I could try it first!

    • Maybe one of MAC’s tinted lip conditioners would work? I can’t even remember if they still have them, but they’ll give you a little natural color without the feel or look of a lipstick.

    • Nars do a lipstick called Little Darling which is a sheer nude – looks totally different in the tube to this lipstick, but at least the Nars one deposits some colour! Maybe worth checking that out? It’s not an all out dealthy pale nude, but it just kinda of tones down and evens out your own lip colour 😀

  9. I saw the photo, and I though to myself: this might be a color I’ll actually like. lol. And then I read the review. A no-go I guess! :-)

  10. Nicoco Chanel

    … Where is it?

    No, seriously, I thought Dior Addict’s Miss Dior was sheer – this is insane.

  11. Vitória

    Whenever I see a brand launch something like this I wonder WTF were they thinking… especially if you consider it was a collaboration! 16 bucks for a non-hydrating clear lipstick? Pass.

  12. Zulaikha

    MAC has been releasing some pretty boring colours recently. :/

  13. I love MAC, but there is no way I would pay $16.50 for this. I hope their lipsticks stay at the $15 price point for a long time. I am sad they went up from $14.50…love your reviews, Christine.

  14. Zhanna

    it’s invisible, drying, doesn’t last, costs 16.50 for something that looks like random lip balm and it gets 7.5 out of 10? what does a product need to do – or rather NOT do – in order to get a 3 or 4?

  15. Yumi

    Disappointed in this.

  16. Lika

    Other than the great packaging, it seems like a waste of money. So disappointed.

  17. this is so disappointing!

  18. What a pointless product! Though actually, this would be absolutely perfect for a young teen/tween who wanted to start wearing makeup & wanted a real lipstick, but didn’t want any color at all.

  19. B- for this, really? I say a big fat F. What a let down. :(

    • Supposed to be sheer – I think a little too sheer, so I still took it down a point, but lustre finishes in general are sheer and MAC set it up as that – sheer and translucent.

  20. Liz

    This one made me go “err… what?”

  21. Vick

    overpriced lip balm.

  22. I really wanted this lipstick initially but I will now be staying clear (no pun intended). Thanks Christine!

  23. baby in a corner

    This seems a bit like the emperors new clothes to me!

  24. gooodie87

    The awkward moment when pressing ”Love it” is almost considered trolling.

  25. AnGeLwInGz

    Better that it didn’t show up on you. The color in the tube, at least the way it comes through on my computer screen, looks ugly.

  26. Lena

    It seems like the Revlon Lip Butter in Creme Brulee would be a better version of this.

  27. Sandrine

    Oh my god, what is this? I can’t believe Carine had a hand in making this.

  28. Carla SOuza

    Are they serious? We can buy lipbalms with more coverage for a fourth of the price. Before your review I was sold on this puppy but now Im gonna skip it. Depending on your review on the sets I might skip the whole collection. It has never happen before!
    Thats a shame, I really liked the packaging :(

  29. KENDO

    Ewww. Way to go, MAC, you’ve outdone yourself again!

  30. Ryggs

    REALLY MAC???? REALLY? Time for a boycott. This is getting ridiculouso.

  31. Kafka

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *holds sides and tries to breathe* I’m starting to love MAC again for the sheer amusement factor alone. But, in a desperate attempt to be nice, that blush looks really pretty on you, Christine. I can’t spot any real difference between the two cheeks & blushes but…. er… yeah, I like the colour on you. There, that’s my attempt at remaining positive.

  32. Katie

    It kills me a little that I ordered it before reading this.

  33. Barbie


  34. Why don’t I just put some Aquaphor on my lips instead? I get better coverage and it lasts longer.

  35. artemis

    lol at this lipstick

  36. So, it’s really expensive chap stick that doesn’t provide any moisture. Well, that’s a win! 😉

  37. Quinctia

    Nah, translucent does not equal transparent. Stained glass is translucent.

  38. Arianna

    WHAT is that??? jeeeez mac

  39. Jenny

    Wow, it pretty much looks like… nothing.

    In the tube it looks like a similar shade to Charm from the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable balm, except Charm’s color and frost is actually VISIBLE on the lips!

  40. Lenita

    it’s the color of carine roitfeld’s signature lip look. as also the palette, which looks like it’d effortlessly give you her smudged, non-intense, smokey eye. *shrugs*

    • Why the dry, difficult to blend textures? Why use Carbon, which has been described as an “intense black” for years (and described as such in this campaign)? There’s nothing wrong with a sheer lip, but why not release or repromote lip conditioner or tinted lip conditioner? It would have been hydrating, barely-there color.

      • Ryggs

        My thoughts…exactly.

        • Blacktundras

          I agree there’s no excuse for this. I wouldn’t even begin to insult myself buy buying anything in a collection that would barely touch much dark skin tone. Shame on MAC. They deserve a big smack in the face.

  41. I got excited when I saw the words “Tropical Mist”, likening it in my head to my favorite Burberry Lip Mist formula. But this is just TOO sheer–seems like a waste of money in my opinion

  42. Veronica

    Hah, this reminds me of how Neutrogena’s nude, shimmery tinted lip balm looks on me. Except that it’s actually hydrating. And half the price. 😛

  43. Alanna

    Where is it? Looks like we might need Sherlock Holmes on the case.

  44. Lilly

    I could’ve sworn Suntints have got more pigmentation than this, more benefits and I think i recall they’re cheaper, aren’t they?. I don’t know, my pricing is in euros… Anyways, the whole collection was pretty much a huge let down…

  45. blueraccoon

    For something like this I’ll stick to my Fresh lip treatments. The original gives me a bit of a sheen *AND* is moisturizing. If I want a hint of color, I can use the Rose. This? No way.

  46. o m f g




  47. niche

    I’m really disappointed in this entire collection. Carine Roitfield is one of the top fashion magazine editors in the world and made Vogue Paris THE magazine with her unique branding and DNA. She consults for numerous luxury brands and she played a huge part in transforming Gucci under Tom Ford. You’d think she would demand that a limited edition line of products with her name associated with it would be top quality BUT it’s not. And I will not talk about MAC because you’d think they would at least be able to do dark smoky eye palettes. I better buy more brushes before that goes downhill too….

  48. There is no point to this lipstick. I will just stick with a regular lipbalm. Even Suntints and Tendertones are more pigmented than this!

  49. I am so greatful that I came to your blog before hitting the purchase button. I love a good nude even a good frost but this is a disappointment on a grand level.

  50. sophie

    Are you kidding me?!

  51. Harri

    Sleek packaging sloppy product

  52. Elle

    Your look in this review is just awesome. Simple but perfect.

  53. Kim

    I am somewhere around NC45 (MUFE 173 perfect match) in MAC and this evened out my lips and gave a nice bit of shimmery color. I googled a few pics of women of color where it showed up on them as well. Not a total bust I suppose if you have darker lips.