MAC Pressed Pigments Part Deux

MAC Amethyst Pressed Pigment
MAC Amethyst Pressed Pigment

MAC Pressed Pigments Part Deux

MAC Pressed Pigments ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) includes nine new shades: Amethyst (purple with silver undertone), Angelic (off white), Blonde Streak (light cream), Blue Willow (light icy blue), Enlightening (deep silver), Flicker (pastel yellow), Jet Couture (charcoal black), Smoky (deep silver blue), and Sweet Acting (mid-tone pink). There are three repromoted shades: Day Gleam (high pearl powder in NC30 shade), Deeply Dashing (high pearl powder in NW55 shade), and Light Touch (high pearl powder in W10 shade). I reviewed those three shades just three months ago when they originally debuted.

Amethyst is a pale lavender with a metallic, sparkling finish. It’s sheer when used damp, more opaque when used wet. Dolce & Gabbana Jewels has a similar coloring but appears darker, as it does not have a metallic finish. MAC Light Violet is a darker lavender.

Angelic is a cool-toned white with a hint of silver. It has a frosted, metallic finish. It is a bit smoother and more metallic than it is sparkly–compared to other shades. The payoff dry is fairly sheer, while damp is better but not fully opaque. MAC She’s Got Class is very similar. shu uemura Smoky Velvet #3 is also similar.

Blonde Streak is a silver-shot off-white; it almost looks creamy at one angle, then looks silvered at another. It has a frosted, metallic finish. shu uemura Smoky Velvet #3 is whiter. MAC She’s Got Class is less metallic. Bobbi Brown Bone is yellower.

Blue Willlow is a bluish-green tinted white with a frosted, metallic finish. This one had a chunkier finish, and it never quite smoothed out, even when applied damp. The payoff was about the same whether used dry or damp. Giorgio Armani #10 is very similar in color.

Enlightening is a light-medium silver with a bright metallic sheen. This had a chunkier texture, so it did not lay down as smoothly as other shades did. Tarte Silver Burst is lighter, less metallic. Bobbi Brown Tinsel is lighter. MAC Misty is a touch lighter. Giorgio Armani #12 is a bit lighter.

Flicker is a yellow-tinged white, but it almost has this silver-ish sparkle. The color payoff was semi-sheer both wet and dry. This didn’t have a really gritty texture but did have a lot of sparkle. Bobbi Brown Bone is warmer. Too Faced Spun Sugar is darker. Tarina Tarantino Elektron is more metallic, less sparkly. Dior Khaki Design #4 is less metallic.

Jet Couture is a dark black with brown undertones and coppery-gold sparkle. It had fair pigmentation when used dry, and it was more intense when used damp. It applied more smoothly than some of the other shades. The only similar shade I cuold think of was Cinderfella, which has a silver sparkle instead.

Smoky is a muted, darkened blue with lots of silver sparkle. It had good pigmentation both dry and wet, though the wet version was smoother. MAC Love Cycle is darker, richer. theBalm Sensational is richer, deeper. MAC Moon’s Reflection is slightly brighter. Urban Decay Mary Jane is more metallic, darker.

Sweet Acting is a light-medium pink with yellow undertones. This one felt the grittiest/chunkiest in texture to me out of the nine new shades. It had decent color payoff both dry and wet, though, with wet making the pink appear darker. MAC Rose Light is a bit darker, less sparkly. Dior Fairy Golds #4 is lighter. MAC Love Power is darker, pinker. Giorgio Armani #7 is darker, more mauve.

I double-checked my press materials, and these are listed as “limited edition,” but the MAC website indicates they are permanent. I did a Live Chat with MAC online, and I was told that the Pressed Pigments are permanent. More interestingly, both the press release and the description online says, “Gorgeous eyes, from sheer and ethereal for day to intense and illuminating for evening.” It is further described as an “intensely creamy highlighter offering extreme pearlescence.” It can be applied dry “for a high shine” or dampened “for a dramatic wet look.”

They’re less of an utter and abject failure as a for-eyes-only product, than when they launched as the highlighter counterpart to MAC’s contouring Sculpting Creams. Some of these shades work better than others, and ultimately, it comes down to how smoothly they can be pressed into submission. The grittier, sparklier the shade, the worse it performs. With a really tacky base, you can absolutely get these to cooperate better. Dry, they’re a catastrophe of glitter fall out. I’m pretty sure more ends up below my eye than on it, no matter whether I’ve taken the 215 brush (which is what is sold alongside these shades) and done my utmost to “crush” and “press” the pigments on a separate stainless steel palette. The only way I can get the color to apply and transfer to some degree is with a fairly damp brush.

For testing, I used Blonde Streak on the inner lid and (lightly) on brow bone, Smoky on the middle of the lid, and Jet Couture on the outer lid. These are definitely products to be applied prior to foundation, because clean-up is absolutely necessary! I found that the fall out really need to be fully wiped away (I used Lancome Bi-Facil on a cotton round), rather than lightly dusted off. Throughout the day, over the course of eight hours, there was fall out. My eye was watering a lot while I wore these to test, because the fall out was getting into my eyes (or onto my lashes, and then into my eye). By the time I removed these, my eyes were bloodshot and a bit irritated.

If I use a glitter adhesive, it will hold on better and help to minimize the fall out, so if the finish of these is up your alley, I’d recommend doing something like that, rather than wearing it as MAC states–dry or damp–because neither work well. (But that is the criteria that I am rating on.) This is the type of product that is more specialized and will be loved by some, hated by others; I think they could be marketed better–and now would be a great time to make Mixing Medium available across counters and stores as a great side product. (Even with MAC opening Pro products online, it is not actually available to regular customers online at this time.) Though, Mixing Medium, from my experience, isn’t tacky enough with these guys–I like Lit Cosmetics, LA Splash, or lash glue better. You really need something wet and tacky that says, “COME TO MAMA!” to holds that glitter tight.

Loose glitter is rarely designed to be applied all on its own–this product just needs help in the form of major adhesion. A lot of glitter is like that but let’s call a spade a spade! But as is, these remain on my naughty list.  I love glitter and sparkle, especially on the eyes, but I want it to remain there!  I don’t want to find sparkle in my nose. The better performing shades were Angelic and Smoky, as they bound better and applied more smoothly; Jet Couture was the most unique.

P.S. — Does anyone else wonder what makes MAC decide to make a new formula permanent? Sometimes you’ll hear almost nothing but major raves for a new formula but you’ll never see it again… then a product like this, which is polarizing, is made permanent three months after it first launches (which likely means it was decided earlier on, though).

MAC Pressed Pigments Part Deux