A launch that I have been highly anticipating this year is the MAC x Aaliyah Collection. I was, and still am, a huge fan of Aaliyah’s music and was utterly shattered when she passed away in 2001. I still vividly remember that day in August as I was prepping to start my first year of college. The MAC x Aaliyah Collection has dropped online as well as in stores with limited edition pieces for the eyes, cheeks, and lips. The MAC x Aaliyah Makeup Box Set sold out in literal minutes and as of right now many of the individual pieces remain sold out as well across the websites that have the collection available. According to MAC, the overall vibe of the collection is powered by deep, moody neutrals, and I’d say it’s exactly just that. Even though the general color scheme feels more like Fall, there are some standout pieces that I think you should not miss. The items I picked up include:
- Lipstick in Try Again ($18.50 / 0.1 oz – 3g)
- Lipglass in Brooklyn Born ($17.50 / 0.10 oz – 3.1 ml)
- Eye Shadow x 9: Age Ain’t Nothing ($32 / 0.19 oz – 5.85g)
- Bronzing Powder in Baby Girl ($28 / 0.35 oz – 10g)
Up first is the Age Ain’t Nothing Eye Shadow x 9 Palette which has excellent pigmentation and texture. Five of the total nine colors have been released before but do feel slightly different in terms of formulation. In general, the shades are much softer, the shimmers are more creamier but some of them heavily prone to fallout, and the mattes are more velvety. Some of the other x 9 Eyeshadow Palettes that I have encountered in the past have had amazing color but are not the best in terms of texture. Age Ain’t Nothing kind of falls between not the best, but also not stellar. The palette has a good mix of colors that are workable and can create a variety of looks, but that being said they are rather all over the place and not very cohesive in theme. I find myself gravitating more towards the middle row. All the shades do blend and layer together beautifully.
A look at the color selection and descriptions as I see them
- Lovesmoke – is a warm, light silver with subtle blue-ish/purple undertones and has a metallic finish
- Magic Moor – is a warm, deep brown with purple undertones and has a pearl sheen
- Care 4 You – is a warm, medium plum with purple and pink undertones and has a metallic finish
- Creative Copper – is a warm, light to medium gold with yellow undertones and has a metallic finish
- That Somebody – is a warm, light to medium brown with yellow undertones and has a matte finish
- Princess of Soul – is a warm, medium to deep brown with olive undertones and has a matte finish
- Deception – is a warm, medium bronze taupe with soft brown undertones and has a glitter finish
- Gingersnap – is a warm, medium rose copper with pink/subtle red undertones and has a metallic finish
- Dance in the Dark – is a warm, deep brown with purple undertones and has a matte finish
Swatched on the arm
Next are the two lip products. The Try Again Lipstick has opaque pigmentation with a smooth creamy texture that applies even to the lips without tugging or streaking. Initially I was afraid that the color would pull too yellow on me since it is a warm brown with yellow undertones, but find that it strikes a perfect neutral balance instead and shifts more brown than anything else on my medium skintone. Wear time is average that of a lipstick.
There are four Lipglasses in this collection and I chose Brooklyn Born since it seemed the most neutral option out of the four. The Lipglass colors don’t exactly match or necessarily compliment the Lipstick colors, however, they are wearable and can be worn alone or on top of the Lipsticks. Brooklyn Born is a gorgeous warm beige gold with yellow undertones and has quite a bit of shimmer to it. Coverage is mostly medium and is able to coat the lips evenly. Overall the texture is tackier than I personally prefer in a gloss, but it does not feel heavy and is nice and plush. There is some color that will gather into my deeper lip lines, but is not noticeable from a respectful viewing distance. The gloss wears longer than most classic glosses, I get about a good four hours of wear before reapplication is called for.
Swatched on the arm
Swatched on the lips. For skin tone reference, I am not wearing any foundation and am completely barefaced here. My skin tone is medium with pink undertones.
Last is the Baby Girl Bronzing Powder which I have mixed feelings about. The MAC Bronzing Powder formula in general can be hit or miss, and I wish that for this round they would have gone the Extra Dimension Bronzer route instead. The texture of the powder feels smooth to the touch but is so stiff and dry in practice, which makes it difficult to pick up product. Even when on the skin the blending portion does not go as smooth as I’d like or am used to and takes extra buffing to even out. Wear time was better than I expected, lasting about seven hours before fading rather rapidly. The color is a warm, light to medium brown with orange undertones and has a mostly matte finish. It is better suited for women who are light to medium in skintone, and I feel that they should’ve added at least 1-2 more color options so deeper skintones could enjoy this powder as well – not just as a highlight.
Swatched on the arm
Bottom line, some really nice pieces but I don’t feel like it’s nearly as explosive as I was initially hoping for and in many aspects am underwhelmed. The colors are totally on par with Aaliyah’s aesthetic, however, part of me thinks it did not truly captured her essence completely, and it was not as well-rounded as I somehow expected it to be? I also feel that deeper skintones were grossly underrepresented in this collection and I think that MAC should’ve at least offered one more shade option for the bronzer to try to accommodate a wider range than just light-medium skintones.
I wouldn’t say that the entire collection was a complete letdown, but I do feel like it could’ve been executed better since it almost comes off as rushed. Still a nice effort from MAC to at least dedicate a collection to her legacy which as a true-school fan, I do appreciate. For me these pieces will mainly become collector’s items more than actual in-use, everyday products.
Have you tried any of the MAC x Aaliyah pieces? What are your thoughts?