For a beauty blogger, I don’t really own many MAC items. I used to hate the experience of browsing crowded MAC counters/stores in the UK, with the swarms of shrill teenage girls and overly made-up shop assistants. However, it turns out the beauty department in Bloomingdales is practically deserted on weekday evenings, which means a much nicer shopping experience. It was so peaceful that I even let a make-up artist/sales assistant apply make-up on me.

I picked up what I thought were great staples but had a massive case of buyer’s remorse when I got home. Fortunately, the make-up artist told me I could always bring items back for a refund if I changed my mind… and after much deliberation, I took advantage of the relaxed returns policy and returned used make-up for the first time.

Before I returned the products (btw they took them back, no questions asked), I took photos of everything, so I might as well still write about them.

MAC Paint Pot in Painterly

MAC Paint Pot in Painterly
I bought this because every beauty blogger seems to love using it as an eyeshadow base. I thought it would act as an eyelid primer and brightener all-in-one, but while it has a really nice, matte texture at first, it melts into an oil slick by midday on me, leaving me with creased eyeshadow and eyeliner transferred under my brows. The colour is nice though… it brightens up and evens out my eye area without adding any colour, and eyeshadows apply well over it. It cost $17.50.

Verdict: Kept because it stays put as long as it’s applied over a proper eyelid primer (my current favourite is NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base)

MAC Eye Shadow in Wedge, Saddle and Brown Down

MAC Eye Shadow in Wedge, Saddle and Brown DownFrom left to right: Wedge, Saddle and Brown Down

MAC Eye Shadow in Wedge, Saddle and Brown Down swatchesFrom left to right: Wedge, Saddle and Brown Down

These were my most regretted purchases. I protested against the warm tones of Saddle and Brown Down to the make-up artist but I let him talk me into trying them. “Wedge” is ok… it’s a matte, taupey beigey brown shade which is good for contouring. However, I just couldn’t get “Saddle” and “Brown Down” to work on me when I got home… they’re just too warm/red-toned and make me look ill. I tried many times but maybe my make-up skills are just too poor. Each eyeshadow cost $15.

Verdict: Kept “Wedge” because of the contouring possibilities, and returned “Saddle” and “Brown Down” because they were literally getting me down thinking about them sitting there probably to be unused for the rest of my life.

MAC Opulash Mascara in Optimum Black

MAC Opulash in Optimum Black wand
This wasn’t tried on me in the store.. I just bought it based on the make-up artist’s recommendation that it was MAC’s latest mascara and that it would thicken and create plush lashes in one coat. The brush is huge and the formula is very dry (contains kaolin and alcohol) and a little clumpy. I couldn’t get any length from this mascara but it does thicken lashes as advertised. I find it better on lower lashes where I’m not so bothered about length but I do want thickening. The big brush makes it hard not to get mascara under the eye though. The staying power is great – it doesn’t smudge at all. It cost $15.

Verdict: Kept for use on lower lashes (but it was a close call).

Here was one of my attempts of using the eyeshadows and mascara…

MAC Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul

MAC Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul
MAC Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul swatch
Finally, a purchase I’m pleased with! “Warm Soul” is a bronzey peachy blush which gives my cheeks an instant healthy glow. I would never have picked it out by myself because it looks really sparkly/glittery when swatched and I usually go for pinker blushes. However, I have to admit it does look better on. Under some lights, you can notice sparkles on the skin, but it’s not as bad I thought it would be. As it’s bronzey and sparkly, it also means I don’t need to bother with contouring or highlighting with separate products when I’m feeling lazy. It cost $22.

Verdict: Kept and using every day. I want to check out the other blush colours in the Mineralize collection now!

Here is a picture of me wearing MAC Mineralize Blush Warm Soul.

MAC Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul on cheeks

MAC Lipstick in Twig

MAC Lipstick in Twig
This lipstick was depressing me. Every time I tried to wear it, it got me down. In the store, I liked the smooth pigmentation and it looked pretty… kind of pink and elegant. Apparently it “suits everyone”. But when I got home and tried it again, it looked too warm, too dark and too ageing. It cost $14.50.

Verdict: Returned! I felt like I had a massive weight lifted off my shoulders afterwards.

MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush and 252 Large Shader Brush

MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush and 252 Large Shader Brush
I love the Eye Shader Brush ($24.50) – the natural hairs are firm but so soft and smooth that it makes putting on eyeshadow feel like a treat. The hairs are dense yet non-scratchy and can really pack on the colour. I was told to only use this brush for powder eyeshadows because creamy formulas will clog up the hairs.

The Large Shader Brush ($30) is good for covering larger areas when I don’t need any precision e.g. for covering the entire eye area up to the brow with the Painterly Paint Pot. The bristles are artificial and a bit stiffer, but not scratchy at all.

Verdict: Kept!

MAC Brush Cleaner

MAC Brush Cleaner
Yep, I’ve never had an official brush cleaner before. I’ve only ever washed my brushes in handwash. It seemed to do the job, so why pay $13 for a big bottle of what is basically mostly alcohol? Turns out this brush cleaner does actually get out a lot of grossness embedded deep inside brush hairs. The instructions are to use it on damp brushes and then wipe onto a cloth/tissue, rinse thoroughly then leave to dry. I couldn’t believe how much came out of one of my blusher brushes – by the end, I had five large, thick tissues which were covered in what looked like creamy foundation where all the old blusher and bronzer was melting off! Gross! No wonder the brush had started to smell like socks!

Verdict: Kept and feeling sheepish for not investing in a brush cleaner before now.

Bit of a long post… but hopefully there is something of interest somewhere here! God bless America and its lax returns policies.

21 comments on “MAC purchases: Some hits and some misses

  1. Oh I love Saddle! It’s one of my fave neutral e/s. Warm Soul looks amazing on you!! So glowy and fresh on you. I’ve never tried the MAC brush cleaner, I might buy some as I’ve run out of cleaner and my brushes are disgusting at the moment!

  2. LOL at your last sentence there. Love North America and its lax return policies. :)

    I tried Paint Pots and like you, it creased by mid day. My makeup artist friends suggested to me that MAC Paints are better for a real, heavy duty primer for oily lids. I haven’t tried yet, but I want to!

  3. @VexintheCity – Thanks! Oh man, Saddle looks horrible on me – it looks practically orange! The guy in MAC told me that the brush cleaner is better for brushes than other brush cleaners because it has a lesser percentage of alcohol so it’s less drying. It does seem to work pretty well. I’m obsessed with cleaning brushes now after seeing how much gunk came off my blusher brush.

    @Arianne – I couldn’t believe how easy it was to return! There must be so much wastage here where people are constantly returning used make-up just because they decided they didn’t like it anymore! I haven’t tried Paint Pots… thanks for the tip.

  4. i have been eying MAC warm soul for months and months … now that i’ve read that you’ve been wearing it everyday – makes me want to pick it up even more =)

  5. I’m with you – the only thing I bought from MAC this entire year is the Festive Frost Face Kit, which I really like! I’ve switched to the Bobbi Brown brush cleaner because it’s a gel and not quite as wasteful as the MAC…

  6. I don’t know why they put any alcohol in brush cleansers. I just use unscented mild shampoo on mine. Not sure if you’re supposed to, but it works great and there’s no way a waterless method gets all the oil and junk off. I always break out if I go too long without cleaning mine. I’m talking about the brushes included in the L’oreal mineral foundation/blush, etc., so not high end and I’m not afraid to ruin them, although I will say they’re not terrible brushes considering they’re disposable.

  7. SOLD!! I been thinking and pondering about Warm Soul for years now and saw this post of you wearing it, just reconfirms why I need it in my life! Hahaha… and a little tip, don’t overdo it with the MAC brush cleaner.. the alcohol will dry out the bristles in long term. have you noticed the brushes on the MUA, they are dry as straw?!

    anyway, just came across your blog and like like like! ^^ I was actually disappointed with the paint pots, ended up returning them in BACK 2 MAC, since in Australia, there’s no return policy once you’ve used them.. :(

  8. Hi there! i’ve been pondering on purchasing mac’s warm soul and had to get it after seeing your blog. I’m so happy with this purchase and glad i came across your blog!

    Btw, which foundation/powder are you using here? I’m looking for a powder that gives this illuminous effect. Do you youtube?

    Looking forward to your response and thanks again for the great reviews! :)

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