Monday, May 30th, 2011


Revision 3 of Version 1 (Close to final shade)

MAC Bloggers’ Obsession Collection: My Experience

Back in January, MAC reached out to several beauty bloggers about creating and developing their own eyeshadow or lipglass (and to be clear, I receive no compensation whatsoever if you buy the shade I created). We each submitted a shade, along with a name, color description, formula of choice, along with a blurb on the creative concept/inspiration. Here were my original submissions:

Jealousy Wakes Seething emerald green with teal and gold pearl (Veluxe Pearl) (Eyeshadow)
Inspiration: He sees two figures, standing in the dark, bodies touching and lips kissing. Though he sees them clearly, his lantern lighting the way, he goes unnoticed—unseen by two people utterly enthralled in themselves and their love. He sees the strength and beauty of love, and he feels a tightening in his chest. It’s a harsh pull–a devastating tug at his heartstrings–for it is a love he has never known.  “Jealousy Wakes” is inspired by the anguish of jealousy—a spark of envy ignited and fueled by fear—translated into a velvety smooth blend of rich emerald kissed by the sparkle of teal finished with a flash of gold.

Meet at Midnight Opulent ruby red with gold and copper pearl (Lipglass)
Inspiration: As the darkness settles in, she meets her secret lover for a midnight rendezvous beneath the luminous moonlight and star-filled sky. Heart pounding, cheeks flushed, they kiss with passion and desire as their forbidden love breathes life into the night.  “Meet at Midnight” is inspired by a forbidden love that is full of curves and secrets. It’s a deep, decadent ruby that’s shimmered with gold and copper that almost finishes with a metallic sheen.

Ultimately, when it came to thinking up an eyeshadow, it was more about what hasn’t MAC done that I’d like to see done. They have such an extensive permanent range and even wider range of past products. The one color that stuck out to me was emerald green. MAC has done blue, teal, and green, but I could not think of a really great emerald green. The closest being Emerald Green pigment (which, compared to my vision, leaned a little yellow).

For the lipglass, I wanted a really rich, jewel-toned ruby red—something sexy and dark and dramatic but still bright. I was inspired by past great shades of red like Check, Please, Queen’s Sin, and Red Romp. I didn’t want to play it safe with either shade, because I did not want to let my readers down.

(Long-time readers may recognize both shade names, as I took them from a “MAC for Temptalia” collection I made up in honor of April Fool’s Day.)

MAC’s executive team chose Jealousy Wakes as one of the four eyeshadows to be produced from the blogger outreach—I got the “Congratulations!” call in April, and shortly after, traveled to Toronto, Canada with fellow bloggers Aileen, Amber, Karen, Lesley Ellen, Lianne, Lily, Patrice, and Wendy. We toured production facilities and had lunch with the chemists at the Innovation Centre before meeting with our assigned chemist to actually start the development process.

Using my color description of Jealousy Wakes, MAC developed two prototypes: Version 1 was a darker green with flecks of gold and teal, while Version 2 was a yellowed chartreuse with a gold sheen. As pretty as Version 2 was, it was nothing like what I envisioned—though I swear I had a tough time rejecting it outright and told all who would listen that it’s gorgeous and to keep that recipe on file for later!

From me to you: it is really hard to create an ugly green eyeshadow. No, seriously, I think during the hours I spent with the chemists trying to get that exact shade of emerald green I envisioned, we created over twenty variations on that theme. (Quite honestly, I lost track and count of how many pans of possibilities we had on the counter!) It is, however, much more difficult to develop a true emerald green eyeshadow than I ever anticipated.

I wanted the eyeshadow to have a veluxe pearl finish, because I know it is easier to use, more blendable, and often more pigmented than other finishes. I specifically did not want to go with a matte finish, because I didn’t want anyone who purchased it to find it difficult to use (as I know that mattes sometimes have a reputation for being finicky).

To get the vibrancy I wanted out of the emerald green color, you have to increase the amount of flat pigments, but then it would lose the veluxe pearl finish and become more like a satin or matte finished eyeshadow. The other issue was trying to achieve depth without making the color look dirty. Typically, depth is achieved by adding darker colors, like black, but then vibrancy would diminish and the color would look blackened or dirty. Sometimes the green would lean too blue, giving it more of a teal-like appearance, and then other times, it would lean too yellow.

Towards the end of the mixing session (I don’t think anyone anticipated difficulty in creating my vision!), my arms and lab coat were covered in green! I had two chemists who had been working side-by-side for hours along with Nicole Masson (Vice President of Product Development) and Sarah Major (Manager, Product Development) helping me articulate the changes I wanted to see in more standardized language (each term, e.g. payoff, has a standardized meaning to the chemists at MAC—wish we could get that dictionary!). At one point, they even pulled a Pantone book out! I also had them dig out the formula for Emerald Green pigment, which they promptly recreated in eyeshadow form, to compare.

Time was up, and I was a little deflated but still gave the heads up on one of the last versions we came up with. Imagine my surprise when both Nicole and MAC’s PR team pulled me aside to tell me that if I wasn’t happy with the shade that they would keep working on it and would work with me remotely to get it there. I let everything soak in for the next couple of days, and then I did take MAC up on their offer to keep working with it.

I received (the official) Revision 2 of Version 1, and the color was getting there, but I wasn’t happy with the texture—it was almost chunky with silver shimmer. It just didn’t have the smooth, buttery texture (I had briefly told the chemists I wanted it like Freshwater, and they actually remembered and said they’d keep working to get it more like that). Not quite getting the color of my dreams I can live with, but it was (and always will be) very important that anything I attach my name to represents quality. I did not want anyone to buy Jealousy Wakes to support me and find it was lacking in quality. I did not want anyone to be disappointed in me in any aspect—from the color itself to the quality of the formula.

Next, I received Revision 3 of Version 1 and Revision 4 of Version 1. I quickly ruled out Revision 4, because as pretty as it was, it definitely leaned blue and looked more teal than green. The texture was much, much improved from Revision 2, though, and as I said, at some point, my focus moved to ensuring the texture and pay off were there. I finally accepted Revision 3 as the final. I haven’t seen the official final version (from the actual production batch) and won’t until mid-June, but I’m happy with the progression of the shade from inception to finalization.  The color shouldn’t change from what I have, though!

It was really quite the journey—I didn’t expect my submission to be selected for production, so it was incredible to actually see it come to fruition. I was impressed by MAC’s commitment to working with me up to the final deadline (and probably even past it) so that I would be excited and happy with the final shade. I am honored and humbled by the experience, and I know so much of it is a result of the loyalty of Temptalia readers and their unending support over the past four and a half years that have made this kind of opportunity a possibility — so thank YOU!

For clarification and in the interest of disclosure, I received NO monetary compensation to create, develop, or promote Jealousy Wakes. I receive NO compensation at all if you purchase Jealousy Wakes when it debuts. MAC paid for travel and hotel expenses for the trip to Toronto, and I received samples of my shade to photograph.

Note: Once I receive the final product, I will be posting it against other green eyeshadows for comparison along with both a bolder and subtler look on how to wear it :) Timing is likely to be mid-June!

See lots and lots of photos! Continue reading →