"Everybody must have a fantasy." - Andy Warhol
A couple of weeks ago I was one of the lucky bloggers to preview MAC Cosmetics exciting new spring collection in collaboration with eL Seed, Dubai-based French-Tunisian artist and sculptor. eL Seed is famous across the World for his unique style of transforming traditional Arabic calligraphy into one-of-a-kind street art masterpieces. MAC x eL Seed Collection launched on 21st of March in the Middle East and will be available on maccosmetics.com on 8th of April, as well as at select US stores starting 11th of April. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen a few intriguing sneak peeks from the launch party and in today's post I am going to finally introduce you to some of the most exciting items in this collection. If you're curious, then please keep on scrolling!
About the Collection
MAC x eL Seed Collection was a long work in process, that finally came to fruition after three years of meticulous, hands-on collaboration between the brand and artist. As a result this limited-edition collection includes: a "full face" palette, highlighter, brush set and four lipsticks. While the palette has a few re-promoted permanent shades in it, everything else here is exclusive and brand new.
Cicero Full Face Kit
Let's start off with the most intriguing item - Cicero Full Face Kit (66 USD; Made in USA). This must be one of the best variations of classic x15 pan pro palette, in my [not so] humble opinion. As I have mentioned earlier, a few colours are the brand's cult favourite shades such as: Shroom, Honey Lust, Texture, Carbon, Handwritten (this guy was discontinued a while back though), Carnal Charm (was a limited edition shade).
Now, according to the brand, you can easily use these powders on both your eyes and face. Two colours are labeled as "blush" (Gabrielle and Vidigal). This kit offers you a nice selection of matte, pearlescent and even semi-glittery shadows, that come in both - neutral and daring hues.
I love the fact that you get to play with such a fun variety of shades here. When I first saw this palette online, I was instantly inspired to get creative with it. I also think that the ratio of neutral vs. bright colours here is perfect; you can always spice up even the most basic eye makeup with a pop of pink or blue.
Now, this is when things get a little bit tricky. If you want to achieve that same magical, vibrant opacity (that you see in the pan) - you will need a potent eye primer and a bit of patience while layering some of these colours. I recommend using Prep + Prime Fix+ with glittery shades, in order to make them appear foiled (rather than dry) and as for the actual primer- either Pro Longwear Paint Pot or Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base will be your best friends.
Please click on images to zoom in
As per this blog's tradition, none of my swatches are "edited" (no added saturation, brightness etc. here). Products are swatched on top of clean skin; I always rely on natural daylight only. On the fourth photo above I applied shadows on top of an eyeshadow primer to demonstrate a striking difference between raw and advanced application.
While I am happy with most shades here, you can't deny a noticeable quality inconsistency (especially in the third row), which I wish would not be the case since I love the overall colour story that both the brand and eL Seed have come up with. Some shades are smooth and buttery, while some are a little bit too sheer and dry. Again - nothing a good eye primer can't fix. As an experienced makeup user, I do understand that certain shades like blue, purple or pink are generally hard to develop, so this is not a big issue for me personally. However, at this price point, I do see why it could be a deal-breaker for some.
With a primer, these last all day long on my lids. Certain shades will gradually fade after 6-7 hours, which is pretty normal for most good quality eyeshadows. Colours in Cicero Full Face Kit blend and layer easily, leaving little to no fallout. Just like most pinks and blues, these too will stain your skin (which is nothing to panic about, just a friendly FYI).
Verdict: despite the fact that there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to this palette, I still think that it is beautiful and user-friendly. It is certainly geared towards an experienced user, rather than a beginner in my book. All fifteen shades here can be easily mixed together and you can create a plethora of looks with this guy alone. Not sure how often I would use them on my face, but as far as eyeshadows go - these are lovely for the spring/summer season. After weighing both pros and cons, I give it B-.
Extra Dimension Skinfinish
aka. highlighter in the shade Dima's Glow (36 USD; Made in Italy) is, if you ask me, the star of this entire collection. I mean, just look at the embossing - this product is going to be every makeup aficionado's rejoice.
The shade is described as "warm golden shimmer" and it will look exceptionally gorgeous on beauties with light-medium, medium and deeper skin tones. I am NC20 in MAC and once sheered out, this shade practically blends in with my skin tone. Ideally I would mix it with Double Gleam to make it a bit lighter. If you are new to this formula, then it is worth mentioning that "Extra Dimension" is made of a unique blend of liquid and powder, which means it can be applied both dry or wet. This texture is not as soft to the touch as say your typical powder highlighter; it has no kick-up to it whatsoever and requires a densely packed brush to deliver the pigment.
Another wonderful thing about these highlighters is that you can layer them as much as you want to and with a bit of Prep + Prime Fix+ you are going to glow to the gods!
Verdict: if you only plan to get a few items from this collection, definitely go for Dima's Glow. A++ from moi.
Last but not least, I got one of the magical MAC x eL Seed lipsticks in the shade Une Caresse (19.50 USD; Made in Canada). It comes in the most gorgeous limited edition packaging with the artist's calligraphy all over it.
I own more than fifty MAC Lipsticks (needless to say I am a huge fan) and there is just something so satisfying about this modern creamy matte formula. The shade is described as "cool dirty brown/plum" and it is hands down one of the most special browns I have ever tried (and I have tried plenty!). Please see the swatch above.
Another three shades are a hot pink, bright orange-red and warm beige; all of them come in a comfortable matte finish and they are extremely opaque and rich in pigment. Apply evenly and last a very long time. Pair them with MAC Lip Pencils to create a perfectly defined pout.
Verdict: couldn't be happier about this formula and wear-time; A from me.
What do you guys think about this collection? Let's chat some more in the comments!
Available online: maccosmetics.com (North America), maccosmetics.ae (Middle East)
PR samples; full disclaimer here