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making faces :: the allure of alluring aquatic

i'm a little too over the hill to keep up with the kids when it comes to mac collections, but i do always pay attention to their summer launches. whatever else happens during the year, i find that mac always seems to come up with something that stands out amid the sea of sheer glosses and orange-toned bronzers. so in late may, when they launch their annual "big summer" collection, i'm all ears and all eyes.

this year, the collection is called "alluring aquatic" and features refreshing imagery of a figure half mermaid and half esther williams plunging into clear waters [with perfect makeup, of course]. and as that imagery might imply, there is something splashy and refreshing about the collection. [we're going to avoid looking too closely at the promo image, though, since it looks like that poor woman's limbs are in the process of morphing into eight foot tentacles, possibly a side effect of her spine and all her organs having been syphoned out of her trunk.]

for one thing, many of the products are surprisingly pigmented. many other companies opt for soft washes of colour in their summer products, but mac has not only gone the opposite route, but their shades look almost murky [in a good way]. like the depths of a forest pool. the extra dimension eye shadows, which definitely seem to be the biggest hits of the collection, offer a range of colours that go from medium-light to smoky dark, with nary a pastel in sight.

this eye shadow formula has been a big hit for mac in the last couple of years, with its silky soft texture distinctive lustrous-foil finish. i've not indulged so far, because something about the feel of the shadows made me think that they would be prone to creasing. realising that there was no logical basis for this, i allowed myself to be drawn in by the siren song of "fathoms deep" a beautiful and unexpected deep indigo.

the finish of the shadows is really luscious to the touch. it glides on smoothly and evenly and the shades appear on the skin exactly as they appear in the pan. using a brush, you do get a somewhat sheerer version than simply testing on your arm, using your finger, but the shadows can be applied damp as well, which allows them to be seen at full impact. unfortunately, my premonition seems to have been well-founded, because i did find the formula creased on me after a few hours. it wasn't terrible and probably wasn't that noticeable from a distance, but up close, i could definitely see it.


applied dry [with a natural hair brush], i also found that the colour faded quite quickly, losing its trademark foil-finish within minutes, not hours. it was a little disconcerting to be able to see a difference in the shadow from the time i applied it to when i finished my makeup. [i generally do eyes first, so that i can deal with any stray powdery bits before i've applied foundation.] The fading did not, however, continue at that pace. i found that once the initial shine was gone, the shadow remained pretty consistent through the day.

applied damp [i used mac fix+ misted over a synthetic bristle brush], the colour payoff was definitely more intense and less prone to blending out when mixed with other shades. however, the shimmer of the finish still didn't remain how it looks in swatches or when initially applied.

i'm a little hesitant to blame the wear problems entirely on the eye shadow. i impulsively bought an eye primer from lise watier rather than sticking with one of my stalwarts [nars smudgeproof or mac's paint pot in "painterly"] and it's terrible. i actually think that it's reducing the wear time of shadows, because it just never seems to lose its dewy texture. i may revise this review once i've had the chance to try "fathoms deep" over a real primer. however, i would say that some type of primer- one that works- is an absolute necessity with these shadows, because they are, as i suspected, somewhat prone to creasing and fading without a solid base. i'd also say that, to get the most out of the colour, it's better to use a slightly damp synthetic brush.

fathoms deep
looking at the colour, i can certainly see what the extra dimension shadows are fan favourites. they live up to their name and boast a nuanced, shifting colour that is quite fascinating to behold. "fathoms deep" is a deep, dark indigo, blending blue and purple tones with a burnished multi-coloured shimmer that is quite unlike anything else. there's a grungy grey undertone that makes it more muted than straight-up dark, something you might miss unless you see it next to a saturated deep shade. i compared it to "contrast", a longtime favourite of mine from mac's permanent collection. it's also a deep blue-purple base with more conventional deep blue shimmer. although "contrast" never looks muddy or black on the eye [one of the reasons i adore this underrated gem], you can see how its clearer base and higher saturation level make it seem a lot darker than "fathoms deep".

i also compared it to the purple shade from nars "kauai" [or should i say "velvet goldmine"?], which has a similar lamé finish, but is lighter and brighter and, clearly, more purple.

l to r :: mac contrast, fathoms deep, nars kauai
in the frenzy over the eye shadows, it's important not to miss that this collection has some lovely lipsticks as well. breaking with summer traditions, the shades are neither sheer nor bright, but a mix of nudes and subdued plum tones. among them, the most unique shade is definitely "pet me please", which is a reissue of a shade originally released with 2010's "fabulous felines" collection.

it's a complex blend of a greyed mauve base with lots of white-gold shimmer. it's a frost finish, with the emphasis intended to convey that it is, indeed, really frosty. if you don't like that sort of look, run away. i do think that the frost on this shade is very even and not at all gritty. it also wears well, which most frosts don't. it is a little on the dry side, which most frosts are, so you'll probably want to apply a balm to make sure it's going onto a nicely hydrated base.

although it looks a little warm when swatched, i find that this is a very cool-leaning neutral, which is fairly rare. i'm not a huge fan of neutrals on me, but i do think that this one can work well, as long as you have some combination of warm and cool tones. if you're on the very warm or very cool side, i think it might make you look a little sick.

pet me please. also pivot me 90 degrees.
i really didn't have anything to compare it to in my collection, both because i don't tend to buy a lot of light neutrals [because they don't look very good] and because it is quite a unique shade.

i was very tempted by two other shades- "mystical", a warm rose and "goddess of the sea" a glossy medium plum- but eventually had to stop myself. "mystical" has a brown undertone to it that i know won't work on me. it makes for a lovely, wearable, muted shade, but on others. it's a little deeper and dirtier than the limited edition colour "gem of roses", which i know was much sought after and sold out quickly. "goddess of the sea" is beautiful, but is exceptionally close- a little brighter- than the previously released shade "bust out". i have collected so many of these purple-plum shades from mac over the years [check my original review for "bust out", linked above] that i felt i had to draw a line somewhere. however, if you haven't been collecting mac for as long as i have, i highly recommend both these shades.

in fact, i would say that there is a certain level of repetition in the whole "alluring aquatic" collection, but i don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. mac releases so many limited shades and they seem to sell out faster and faster, that coming out with new variations on a previously successful theme doesn't strike me as a bad idea. [stock for this collection was completed depleted on the canadian web site within a few hours of the launch, although most items have now been restocked. the counters that i've visited have generally been ravaged, although some do still have both of the products i've reviewed here.] even the eye shadows, which are probably the most unique items, do seem oddly reminiscent of shades that have been released by other companies. interestingly, the lighter to medium toned shades all reminded me of colours from rouge bunny rouge in particular; sea worship resembles abyssinian catbird, silver sun resembles periwinkle cardinal and lorelei resembles angelic cockatiels. if you want to save some money, it's an opportunity to get similar shades for less, however the rbr formula is far superior, even with a crappy primer.

overall, there are things that i like about this collection. i find the aforementioned murkiness of the palette delightful and i'm always happy to see a seasonal collection that will work well outside its assigned season. i'm really not in love with the extra dimension eye shadows [many others are], which swatch so beautifully but just don't live up to their promise in use. i don't find that the colours are individually as original as they might first appear, although the extent to which that's an issue is largely going to depend on how much of a cosmetic war chest you've managed to accumulate.

i'd also be remiss if i didn't mention the exquisite packaging, a shiny teal with clear "water droplets". i'm rarely swayed by limited casing, which usually seems gimmicky to me, but this really is special and it's honestly worth getting something from the collection just to have the packaging. seriously, i almost never say that.

pretty darn spiffy
here's a quick look that incorporates both "fathoms deep" [applied dry and layered to get that intensity] and "pet me please". i'll be honest, the lighting was crappy and i thought twice about even taking photos, but i wanted to show you both of them in action. i think it highlights some of the issues with the extra dimension formula. it's blended on the lid with mac "crystal". pet me please gets the short shrift here for certain. if you check out my "30 days of lips" post, you'll see a much better photo of it on day eighteen. [also used in this look is Rouge bunny rouge "gracilis" on the cheeks.]

i tried switching to "bust out" to see if that helped, but the miserable lighting seemed to win out.

this is a look with the "fathoms deep" applied damp, which i like much more [although the lighting was only slightly better]. in this case, i've used it on the outer third of the lid, with rouge bunny rouge "trumpeter koel" applied to the inner two thirds, and "lilac reef currasow" blended around the edges of both shades to soften. [on the lips is chanel "reflexion" and tarte cheek stain in "flush".] i should add that i applied a solid layer of "fathoms deep" to the outer corners of my eyes, blended with the other shades and then lightly applied a dry layer of "fathoms deep" with a fluffier brush to bring back some of the lustre that was lost in blending. this is definitely more work than i like to do with a single eye shadow, but i do like the final effect.

finally, a quick word before i forget that mac has also brought back their fluidlines for eye brows. i originally got one of these back when i was a blond and i loved the formula even if the colour wasn't a great match. this time, however, i grabbed the "deep dark brunette" shade [worn in both of the above looks] and i'm set. these little bits of magic are actually as exciting as anything mac has launched all year. i love the formula and they double as a liner or cream shadow. don't miss these!


Grlnxdor said…
Great post! I'll be sure to bust out my UD primer if Silver Sun ever makes it to my doorstep--shipment is "delayed" from Nordstrom online.

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