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MAC Shadow, Highlight, Texturize Top Coat Nail Lacquers Reviews, Photos, Swatches

MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer
MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer

MAC Shadow Nail Lacquer ($12.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as “sheer blackening top coat.” On the brush and in the bottle, it looks exactly as described: a sheer, black-tinted polish. I tried it over a few shades, but I honestly couldn’t really tell that it darkened any. In the photos, I went with a more medium shade, Instant Crush, and I left the middle finger without a top coat, but the difference is incredibly subtle. It would be more versatile if the effect at least darkened a half a shade to a full shade. The difference is slight enough that you’re hunting for it and hoping you see it. I don’t know of any dupes from products I’ve tried, though I’m sure there are top coats out there that may replicate the effect–feel free to share any finds you have!

MAC Texturize Nail Lacquer ($12.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as “clear leather effect top coat.” It takes down the glossiness of the underlying nail lacquer while adding a subtle texture (without being too rough), but it still has shine. There’s definitely a visible effect with one layer of Texturize applied over another shade (I used Sour Cherry). I tested this particular top coat for wear, and I had minimal tip wear after seven days (which is normal to me; almost nothing chips on me). I know there are a few leather top coats on the market, but I can’t recall trying one before, so I don’t have any dupes to suggest. As always, if you have one in mind, please share in the comments!

MAC Highlight Nail Lacquer ($12.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as “sheer blue pearl transformer.” It’s a sheer, shimmery top coat with a duochrome that goes from blue to violet. It applied fairly well, though it could have been more even overall (I tried it over Rebel). With the way the shimmer flashes and changes, any unevenness wasn’t too noticeable. The consistency was slightly thick but not goopy or too difficult to work with. I tested this one for wear, and it lasted for seven days with minor tip wear and no chipping (again, almost nothing chips on me). I haven’t come across any top coats that are duochrome in nature, only more solid colors, so I’d love to hear any suggestions for similar products if you know of them.

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MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer
MAC Shadow Nail Lacquer

MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer
MAC Shadow Nail Lacquer

MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer
MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer (middle finger without top coat)

MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer
MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer (middle finger without top coat)

MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer
MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer (middle finger without top coat)

MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer
MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer (middle finger without top coat)

MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer
MAC Shadow over Instant Crush Nail Lacquer (middle finger without top coat)

MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer
MAC Texturize Nail Lacquer

MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer
MAC Texturize Nail Lacquer

MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer
MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer

MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer
MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer

MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer
MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer

MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer
MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer

MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer
MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer

MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer
MAC Texturize over Sour Cherry Nail Lacquer

MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer
MAC Highlight Nail Lacquer

MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer
MAC Highlight Nail Lacquer

MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer
MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer

MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer
MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer

MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer
MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer

MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer
MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer

MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer
MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer

MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer
MAC Highlight over Rebel Nail Lacquer

MAC Top Coats over Nocturnelle
All over MAC Nocturnelle: Pink Pearl (pinky), Green Pearl (ring), Gold Pearl (middle), Highlight (index)

MAC Top Coats over Nocturnelle
All over MAC Nocturnelle: Pink Pearl (pinky), Green Pearl (ring), Gold Pearl (middle), Highlight (index)

MAC Top Coats over Nocturnelle
All over MAC Nocturnelle: Pink Pearl (pinky), Green Pearl (ring), Gold Pearl (middle), Highlight (index)

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Product Availability

MAC Studio Nail Lacquer Top Coat $12.00/0.34 OZ.
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About the Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). (For more information, please check the FAQ.)

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49 Comments

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Texturize and Highlight..I like! Shadow, I don’t get period. I am actually hoping your reviews will have me caving on my anti-MAC nail product attitude. Some of the colours have me wanting to see something gooood.

I was confused by Shadow, because it was so subtle… I figured for sure you’d see a pretty noticeable difference over a lighter shade like Instant Crush!

I try to remember to use hand cream (right now, it’s Jack Black’s Hand Healer), but I’m pretty shoddy at remembering, lol! I’m very lucky to have strong, quick-growing nails.

highlight over rebel is gorrrgeeouuss. as for shadow, i’m disappointed too. but sally hanson just released the “big smokey topcoat” which i’m assuming does the same thing. i’ve only ever seen it used once.

I’ve heard of a smokey topcoat but haven’t seen one. I don’t get the concept at all. If Shadow is any indication, it just has a dirty, unattractive look to it imo. The leather effect I like however.

These are so cool — I just wish Shadow made more of a difference in tone! (For anyone out there looking for a smoky topcoat, ULTA, Sally Hansen, L’Oreal, and NYC have all done them before as well!)

Ulta had a multi-pack of transformers available around the holidays, which had some sort of darkening topcoat…at least that’s what the description led me to believe. I didn’t feel that had much of a use for me, and the others ones were easily duplicated in my collection (I know one was just scatted holo glitter…I’ve managed to pick up two, China Glaze Fairy Dust and Butter London’s…I forget the name), so I never picked it up myself.

It seems like Shadow can be duped by a few drugstore options (interesting that all the options are drugstore, actually!) from the comments!

I really like Texturize, because I’ve actually been a fan of textured nails for years (ever since I got sheet marks on my nails and actually liked it!) and now I could turn EVERY COLOR into a cool texture. As for the pearly transformers, it’s waaay cheaper to just mix up your own version. Sites like TKB Trading have duochrome micas that you can put in clear top coat and bam, your own Highlight. And Shadow…I’d just put some black nail polish in top coat, ha ha.

I think it’s cool! I like that it’s not SUPER SUPER textured – it’s noticeable but subtle enough that it works to me.

The pearl top coats are all really pretty but I feel that I already have sheer neutral pearl colours at home that with a light hand could offer a similar look.

Disappointed in Shadow. But am happy to see dupes for it that others have listed here.

I’ve always loved MAC’s creme/cream formula nail polishes. I feel that they go unnoticed in the vast amount of nail products out there. There a few cream colours from MAC that I can get away with a quick ONE COAT! and they are shiney! Perfect for a quick polish before heading out the door.

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